Five Reasons Democrats Are Poised To Make Gains in the Virginia House of Delegates.
How You Can Help in the Final 22 Days
Less than a month out from the election, the national media is starting to notice what we’re seeing up close: Democrats have a historic opportunity for major gains in the House of Delegates on November 7 — possibly even taking the majority in a wave. So many of these campaigns are within striking distance of victory, but they need help turning out the vote in these final weeks. Please sign up to do your part.
Here’s a summary of where we stand.
Strong candidates in every zip code. Republicans control the Virginia House of Delegates 66–34. Two years ago, 44 Republicans had no Democratic opponent file to run against them. This year, all but 12 Republicans have a Democratic challenger, a modern record for contested seats. Over half of the Democratic challengers are women, a quarter are people of color, five are from the LGBTQ community, and nearly a dozen are millenials. Most have never been on the ballot before. They see running for office as a natural outgrowth of their service: whether it’s as a public school teacher, a social worker, an Air Force officer, or a public defender. Their voices are needed in a Richmond legislature that’s been gerrymandered to preserve the status quo.
A united party with a strong platform. After a Democratic primary that set new records for turnout, Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring are leading a unified Democratic party that’s put forward a strong progressive agenda. Running on a platform of expanding Medicaid, a debt-free path to a community college degree, and raising teacher pay, Democrats are competing in every corner of the Commonwealth so the Northam Administration has a governing partner in the House.
Unprecedented enthusiasm from progressive allies. This year we’re seeing unprecedented enthusiasm across the progressive movement. Members of new activist groups (Flippable, Sister District, Indivisible) are joining forces with long time advocates (Planned Parenthood Action Fund, New Virginia Majority, Sierra Club) to deploy volunteers, harness new technologies, and turn out voters who have traditionally stayed away in off years. Organizations like The Arena PAC are bringing attention to the stories of candidates running in parts of the Commonwealth that haven’t seen a competitive Democrat in years and investing in critical organizing staff. At Win Virginia, we’ve donated or raised over $400,000 for delegate campaigns and associated PACs, while investing an unprecedented amount in technology to allow all Democratic challengers to reach voters in new ways. These efforts will pay dividends not only in delegate races, but catalogue lessons learned and best practices for future election cycles in Virginia and beyond. I have never seen greater energy or greater unity than we see this year.
Extreme Republican Delegates that talk nice and vote mean. Republican delegates in Richmond have blocked Governor McAuliffe’s legislative agenda for the past four years. Many like to talk moderate, but have voted again and again to block Medicaid expansion and prevent 400,000 Virginians from accessing health care; to defund Planned Parenthood; to funnel tax dollars away from over-strained public schools; and to suppress the sacred right to vote and propagate a school-to-prison pipeline with a criminal code that would make a Texan blush. Many have never had to answer for their extreme record, until now.
Gillespie and Republican Delegates have put Trump on the ballot. Gillespie’s viciously racist fear campaign has solidified that the Republican Party is Trump’s Party. Far from finding the moral courage to call out Trump’s divisive and destructive attacks on our communities, our healthcare, our basic rights, they have leaned into a campaign right out of the Bannon playbook. This is the first statewide election of the Trump-era, and Virginia is set to send a clear signal, one that may well be heard loudly by my old Republican colleagues in Congress. They are watching results in Virginia as they increasingly envy Sen. Corker’s decision to retire and finally say what they all know privately about Trump threatening all that we hold dear. The path to a national victory in 2018 starts with a big showing in Virginia in 2017.
How you can join the fight. I have had the honor of seeing all of these amazing statewide and delegate candidates up-close as I crisscross the Commonwealth. With 22 days left, they are finalizing their budgets and divvying up scarce resources. That’s where you come in. Find the candidate closest to you and contribute money, knock doors, or volunteer remotely in these final weeks. Every dollar you donate allows candidates more time talking to voters directly. It doesn’t take much to make an impact — four years ago, nearly one-quarter of contested delegate races were decided by less than 1000 votes.
Together we can reject the Trump-Gillespie agenda and finally hold these Republican delegates accountable for holding back Virginia’s progress. I have never seen a more talented, diverse, and dedicated group of candidates running in Virginia. They have turned their lives upside down to give us a chance. With three weeks left until election day, what are you prepared to do to stop divisive and destructive agenda and ensure we are a Commonwealth for the common good?