Tuesday was Election Day in Virginia! Here’s what happened — and what’s next for us.
On June 13th, we had Run for Something candidates running for House of Delegates in four districts in Virginia — and two of them won!
While the race between Jennifer Carroll Foy and Josh King in VA-2 is still too close to call, we are ecstatic about Danica Roem’s victory in VA-13 — and so proud of the races that Hannah Risheq, Ken Boddye, Sara Townsend, and Mansimran Singh Kahlon ran. Each one committed to voter contact — they personally knocked doors themselves, connected with voters, and argued for progressive values on a local level.
Their vigorous campaigns are part of the reason why Democratic turn-out in Tuesday’s primary was an incredible 540,000 — nearing double the 320,000 people who voted in the 2009 competitive Democratic primary, and more than the 360,000 people who voted in yesterday’s GOP primary as well. There were 20 contested Democratic primaries on Tuesday — compare that to 2009, when there were only 8 contested Democratic primaries.
Let’s talk about this for a moment: We completely understand the hesitation around primaries. After all, primaries are painful; anyone who lived through 2016 can attest to that.
But primaries push more candidates to engage with voters and give volunteers even more entry-points into the political process. It makes a difference whether voters hear directly from the candidates and accordingly, whether or not the voters show up. That’s why we encourage our candidates to jump into primaries and we’ll continue to support folks running against each other. If our candidates get into the race for the right reason then uniting behind the ultimate winner shouldn’t a problem. It’s not about ego — it’s about values.
These races ultimately ended up being extraordinarily close. Barely 10 votes separate Jennifer Foy Carroll and Josh King; and Sara Townsend lost by less than 200 votes. So, if you’re a Virginian unsure of whether your vote will make a difference this fall, think again. You vote will matter — and more importantly, you have amazing options.
A little more about our candidates up for the general…
Danica Roem is 32 years old — this is her first time running for office. If she wins the general election this November, she’ll be the first transgender member of the House of Delegates.
Her opponent is Bob Marshall, 73, a 13-term incumbent who authored a “bathroom bill” during the last legislative session. Danica had more than 80 volunteers knocking doors with her — she built a campaign from the ground up. She campaigned on LGBT equality, yes, but also on issues local to her community: On fixing Route 28 to reduce traffic congestion, extending the Virginia Railway Express commuter trains to bolster the area’s jobs, and reducing school overcrowding. Danica’s running in one of the districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 but that is currently held by a Republican in the Virginia House. She’s got a shot, and she needs your help.
We’re also excited to add three more candidates to our roster for the Virginia cycle who didn’t have competitive primaries. More to come, too!
Chris Hurst, VA-12
Chris is a former broadcast journalist and anchor for WDBJ7 (CBS) in Roanoke, Virginia. The on-air murder of his late-girlfriend, fellow journalist Alison Parker, has motivated Chris to run for public office and fight for families in Southwest Virginia. As Delegate, he vows to give a voice to the voiceless, demand support for public education and protect those at-risk to violence and abuse.
Chris will be up against Republican Joseph Yost — flipping this seat matters for winning back the Virginia legislature.
Kellen Squire, VA-58
Kellen Squire is an emergency department nurse from Barboursville, Virginia, running for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 58th District, the seat once held by Thomas Jefferson. He hopes to help build a new generation of leaders to take back the torch of civic engagement and restore the ideals our country was founded on. He is ready to stand up for working Virginians, to fight tirelessly for families, and to ensure that tomorrow brings a promising and prosperous future for his district.
Kellen’s race in particular is a fun one: He’s running against Robert Bell, who’s gone uncontested the last two cycles. Rob Bell is as conservative as they come.
Schuyler VanValkenburg, VA-72
Schuyler VanValkenburg is a public school teacher who is running for Delegate to fight for strong public schools, to create 21st Century jobs, and to level the playing field for all citizens. Schuyler is raising his three children in the Lakeside neighborhood in Henrico County, and he teaches government and history at Glen Allen High School.
Schuyler’s running for an open seat — the Republican who’s retiring, Jimmie Massie, has been uncontested the last three cycles.
These folks aren’t just talking the talk about fighting Trump— they’re doing the work. They’re stepping up even though it’s hard, scary, and a sacrifice for their families. We’ll be with them every step of the way.
Will you? Chip in now and show these Virginians you’re by their side.