Council candidate announces health-related delay at launch party

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A launch party for two Charlottesville City Council candidates took an unexpected turn when one of them announced he would be delaying the start of his campaign due to a health problem.

Community organizers Don Gathers and Michael Payne had been expected to announce their candidacies at a launch party at Kardinal Hall. Both are backed by the new Progressives for Cville PAC.

Before the launch event, Gathers, who served on the Blue Ribbon Commission and is currently a member of the city's Civilian Police Review Board, said a doctor's visit earlier in the day revealed a health issue connected to a heart attack he suffered several months ago had resurfaced.

He said the issue required him to delay the start of his campaign but said he will actively support Payne.

"In the interim, I throw the full weight of support behind Progressives of Cville and behind Michale Payne's campaign and pray that others will do the same," he said.

Payne volunteers with the Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition and is a co-founder of Indivisible Charlottesville. He said he chose to run because of the lack of affordable housing options in Charlottesville.

"I think we just really need to be able to unify as a community around solutions to these problems because we can," he said. "But right now, our local government has not been doing that."

There are three council seats up for election this year. The incumbents, Wes Bellamy, Kathy Galvin and Mike Signer, have not yet said whether they'll run for re-election.

Another Democratic candidate, Sena Magill, plans to launch her own campaign for council on Wednesday morning.

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