C’ville— and surrounding Albemarle County— is one of the bluest parts of Virginia. Countywide Trump got less than a third of the vote in 2020. And in the Charlottesville itself— as in any university town— he wasn’t even a factor (12.8%). The whole city council is Democratic and in the 2021 gubernatorial election, Terry McAuliffe beat Glenn Youngkin 14,378 (83%) to 2,774 (16%). Tim Kaine did even better the year before, winning 86%. Charlottesville is its own House of Delegates district and the district surrounding it, HD-55, is brand new. Most of the new district (83%) is in Albemarle County and the rest is mostly in Louisa County (red) and Nelson County (red).
The Republican who represented much of it, anti-Choice and homophobic kook Rob Bell, took one look at the new numbers and headed for the hills. The Republicans have put up a sacrificial lamb, Reid Wernig, and the 2023 election will be determined by the Democratic primary between Amy Laufer and Kellen Squire. Wernig hasn’t reported raising any money while Laufer has raised $216,221 and Squire has raised 150,449.
What what I can tell, Laufer is a garden variety Democrat. Squire isn’t; he’s even worse. He’s calling himself a “progressive”— and he’s nothing of the sort. Last we met up with Squire (2017) he was running against Bell, proudly describing himself as a Blue Dog and reactionary. He was even worse than that. At the time, I wrote that “reading through his online history, it's pretty clear he's just an opportunistic Republican who sees an opportunity to take advantage of the growing anti-Trump tsunami. He admits on his Facebook page that ‘Sadly, this is an accurate portrayal of much of the leadership in the Republican Party, and why I left them behind.’ He didn't say when he left them behind, only that he agrees with Democrats on some issues and disagrees with Democrats on other issues. He didn’t talk much about issues, just about being a nurse, though I don't think he's a nurse the way RoseAnn DeMoro of National Nurses United is a nurse. This one is an anti-Choice fanatic. Instead he claims his brand of conservatism is going to save the Democratic Party. He compares progressives to the Tea Party that practically destroyed, he says, his beloved GOP. He likes talking about how he's pro-gun and anti-Choice and how voter ID-- Republican shorthand for voter suppression. His description of Bernie: ‘goofier than a pet goat.’ Sounds perfect for the Democratic Establishment that has so blurred the party's brand that garbage like Kellen Squire can call themselves Democrats and get away with it.”
Although he's tried to clean up his website, originally he wrote on it that "I'm fervently and unashamedly pro-life. If it were up to me, I'd advocate for the addition of a plank to the Democratic party platform that we eliminate abortion in the Commonwealth of Virginia as soon as possible." You want that as an elected official of the Democratic Party? How about, "My idea of gun control is pretty simple-- you control your gun, I'll control mine. Gun control-- right? But, seriously, I'm an unabashed supporter of the Second Amendment. Like it or not, we have a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, which the government must ensure."
He's told the local press that he decided to run as a Democrat because his opponent Bell is a Republican. He's the opposite of the kind of candidate Democrats should be electing, regardless of how "red" the district is. He should probably be primarying Bell if he doesn't like him. Needless to say, people are falling for his Republican-lite centrist claptrap. After all, he constantly uses his big brood of children as props in his political outreach, I've seen what happens when people like Kellen Squire get into office.
You wind up with people like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema eventually destroying the agenda from within and wrecking the party in such a way that young voters start to say, "what's the difference?" Earlier this week, Laufer asked the same question in mailers she sent to voters across the district:
Now that Squire is pretending to be a progressive— and a Berniecrat no less (yeah, the guy he described as “goofier than a pet goat”)— Laufer dug up all the stuff he wrote that he’s been trying to hide, like calling himself “unashamedly pro-life” and advocating for “the addition to the Democratic party platform that we eliminate abortion in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Squire claims the comments were taken out of context— but the context, his own words, are even worse!
Confronted with his past comments earlier this month, Squire told the Daily Progress they were both a failed attempt at catering to voters in a much-redder 58th District and also some form of “Democratic counter operations” in order to bait Republicans into attacking him.
The posts, according to Squire, were both an attempt at reclaiming the term “pro-life” from Republicans— because “there’s nothing pro-life about what they want to do”— and a bid to get conservatives to respond so he could “expose them [the comments] as being made up.”
At the time, Squire was running against the heavily favored, and ultimately victorious, Republican Del. Rob Bell.
Squire claimed he was using techniques pulled from the playbooks of former President Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Laufer’s campaign isn’t buying any of it.
The former Charlottesville School Board member said in a Tuesday statement that while there may be some confusion over where Squire stands, she has a consistent track record as a pro-abortion Democrat.
“Always have been. Always will be,” the statement reads.
Now, speaking about Virginia, on Wednesday Glenn Youngkin— who would love in run for president or vice president or get a good cabinet appointment from somebody— sent 100 Virginia National Guard troops to Texas’ border with Mexico, as a few other racist drama queen governors (including DeSantis) have. Youngkin: “The ongoing border crisis facing our nation has turned every state into a border state. As leadership solutions at the federal level fall short, states are answering the call to secure our southern border, reduce the flow of fentanyl, combat human trafficking and address the humanitarian crisis… Given the intensive resource demands on Texas, the dangers posed by the fentanyl crisis, and impact of the border crisis on criminal activity to the Commonwealth, Virginia will do its part to assist the State of Texas’ efforts with the coordinated deployment of Virginia National Guard soldiers to assist in key aspects of their mission.”
In a statement, the folks at Blue Virginia said that “In reality, the border deployment is a continuation of the kind of racial animus he harvested during his 2021 race, when he used racist dog-whistles around CRT (remember that?) and crime in Virginia to win the gubernatorial seat. Lots of political media portrayed him as a moderate guy in a red vest. His record, of course, shows otherwise.
Delegate candidate Jessica Anderson, who Youngkin has been attacking personally lately, seems to be seeing the situation the same way that Blue Virginia does. If you click on this tweet she sent out yesetrday, you will be able to contribute to her campaign:
In fact, if you click on that Jessica tweet, you’ll also be able to contribute to Houston Texas legislative candidate Karthik Soora, who told me that “People come to the United States for asylum fleeing some of the most horrific circumstances: civil wars, failed states, economic collapse, all out gang violence. Band-aids from out-of-state governors won't solve our Texas-sized immigration issues. Instead of deploying more cops from their homes to Gov. Abbott's wasteful Operation Lone Star, we need to get serious about comprehensive immigration reform that treats asylees with dignity, creates a pathway to citizenship, and enforces smart border security. Texans are tired of the cheap stunts from power-hungry MAGA politicians who care more about Fox News cameos than solving problems. If Gov. Youngkin wants to be part of the solution, he should quit messing with Texas, and tell Speaker McCarthy to finally allow a vote on real immigration reform that would fix our broken immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship for over 15 million immigrants. And he should push Congress to send additional funding to the Texas border counties that have shouldered a fiscal responsibility to which all counties across the United States should contribute.”