The Battle Is Underway to Elect a New Governor in Virginia—And Progressives Are Phone-Banking to Turn the Tide
The Democratic Party, never one to turn down a circular firing squad, headed into the weekend before a critical governor’s race in Virginia squabbling over whether or the Democratic National Committee rigged the 2016 Primary in favor of Hillary Clinton. It was spurred by a Politico article by Donna Brazile, suggesting that in fact Clinton and the DNC had been conspiring. It was terrible timing, four days before the Virginia Governor's election, which, as CNBC points out, "has traditionally been seen as an early bellwether for new presidents as it happens one year after the presidential election." As pundits and journalists waged Twitter war over how Brazile's remarks would impact future elections, Opal Boyer, an energy analyst from Alexandria, Virginia was knocking on doors in Arlington."So far it's been pretty uplifting," Boyer said of her canvassing shift for Demoratic candidate Ralph Northam in a phone interview. "People are talking about how important [the election] is, and how they're not going to miss it." Of the intra-party fights, she noted, "I was wondering if i would come across any of that, but i haven't yet. I'm a little more than halfway done with my shift, and no one has mentioned it. They seem pretty committed to voting Northam."Marc Beallor, another Arlington canvasser, echoed Boyer's experience, noting, "Most people are pretty savvy in terms of understanding what's going on. They're so used to the games that Trump is playing." "I've been doing this for many years," Beallor explained, but I've become much more active now as a result of the Trump election. I'm strictly volunteering my time...I'm really motivated because of the situation in the country." What he's afraid of however, is whether that sentiment is the same in other parts of Virginia.
David Robeck, VA House of Delegates Candidate Deborah Rodman and Opal Boyer returning from a day of canvassing. Courtesy of David Robeck. Indeed, outside of Beallor and Boyer's canvassing area, the race remains extremely tight. Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate, has eagerly aligned himself with Donald Trump, running an anti-immigrant campaign featuring ads tying Democratic Candidate to the MS-13 gang.The polls in week leading up to the election swing wildly. A Hampton University poll had Gillespie up by 8 points. Another from Quinnipiac had Northam up by 17. On the Friday before the election, another few had them tied. Northam, on the other hand, has tried to emphasize his distance from Trump, but drew outrage from many progressives, when hesaid he'd sign a bill outlawing Sanctuary Cities (which Viriginia doesn't currently have). Democracy for America even threatened to pull funding. Taking nothing for granted, multiple progressive organizations around the country have provided opportunities for Americans to help with the election, both for Governor and for the House of Delegates (Virginia's State Legislature). The Virginia Democratic Party has a phone banking system that anyone can sign up, and make as many or as few calls as they want. Run for Something, an organization dedicated to helping progressive millennials run for down ballot offices around the country, has a phone bank specially for the House of Delegates. (password 2017candidates). Indivisible and Democracy for America also have an option (DFA appears to have VA back in their phone bank). The election is three days away, but whether you're in Virginia, or phone banking from your bed, there's still time to make a difference.
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