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Virginia General Election Voting Starts Today— Not Next Year Or Next Month, Today, Friday

Democratic Party Prospects Look Excellent

Virginia Democrats have two over-arching tasks— to hold or expand their slim majority in the state Senate and to flip the House of Delegates by overturning the Republicans’ equally slim majority. Going into the election, there are 22 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the Senate and 51 Republicans, 46 Democrats (and 3 vacant seats) in the House. Both parties are pouring money into encouraging early and absentee voting. “This election,” reported ABC News, “is particularly consequential as it will determine party control of the currently divided Legislature for the final two years of Youngkin's term. Political experts told ABC News that in 2020, Trump discouraged Republicans from early voting alleging the potential for voter fraud. And now, experts say, Republicans are in a ‘challenging place. You can either continue with the Trump angle of early and mail voting provides the potential for fraud, or you can risk angering Trump's supporters who are all-in on the fraud angle,’ said Dr. Chapman Rackaway, a professor and Chair of Political Science at Radford University… [Youngkin] likely sees the writing on the wall that discouraging GOP early voting is a long-term path to failure,’ Rackaway told ABC News.”

If Democrats are going to re-take the House, candidates like progressive grassroots superstar Jessica Anderson are going to have to oust Trump-supporting incumbents like Amanda Batten in HD-71, a swing district that includes all of Williamsburg and parts of James City County and New Kent County. In 2016 Trump beat Hillary 48.2% to 45.8%, but in the following year’s gubernatorial election, Democrat Ralph Northam won by less than a point and a year later, the district got behind Senator Tim Kaine 52.6% to 45.5%. In 2021 the district swung red and Youngkin beat McAuliffe 53,6% to 45.8%. The current partisan lean based on the 2022 congressional election is very tight:

  • Democrats- 50.10%

  • Republicans- 48.87%

  • Other- 1.03%

“Everything is on the line this November, in the state of Virginia,” Anderson told me yesterday. She’s one of the few Democratic candidates in the state on the verge of flipping a red House seat. In endorsing her, Tim Kaine told voters in the district that “This November, the 71st District has the incredible opportunity to elect Jessica Anderson as its next Delegate. She will bring her passion for public education, reproductive health care access, and gun safety to the Virginia General Assembly and will be an effective leader for her constituents. I’m pleased to offer my endorsement of her campaign and look forward to her service to the Commonwealth.” In his endorsement, former US Attorney General Eric Holder reminded voters in that district that “From voting to reproductive rights, state legislatures are critical to protecting democracy and the freedoms that come with it. I am proud to support these Democracy Defenders who will fight for real progress and against the anti-democratic forces in the Commonwealth. At this moment MAGA Republicans are attempting to roll back fundamental rights, and Virginians must participate in democracy in order to protect their rights by electing pro-democracy candidates up and down the ballot. The new fair legislative maps present Virginians the opportunity to achieve a general assembly that will accurately represent their views and protect their rights. Come November, every vote will make a difference in Virginia.”

Blue America has also endorsed her and you can contribute to her campaign here. She is running hard on a broad spectrum of popular progressive issues, especially public education, gun safety, family care policies (paid family and medical leave, earned sick time, quality affordable child care, long-term elder care and affordable prescription drugs) and, of course, the biggest issue across Virginia: women’s choice/reproductive rights.

“We have seen throughout the nation,” she told me, “a shift in our elections and voter turn-out because each election, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade through the Dobbs decision, has awoken a generation of voters. We here in Virginia have a governor who wants to paint a picture that a 15 week ban is moderate or a consensus decision, while ignoring the fact that his own party chair recognizes we are only impacting a minuscule number of abortions, and also not pointing to the fact that this type of ban will NOT impact elective abortions. The truth of the matter is, when voters understand that this type of ban is nothing more than a hindrance for healthcare providers to provide life saving care to patients, they too disagree with any ban on the books. We we know, the moderate language is just a guise to garner votes, and as soon as he has full power of the General Assembly, he will take us back far beyond a 15 week ban.” She asked us to help ensure “every voter knows the truth and knows why we must vote in Virginia this November. We are setting the tone for 2024 and beyond, let it be a loud and clear message.”

On Wednesday, the Associated Press <>reported<> that abortion rights “has motivated voters and upended traditional political wisdom in election after election since a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated the federal right to the procedure last year. But it may be especially front of mind in Virginia, the only state in the South that has not imposed new abortion restrictions since Roe v Wade fell. Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin— whose push to ban the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy was blocked by the Democratic-controlled Senate— has pledged to try again if the GOP wins full control in the state… For those on either side of the debate, Virginia… is among the biggest fights this year over abortion rights. The Commonwealth’s odd-year elections are often an indicator of the national mood heading into major election years and offer both parties a chance to test campaign strategies, messaging and policy ahead of 2024 contests for president, Congress and other offices.”

Victoria Luevanos is running for an open state Senate seat, also in a swing district that includes part of blue-leaning blue-leaning Virginia Beach, part of Norfolk and all of red-leaning Accomack and blue-leaning Northampton counties. The partisan lean, based on the 2022 congressional election:

  • Democrats- 50.32%

  • Republicans- 49.54%

  • Others- 0.14%

If Luevanos wins this seat, it will clinch the Democrats’ hold on the state Senate and signal that Republicans who back Trump and his MAGA agenda, like Bill DeSteph, are in trouble across the country. DeSteph has used special interest money to spend more than 10 times what Luevanos has been able to spend. Please consider contributing to her get-out-the-vote effort for this last month before Election Day— and for her crucial early voting push.

She’s also going all in on the abortion rights issue. “As the last state in the South to protect Reproductive Rights,” she told me, “we currently bear the responsibility as the last Safe Haven for abortion access; and Democrats are the only ones fighting for less government interference into your life. Many Democrats and Republicans have voiced that they don't believe they would ever utilize their access to an abortion because of their personal views, and in the same breath say ‘But I don't know what could happen in the future to change that, and I'm glad we have the option available.’ I've even heard ‘Just because I wouldn't do it, doesn't mean we take liberties of others,’ so many people still consider the freedom to access for their neighbors, their kids, their grandkids, and their friends even though they might make another choice. Seeing what is happening in states across the country is making people aware of the consequences families will face if Virginia meets the same fate.”

Replublicans may say we have “nothing to run on so we hyperfocus on abortions, but the reality is that Democrats get lost in advocating for the issues that are being attacked the most and not the accomplishments we've made for all Virginians. In the past four years, Democrats have repealed the mandatory ultrasound law, the 24-hour abortion waiting period, and state-mandated counseling for those seeking an abortion, while Republicans opposed said repeals. Democrats removed restrictions on women’s health centers and allowed nurse practitioners to provide abortions within the first trimester of pregnancy, while Republicans tried to pass more restrictions and criminalize abortions and the medical staff who perform them. Democrats made strides in Climate, Criminal Justice, Firearm Safety, LGBTQIA+ Rights, Cannabis, and Voting Rights, while Republicans voted against them or added restrictions and blocks. Democrats raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 by 2023 and $15 by 2026, while Republicans opposed minimum wage increases, and tried to freeze, limit, or add exemptions to the scheduled wage increases. Sorry Republican campaign operative, but all we have is vision and a people-powered agenda, while your party takes the cake in restrictions, blocks, and opposition to expanding people's choices and opportunities; but it is a unique election year where EVERY seat is up for grabs so I guess this year you guys might pass a thing or two to keep your jobs.”

Luevanos’s issues page highlights protecting reproductive freedom— as well as preventing gun violence, creating an economy for all Virginians, education, protecting LGBTQ rights, increasing access to health care, reforming the criminal justice system, helping immigrant communities thrive and increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.

Earlier this week, USA Today’s Savannah Kuchar reported that “Virginia might be the country’s modern bellwether, with their constituents having a near-perfect track record for picking recent national election winners. But before national elections can officially begin, voters and activists from both parties in the state say they're focused on first winning this year… The Democratic National Committee recently invested $1.2 million in the state party, ‘at President Biden’s direction.’… At $1.5 million, the DNC’s total investment in the state is 15 times what they spent on Virginia in 2019, the last time members of both chambers were all up for reelection. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has also been in Virginia since January, the first national organization to arrive, according to their Communications Director Abhi Rahman. ‘To date, the DLCC has directed or committed above seven-figures directly to the Virginia House and Senate caucuses in addition to significant staff time and other resources,’ Rahman said in a statement to USA Today. ‘Our early spending in the spring helped build a strong foundation and critical infrastructure in the state so that Democrats on the ground can take full advantage of later spending and support from other groups.’ irginia Republicans have also received their share of out-of-state money. Billionaire Thomas Peterffy, a former Ron DeSantis backer, wrote his second $1 million check to Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia political action committee in August. While Democrats in the state Senate and House of Delegates combined have outraised their GOP counterparts by about $5 million, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, Youngkin’s PAC broke fundraising records, thanks in large part to megadonors like Peterffy.”

Democrats want voters and donors to understand that Youngkin is “basically DeSantis in a sweater vest and nicer packaging. He's more soft spoken, he doesn't seem to get irate… kind of like the soccer dad type. So, he's more friendly.” The policies, however, are anti-family and as extreme as DeSantis’ are. This is an opportunity to stop him in his tracks. If Democrats do well in the elections, Youngkin and his phony Bush-like “kinder gentler conservatism” will be finished as a force in GOP politics. See the chaos and dysfunction that’s happening in the House this month? That Republican governance. In fact, yesterday Dan Merica and Sophie Tatum reported that “History may be repeating itself in Virginia as the federal government careens toward a shutdown in early October… With Republicans in Congress unable to agree on a spending deal, Democrats in Virginia— home to one of the largest shares of federal government workers and contractors— are preparing to use the seemingly inevitable shutdown as a cautionary tale against handing Republicans total control of state government, according to conversations with multiple top Virginia Democrats. The goal, they said, is to tie Republicans in the commonwealth to ‘extremism’ in Washington.”

Youngkin made a fool of himself on Fox Business this week trying to twist the facts and blame the GOP intraparty dysfunction on Biden and came right out and said he supports the Republican process for finding a deal. He whined that Biden needs to lead? Lead who Matt Rosendale, Ralph Norman, Dan Bishop, Bob Good (a Virginian by the way who Youngkin might want to have a talk with), Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Traitor Greene, Lauren Beetlejuice Boebert? These are Trump puppets who want to shit down the government. Yesterday the Freedom Caucus sabotaged McCarthy’s second effort to get a Defense Appropriations bill onto the floor for a vote. Eli Okun wrote that “The House GOP is continuing to prove itself ungovernable— and Congress paralyzed— as Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s latest gambit to bring the Defense spending bill to the floor failed again today. A procedural vote went down 212-216, as just enough far-right Republicans jumped ship to tank the rule in a surprise rebuke to House GOP leadership… Having reneged on his deal with the White House, McCarthy still hasn’t figured out a way simply to pass the rule to proceed to one of the least controversial of 12 spending bills that don’t stand a chance of making it through the Senate in their House form.” The crew at Punchowl was just as explicit about where the fault is: “At this moment, House Republicans can’t govern. This isn’t just an opinion, at this point. It’s a fact that’s been borne out in the Capitol all week… The House Republican Conference, as currently constructed, doesn’t have the ability to move legislation. The Republican leadership is privately absolutely certain that they cannot pass a CR, even if it’s loaded with GOP policies. So a shutdown looks more and more likely every moment of every day.” Even McCarthy is blaming Republicans— not Biden, not the Democrats— members of his own conference: “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down. That doesn’t work.” What planet is Youngkin on? Or does he just want to deceive Virginia voters? Don't forget... here is the place to send the Republicans a message they won't forget.

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