VADF planning is shaping up for 2019 with action as our antidote for threats and stress.
Our year got off to a rough start with a serious betrayal of trust by the leadership in Richmond. And, unlike the legislative session last year where Medicare expansion was passed, the opposition has blocked all progressive initiatives this year. Vital issues such as the Equal Rights Amendment, solar freedom bill, gun safety bills, and marijuana decriminalization have gone nowhere. Once again it is clear that none of the issues that are important to us will move forward until we elect enough progressive candidates to control the Virginia House and Senate.
In 2019, the goal remains to win elections for progressive candidates to gain decisive majorities in the Virginia Senate and House.
The overall VADF approach is to focus support on candidates who are in workable position to flip a seat to blue. Based on an extensive analysis of the Virginia races, the Elections Committee is recommending that VADF focus on the House of Delegates and to initially adopt four candidates:
Dan Helmer in District 40 in the Clifton/Fairfax County area. Jacqui Lieberman is the VADF coordinator. Helmer ran as a primary candidate for District 10 last year.
Shelly Simonds in District 94 in Newport News. April Breslaw and Ruthanne Smith will serve as the co-lead coordinators. Simonds lost a random drawing that decided a tied election in 2017. Every vote counts.
Joshua Cole in District 28 in the Stafford County/Fredericksburg area. VADF coordinator needed.
Wendy Gooditis in District 10 in Loudoun County. VADF coordinator needed.
In these four districts, Democrats voted in greater numbers than Republicans in most categories in elections since 2016. Also, these districts are a relatively close driving distance from Northern Virginia.
We will have many strong candidates to support in other races. Eighteen other Senate and House races are under consideration for adoption, and updates will be provided as the situation develops. VADF has a track record demonstrating how to get great results in winning elections and we can do it again this year.
One item breaking our favor is the re-districting court case. Last June, the U.S. Eastern District Court of Virginia ordered new boundaries for 11 districts that had been gerrymandered to concentrate black voters. Redrawing these district lines will cause the adjacent 26 districts to get new lines. Many of the 11 districts are swing suburban areas in Hampton Roads and Richmond, where incumbent Republicans have been losing voters. The redrawn district lines will shake up races in favor of Democrats in these districts.
We will be agile in responding to new opportunities such as newly drawn districts and flex our efforts as needed to candidates who need more help.
In future years, a balance will be needed between focusing on elections and addressing member interest in progressive issues. Until we achieve legislative majorities, however, election wins must come first.
If our goals were minor, our tasks were easy, and adversity never got in our way, we would have achieved our goals long ago. This year we will need to overcome the new barriers in our path. Let’s get to work.
-- The VADF Leadership Team