How campaign stops are costing Greater Richmond

Posted at 6:48 PM, Aug 20, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-20 18:48:17-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--There are many perks to being a swing state in a presidential election year, but for many small communities it comes with a price.

Since May of this year President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have held ten campaign stops in the Commonwealth, according to campaign sources.

Since June of 2011, Governor Romney has held seven events in Virginia, including a recent stop in Ashland, Va.

That stop, according to town officials, turned into an unexpected expenditure.

“For this particular visit with the Romney campaign the total cost to the town of Ashland was a little less than five thousand dollars, Charles Hartgrove, Ashland’s town manager, told CBS6 News.

While Ashland and towns like it are expected to bill political parties for incurred costs such as police overtime, Hartgrove said there is no guarantee the town will get reimbursed.

“There really isn’t a mechanism that makes this guaranteed,” Hartgrove said.

Residents however do not want candidates skipping their town because of costs. Many business owners, like Kimberly Mills of Homemades by Suzanne, says presidential visits bring business to town.

“You do have to spend a little to make a little so I think it is really worth it,” Mills said.

The Virginia State Police incur more debt than local police because officers typically travel with candidates throughout the state.

Police released a statement to CBS6:

“Dignitary protection is a common responsibility for our Department, and has been since the inception of the Virginia State Police 80 years ago this year. Any additional costs incurred for such assignments is absorbed by the Department as part of our general operating budget.”