Ten days ago, Virginia Democratic voters chose their candidates (and, as I wrote last week, sadly passed on two well-qualified women to re-nominate Terry McAuliffe for governor. Moving on….) Now it’s on ALL of us to ensure Virginia STAYS blue this fall.
A brief recap: In 2017, Virginia Dems shocked everyone (including maybe even themselves) by sweeping the top three races (governor, lt. governor, state attorney general) and unseating 13 Republican members of the House of Delegates. It wasn’t quite enough to take control of the state legislature, but it proved to be the bellwether for the 2018 national elections and set the stage for Dems to sweep both houses of the Virginia state legislature in 2019 for the first time in more than 20 years, which was again a bellwether for the 2020 national elections.
And, as both Hecate and I are fond of remarking, “elections have consequences.”
What has that looked like in Virginia?
Raising the minimum wage. Restoring voting rights to returning citizens, and making voting easier for everyone. Becoming the critical 38th state to ratify the ERA. Passing sensible gun safety protections. Instituting the first comprehensive LGBTQ anti-discrimination laws in the South. Tackling climate change. Making Virginia a “safe haven” state for abortion rights (which could become even more critical as SCOTUS seems increasingly likely to overturn Roe v. Wade). Abolishing the death penalty. Legalizing weed.
All that progress could be at risk this fall. Legislators who flipped Republican seats are up for re-election,some of them for the first time. Governor, lt. governor, and state attorney general are all up for election. MANY candidates are going to need our help. Dems, I love us, but we are NOTORIOUSLY inconsistent voters.
What should you do?
Pick a race or two and make a plan to get involved.
Not sure who to support? The Virginia Public Access Project can help – they have a terrific graphical representation of the partisan “flavor” of each Virginia General Assembly district. Any race that’s in the Leans Republican or Competitive range is a good place to start.
Highlighting a few:
HD-66: Katie Sponsler is the Democratic nominee once again (she also ran in 2017 and lost narrowly) for the seat that was vacated by Republican Kirk Cox in his unsuccessful bid to be the Republican nominee for governor. This seat is RIPE for a flip.
HD-51: Briana Sewell is the Democratic nominee to try to hold the seat Democrat Hala Ayala flipped in 2017. She vacated it to run, successfully, to be the Dem nominee for lt. governor. To hold the House of Delegates, we HAVE to hold Dem seats.
Relatedly, Dem incumbents who will need help doing that:
- Del. Joshua Cole (HD-28)
- Del. Chris Hurst (HD-12)
- Del. Martha Mugler (HD-91)
- Del. Alex Askew (HD-85)
- Del. Wendy Gooditis (HD-10)
- Del. Rodney Willett (HD-73)
- Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg (HD-72)
- Del. Nancy Guy (HD-83)
- Del. Roslyn Tyler (HD-75)
- Del. Kelly Fowler (HD-21)
I also need to give a shout-out to Paul Siker, who’s running against the execrable Dave LaRock in HD-33. That will NOT be an easy seat to flip – it’s like +20 R – but Paul and his team are going to do their damnedest.
Notice how every single one of those names is a link? Yeah, those are all their campaign sites. Go learn more about the candidates, pick one (or a few), donate (even $5 helps, and even better, $5 a month), sign up for their newsletter. If they’re gathering volunteers already, sign up for that, too.
Go to Postcards4VA. Set up your account. Bookmark the site. Twelve candidates (several of which are on the above list) already have addresses loaded, and MANY more will be added in the weeks and months to come. If you commit to writing ONE postcard a day, you’ll make contact with more than 130 voters by election day. Can you do two? Can you do five? That’s 650 inconsistent Dem or Dem-leaning voters YOU could motivate to get the polls this fall.
When we vote, we win. But it’s on us to make it happen.
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