Torre outspent Rountree in District 1 supervisor race

Published 2:42 pm Monday, November 6, 2023

Ten days after announcing his last-minute write-in bid for the Smithfield-centric District 1 seat on Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors, Chris Torre had amassed four times the amount of campaign funds as his opponent, Renee Rountree.

Rountree, who was the only candidate to file by the June 20 deadline to get her name on the ballot, reported raising just over $1,400 and spending the same as of Sept. 30, according to a campaign finance report she submitted to the Virginia Department of Elections on Oct. 16. As of Nov. 6, she had yet to file a report for Oct. 1-26, which was due Oct. 30.

Torre, who announced his write-in bid on Sept. 20, had by Oct. 26 raised just over $6,000 and spent just over $5,400.

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Rountree’s campaign committee has been filing financial reports since March, though all except the one for Sept. 1-30 showed no donations or expenses. Her Sept. 1-30 report does not include an itemized breakdown of contributions over $100.

Torre’s reports show he’d put $2,500 of his own money into his campaign. His itemized breakdown of donations shows a $1,000 contribution from Jeff Brooks, who serves with Rountree on Smithfield’s Town Council. Torre received another $1,000 contribution from Leah Walker, one of his campaign volunteers, and another $500 from Renee Bevan of Smithfield.

Torre, a retired real estate developer and contractor, had earlier this year organized community opposition to the Grange at 10Main community developer Joseph Luter IV has proposed to build at the west edge of Smithfield’s historic district – a project Rountree says she supports. Bevan and Walker were among the project’s frequent voices of opposition at Planning Commission and Town Council meetings.

Brooks, who lives on Grace Street where Luter had proposed an entrance to the development, also spoke in opposition when the Grange’s first iteration – which had proposed 304 homes and a mix of commercial uses – went before the Town Council in September. Luter’s design team, in an Oct. 4 letter to the town, said they plan to redesign the grange to “reflect a reduction in density,” “explore traffic pattern alternatives” and “eliminate the fourth floor” of the controversial four-story apartment buildings Luter had proposed.