With the banquet room at Yorktown’s Riverwalk Restaurant packed with an enthusiastic capacity crowd of Democrats and Senator Mamie Locke (D-2nd) and Delegate Robin Abbott (D-93rd) joining Terry McAuliffe to stir them up, you could forget for a moment that the fortunes of Democrats in Virginia have waned of late.
Thursday evening, this group enjoyed camaraderie and shared the messages of party veterans in a collegial gathering. The warnings were clear and matter of fact. Virginia is on the verge of a veto-proof Republican majority in the House of Delegates. It might not matter who the next Virginia Governor is; the Republicans look like they have a lock on 68, maybe 70 seats this fall. What happens to issues like women’s reproductive rights, which Locke and Abbott emphasized as a fundamental Democratic principle, is called to question. McAuliffe asked aloud what good it would accomplish to elect a Democrat as Governor in 2013 who has no power over a Republican dominated legislature and called for a greater effort to elect delegates statewide.
This was an evening with discussions on issues of substance. More will follow on both Senator Locke’s and Delegate Abbott’s remarks as well as Terry McAuliffe’s wide ranging address to the group. But what was impressive about this gathering was the sense of unified purpose and motivation to fight the good fight in an area not Democratic at all. If only the DPVA could harness this spirit and spread it throughout the state.