Home 2018 Elections Video: Two Democrats Now Running for Congress in VA-09

Video: Two Democrats Now Running for Congress in VA-09


Obviously, Virginia’s 9th CD has been a tough one for Democrats in recent years, which makes the fact that we’ve already got two Democrats running for Congress there (see below) very striking. At this point, Democrats have a slew of candidates running for Congress in 2018, both here in Virginia and across the country. For instance, in Virginia’s 1st CD, we’ve got PW County School Board member Ryan Sawyers, U.S. Marine Edwin Santana,  “author, professional genealogist, historian, and professional speaker” Vangie Williams, Army veteran and businessman John Suddarth and former Navy nuclear submarine officer Tom Hicks. In the 2nd CD, we’ve got public school teacher Karen Mallard and former Air Force Commander Dave Belote. In the 5th CD, we’ve got U.S. Marine Roger Dean Huffstetler, journalist Leslie Cockburn, investment associate Ben Cullop and attorney Andrew Sneathern.  In the 7th CD, we’ve got former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger and former combat Marine Dan Ward. In the 6th CD, we’ve got regional planner Peter Volosin. In the 10th CD, we’ve got State Sen. Jennifer Wexton, U.S. Army veteran Dan Helmer, former State Dept. official Alison Friedman, former Obama administration official Lindsey Davis Stover, past Fairfax teachers union president Kimberly Adams, Loudoun School for the Gifted founder Deep Sran, and former federal prosecutor Paul Pelletier.  We’ll see about VA-06, with the announcement last week by Rep. Bob BADlatte that he won’t be seeking reelection (good riddance!).

As for the “Fighting Ninth,” the two announced Democratic candidates are, in order of their announcements (see their videos below): 1) Anthony Flaccavento, who ran against Rep. Morgan Griffith (R) in 2012, losing by a 61%-39% margin, and who describes himself as “a family farmer, community leader and small business owner from Abingdon, in the heart of Virginia’s Ninth District”; and 2) Justin Santopietro, who graduated from Blacksburg High School, has a Master’s Degree from GW University and was a Legislative Intern for Sen. Al Franken before starting a career in financial services. I look forward to hearing more from both candidates, and of course invite them to introduce themselves to Blue Virginia readers.

  • Melissa Dart Endorses of Abigail Spanberger for Virginia’s CD-7

    HENRICO, VA – Melissa Dart, former Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 56th district, announced today her support for Abigail Spanberger in the race for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

    “Over the past year, I have gotten to know Abigail Spanberger both from our time participating in the yearlong Emerge Virginia candidate training and from the tireless work that she put into helping not only my campaign, but the delegate campaigns across the region,” said Dart. “While I was initially impressed by Abigail’s extensive time spent working operations in several countries, gathering data and providing national leaders with the critical information needed to protect our country as part of the CIA, it was her true integrity and deep concern for the problems facing the residents of the 7th district that stood out to me. In a time of extreme uncertainty and volatility, we need people like Abigail who have the experience and knowledge to fight for the policies that will keep us safe.

    Access to quality education and affordable healthcare were the cornerstones of my campaign and were what I heard about the most from voters in the 56th. As the mother of three children herself, I have no doubt that Abigail understands this concerns and will continue this fight in Washington. I look forward to putting my experiences gained from campaigning over this past year to work helping Abigail Spanberger secure the nomination and help Democrats take back the House in 2018.”

  • John Suddarth Announces Candidacy For Virginia’s First Congressional District

    John Suddarth–Army veteran, accomplished businessman, and active community leader—is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Congress from the First District.

    No stranger to the First Congressional District, John is a native of Prince William County, grew up in Cherry Hill and graduated from Gar-Field Senior High School. He is a longtime resident of Hanover County where he lives with his wife Sigrid. They have two grown sons.

    A graduate of West Point, John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering with a minor in economics. Following graduation, John served as an artillery officer stationed in Germany and rose in the ranks to become a captain commanding a field artillery battery in the Rapid Deployment Force. During his military career, John earned the coveted Ranger Tab and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

    As a civilian, John worked as an aerospace engineer at GE before attending business school at Stanford University where he earned both an MBA and a Certificate in Public Management. He went on to become a successful senior corporate executive running companies with multinational operations in over 15 countries. He has served as president of AMF Reece, Morse Controls, Humminbird and Teleflex Aerospace and Commercial Groups; he was also chief operating officer of AMF Bowling Products. Within the businesses he led, John was known as a motivator, team builder and mentor.

    John founded and is the principal of Linden Tree Capital, which has equity in private companies and owns commercial real estate. In addition, he is a co-investor in and a director of Lacas Coffee Company.

    An active community leader, John served as the elected Board Chair of Hanover Habitat for Humanity where he used his business experience to help the organization improve its fundraising and increase its home construction. He has been active in the Hanover Democratic Committee, overseeing the Committee’s fundraising efforts that have enabled the Hanover Committee to become one of the state’s most generous committee contributors to Democratic candidates.

    “I am called to serve now because I’m deeply concerned about the direction our country is taking under Trump’s divisive right wing agenda. So many politicians seem hell-bent on reversing all the progressive accomplishments of the last 100 years.

    “I will be a strong voice for: universal healthcare, an excellent education system for every child in every zip code, action on climate change, reduction of gun violence, a rational foreign policy, major investment in infrastructure and campaign finance reform so that government will hear first and foremost the voices of average Americans rather than the biggest donors. America can be a far better place to live, work, raise a family and to enjoy a healthy and prosperous retirement, but only if we embrace a progressive agenda, address our many problems and issues, and learn again to work together for the common good.”


    Retired Generals, Admirals, CIA Leaders and Diplomats Join Helmer’s National Security Advisory Cmte.

    Fairfax, VA – Today, Dan Helmer, Iraq/Afghanistan War Veteran and Democratic candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, announced the expansion of the Helmer for Congress National Security Advisory Committee to include generals and admirals from every branch of the military, senior leaders in the intelligence community, and dedicated diplomats. The committee members have served in every U.S. war since WWII and have more than three centuries of collective service to our nation. Committee members support Dan’s bid for Congress and have also made themselves available to advise Dan on foreign, military, intelligence, and defense policy.

    “As Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, I sought to instill a lifelong dedication to Duty, Honor, Country, in my cadets,” said Lieutenant General (Retired) Dan Christman. “Throughout his life, Dan has dedicated himself to those priorities, and all of us on the National Security Advisory Committee know that those are exactly the values that we need, and that Dan will embody, in Congress.”

    The National Security Advisory Committee underscores Dan’s deep commitment to public service that puts our country before politics. It also highlights his ability to attract the trust of policy-making veterans and to convene broad-based coalitions of thought-leaders and analysts.

    “I am often disappointed by my elected leadership, who seem more effective at partisan bickering than the business of governing,” said Brigadier General (Retired) Jeff Cashman. “We have been engaged in the longest war in American history without a Congressional declaration of war, as our Constitution requires. Our Government has again failed to pass a defense spending bill before the end of the fiscal year, triggering uncounted waste in our defense spending. I do not support “business as usual” in the US House of Representatives and know that candidate Dan Helmer is the smart choice in these times of great insecurity. We need experience and accomplished servant-leaders like Dan Helmer in Washington to set us on the right national security path.”

    Helmer thanked the members for their support and advice.

    “The people of VA-10 deserve a true representative in Washington — not a congressperson who will play politics with our national security. I will stand up to Donald Trump and his recklessness to work towards a smart, strong and secure America,” said Helmer. “The advice and expertise of the members of this committee will be invaluable as we work together in the interest of our Democracy. I am grateful for their trust and their endorsements.”

    The Helmer for Congress National Security Advisory Committee includes:

    General (Retired) Volney Warner, US Army, Former Commander-in-Chief United States Readiness Command, Korea and Vietnam Veteran
    Lieutenant General (Retired) Dan Christman, US Army, Former Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, Vietnam Veteran
    Major General (Retired) Gale Pollock, Former Acting Surgeon General and 22nd Chief of the Army Nurse Corps
    Rear Admiral Mike Smith, former President, Navy Board of Inspection and Survey, Veteran of Desert Storm, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Operation Iraqi Freedom
    Brigadier General (Retired) Steve Cheney, US Marine Corps, Former Inspector General of the Marine Corps
    Brigadier General (Retired) John Douglass, US Air Force, Former Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisitions)
    Brigadier General (retired) Jeff Cashman, resident of VA-10 and former US Air Force and Air National Guard Senior Leader
    Brigadier General (Retired) David McGinnis, New York National Guard, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Vietnam Veteran

    Former Deputy Director of the CIA and former Principal Deputy National Security Adviser, Avril Haines, the first woman to serve in either position
    Former Deputy Director of the CIA, David Cohen

    Ambassador Susan Jacobs, former State Department Special Advisor for Children’s Issues

    Committee Members Announced in Spring of 2017
    Michele Flournoy, fmr. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
    Brad Carson, fmr. Under Secretary of the Army and Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
    Andrew Exum, fmr. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy, Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran
    Charles H. Leven, fmr. CIA case officer and senior official focused on Russia

    The 10th Congressional District is home to tens of thousands of veterans, military families, Department of Defense employees, intelligence professionals, and defense industry employees.

    Dan Helmer is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a Rhodes Scholar, business strategist, and father of two.