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Virginia Legislative Races Start Off With A Special Election In Two Weeks

Everyone knows that January 5-- two weeks from today-- is D-Day for the U.S. Senate... the culmination of the uphill special election battle that Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are waging to replace Georgia's senatorial Bonnie and Clyde duo, corrupt Trumpists Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. But there's something else of importance happening on the 5th, the first of many state legislative special elections that will take place over the next year.

You're probably aware Virginia's statewide elections are next year. One of the top candidates, Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, resigned her state House seat to devote her full time to the gubernatorial race and last Sunday, Candi King, the best of the 5 candidates for that northeast Virginia district-- HD-02, Prince William County (58.34%) and Stafford County (41.66%)-- won a substantial victory in the primary caucus. Of the 867 votes cast, King took 380 (43.8%) with the runner-up, Pamela Montgomery, taking just 218 (25.1%). King is progressive and was the favorite of the labor community, generally trusted to push back on big business.

King will face Republican Heather Mitchell, who was defeated by Foy in 2019-- 11,828 (60.9%) to 7,563 (39.0%). Whomever wins on the 5th will have to run for re-election in the fall to a full two-year term, possibly with new district boundaries.

Carroll Foy, was first elected in 2017, winning the Democratic nomination for the seat over Candi King's husband, Josh King, by just a dozen votes. Once a GOP stronghold, HD-02 has gotten bluer in the last couple of decades. In 2012 Obama beat Romney by nearly 20 points in the district. Since then, Democrats have won every race:

  • 2013 gubernatorial- Northam beat Jackson 58-42%

  • 2014 Senate- Warner beat Gillespie 52-46%

  • 2016 predidential- Hillary beat Trump 56-39%

  • 2017 gubernatorial- Northam beat Gillespie 62-37%

  • 2018 Senate- Kaine beat Stewart 65-34%

  • 2019 Delegate- Foy beat Mitchell 60.9%-39.0%

Matt Rogers is also running for a seat in Virginia's House of Delegates in 2021. He's enthusiastic about Candi and the special election. "Candi may be a first-time candidate," he told me yesterday, "but she's not new to this. She's passionate about addressing poverty by expanding the ability of workers to collectively bargain-- which is why labor showed up big for her and helped her win close to 44% in a 5-way race. Being a parent with special needs and a business owner are just a couple of experiences that have set her up to understand the unique challenges that folks are facing-- especially during a pandemic."

He also reminded me-- no surprise here-- that "the GOP is running the same playbook on her that they've been told to from on high: scream about defunding the police-- no matter who the candidate is. Too bad, in this case, they really should have checked the Google first. Candi King's husband is a sheriff in Fairfax County. For whatever you think about reallocating funds and obseletizing functions that police around America generally carry out, it's clear what the undertone of this political attack is from Ms. Heather Mitchell and who the intended audience is. I'm trying to help make inroads towards 60 seats in the House instead of just holding on to the 55 we represent now. That starts on January 5th."

Jess Brown is a respected Virginia labor leader and a senior organizer for the SEIU. Jess had a message for us this morning: "I have known Candi for years because her husband is a leader in SEIU 512. I admire her community building work with Ford Foundation. I also know as a delegate, she will fight for quality home care for older adults and people with disabilities as well as fair wages and benefits for home care providers in Virginia. She also understands the importance of unions and I know she will support collective bargaining rights for home care workers and other state employees."


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