Lee Carter doesn't need me to explain who he is; he eloquently and very plainly did so himself when he declared his candidacy for governor in the video above a few hours ago. I beg you to listen to it closely. A long shot candidate who will not be supported by either corrupt party establishment-- to put it mildly-- Carter would be the greatest governor in any state in any of our lifetimes if he were to somehow win. We should try to help him.
When he first ran for the House of Delegates in 2017, the Democratic Party ignored him because it was an "impossible" Republican seat in Manassas (HD-50) and the incumbent, Jackson Miller, was the Republican Party's powerful majority whip. Miller's whole campaign was to call Carter, a former marine and union electrician, a socialist. Carter embraced their slurs-- and won 11,366 (54.42) to 9,518 (45.58%). It was unclear at the time which party was more shocked and uncomfortable.
The Virginia state version of the DCCC has encouraged conservative primary opponents to run against Carter and got behind Republican Mark Wolfe (who pretended to be a Democrat for the sake of the primary). Despite his establishment support, Carter beat him 57.7% to 42.3% and then went on to be reelected by beating another Republican, Ian Lovejoy, in this swing district 10,701 (53.3%) to 9,336 (46.5%). As recently as 2013 McAuliffe and Northam lost the district when they ran for governor and lieutenant governor and then Mark Warner was defeated when he ran for reelection the following year.
Right after Carter helped the Virginia Democrats win majorities in both chambers of the legislature, New York Magazine writer Eric Levitz wrote a column about how the triumphant Virginia Democratic party killed urgent pro-union legislation that Carter-- and the Democratic base-- were backing, after being told that corporate CEOs were against it.
"Virginia," wrote Levitz, "isn’t for workers. Old Dominion is currently one of only three states to explicitly bar all public-sector employees from bargaining collectively. It was also one of the first states to enact a 'right to work' law-- a policy that undermines organized labor by allowing workers who join a unionized shop to enjoy the benefits of a collective-bargaining agreement without paying dues to the union that negotiated it. This encourages other workers to skirt their dues, which can then drain a union of the funds it needs to survive."
I hope you watched the video up top-- I begged you to. NBC-TV affiliate WAVY in the Norfolk area reported on the race today. Please consider contributing to Lee Carter's campaign by clicking on the 2021 Blue America gubernatorial thermometer.
Carter, who co-chaired the Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders in Virginia, was recently lauded by Gov. Ralph Northam for his work to help cap insulin prices at $50. The new law in Virginia went into effect Friday.
Other bills he sponsored in 2020 that went to Northam’s desk prohibited employers from classifying workers as “tipped employees” if they are not allowed to solicit tips and another that barred jails and prisons from strip searching inmates who are minors.
He also proposed a bill that would legalize marijuana and use the tax money for reparations, but that was shot down.
He’ll join a crowded field in the Democratic primary that includes former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, current Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, State Senator Jennifer McClellan and Jennifer Carroll Foy, a former delegate who stepped down in December to focus on her governor run. Virginia has become solidly blue in the last decade, and McAuliffe, a more moderate Democrat, has faced criticism from some who say he’s boxing out younger, more diverse and more progressive candidates. Carroll Foy and McClellan would be the first Black female governor in Virginia history.
The announcement comes weeks after McAuliffe’s, and months after the other candidates. The late start, and impending General Assembly session that requires legislators to pause fundraising, means Carter will have to play catch up. The Democratic primary election in Virginia is in June.