In Some Places Primaries Are More Important Than General Elections. Like The One 2 Days Ago

Jackie Glass

There was a special election primary for a state House seat in Norfolk on Tuesday. The Democratic Establishment candidate, Alicia Smith, lost. The winner of the Democratic primary in this deep blue district is a sure bet for the general. HD-89 is entirely within the boundaries of Norfolk City. Hillary beat Trump there 80-15%. Northam won the gubernatorial race in 2017 with 83% and the following year Kaine won the Senate election with 85%. The Norfolk Republican Party selected some guy named Giovanni Dolmo, apparently a right-wing pastor, as their sacrificial lamb for the January 11th general election. The Democratic firehouse primary on Tuesday was not just more democratic; it was more complicated.

Background: Delegate Jay Jones, who lost the primary in his bid for the Attorney General nomination and then ran for reelection as a Delegate, announced he was resigning just weeks after being reelected with 80% of the vote. After getting the Black Caucus, the governor and virtually the entire Virginia Democratic Establishment to endorse Smith, Jones did some retail campaigning for her as well.

There were a couple of problems: Smith lives in Chesapeake, not Norfolk. The voters apparently wanted a progressive activist, not another establishment politician and the voters decided they wanted to chose for themselves, not just allow the establishment to choose for them. That was good news for Jackie Glass, the progressive in the race, who shocked everyone by winning the nomination.

Jackie: "Before the pandemic, our city was grappling with inequitable development, deprivation of resources in non-wealthy communities, lack of engagement and transparency with residents across the city. What's changed? Us. Now, more than ever, we realize that no matter where you call home, we are all neighbors. Our City is stronger than ever because of us. We must move forward with a sense of urgency to disrupt governance that provides space for racism, sexism, classism, ageism, and ableism. Equity is possible in our city. We have to choose it."