It’s time for a true blue Virginia. And this is the year that we make it happen.
Republicans haven’t won a statewide election in Virginia since 2009. Democratic presidential candidates have won Virginia three consecutive times. And in 2017, Virginia House candidates picked up 15 seats from Republicans, coming within two seats of an outright majority. EveryDistrict helped 10 of those candidates win. Now we’re back to finish the job in 2019.
As they say, success has a million fathers and today everyone in Virginia celebrates the triumphs of 2017. On the ground that year, the conversation was very different. As we went around the state we heard, “The state is too gerrymandered for Democrats to win,” and “The GOP knows what they’re doing, they aren’t going to lose these seats,” or “That candidate can’t win.” In the lead up to November 2017, the “insider” wisdom was that it would be a good night if Democrats won five seats and much of the money followed that insight.
So, how did we go from five to 15 seats? A surge of grassroots energy powered the 15 candidates to victory. However, the conservative outlook had an impact: On election night, five Democrats lost by 500 votes cumulatively. In those districts, Republicans outspent Democrats by $500,000.
Just a few thousand more dollars could have given us a Democratic majority. A Democratic majority that would pass the Equal Rights Amendment, raise the minimum wage, and commit to voting rights for Virginians. While those 15 victories led to an important policy victory — Medicaid expansion — the Republican majority in the legislature has made it clear that progressive change in Virginia will only happen with a Democratic majority in the legislature.
And we’re confident that it could be a big Democratic majority. In the Senate, Democrats currently trail 19–21. There are six seats currently held by the GOP that Democrats could win in November — these districts either lean Democratic or just slightly Republican, according to our data analysis. Like many competitive districts, these are suburban districts that are increasingly trending blue.
In the House, Democrats are down 49–51. And here’s where there’s a really big opportunity. If the results of the Bethune redistricting case are not struck down by the US Supreme Court, then Democrats have a decent shot to win in 12 districts. That’s right. Twelve. Districts.
But even in a worst-case scenario where the Supreme Court strikes down Bethune, there are still nine competitive districts that Democrats can compete in to win a large majority.
At the same time as there’s all this opportunity to pick up seats, we still have a little bit of defense to play. In 2017, four districts were decided by less than 5 percentage points. Two of the most competitive seats, in the Richmond and Virginia Beach areas respectively, are open as their incumbents run for the State Senate this year. Across these crucial holds, we’ll be monitoring conditions so that we ensure that we can grow our majority without taking steps backward.
What’s it going to take to win these districts?
Good candidates, which we have. You can read about them here.
Grassroots energy, which we have. You can sign up to volunteer for these great candidates with our partners at Mobilize.
Money, which we need. While Democrats are raising dollars at record numbers, State Senate and State House Republicans continue to maintain their cash advantage. Let’s not leave a single vote or district on the table.
And look, we know there are a lot of candidates asking for money — there are over 20 Democrats running for president! There are also a lot of organizations who ask for money, and it can be hard to figure out who to support or how your dollars will be spent.
With EveryDistrict, you know where your dollars are going — directly to the candidates who need it most. We do the data analysis to find the competitive districts, vet the candidates to make sure they’re running campaigns that can win, and then we ask you to donate directly to our endorsed candidates. Your donation can’t get lost or spent on something else because your contribution will go directly to our candidates — no middleman.
At the link below, you can donate instantly and directly to the Virginia House and Senate candidates who most need your dollars right now: Crowdpac.com/c/EveryDistrictVA.
With your support, we can help Democrats win across Virginia, building a true blue majority that implements progressive reform in 2020 and beyond.