Home 2019 Elections Steyer Power Played a Big Role in Virginia’s Huge 2017 Democratic Victories

Steyer Power Played a Big Role in Virginia’s Huge 2017 Democratic Victories


Today’s stunning news — an electoral recount leading to a Democratic Party one seat victory in the last House of Delegates’ race — means that the nearly unthinkable has become reality: the incredibly GOP friendly gerrymandered House of Delegates has gone from 66 Republican and 34 Democratic Party members to a 50/50 split.

Truth is that “victory has many parents” … and there is truth that this is the case with the Virginia elections. Amid the shock and outrage over the Trump kakistocracy, Virginians awoke to the challenge. There were a myriad of really impressive grassroots efforts, knocking on doors and otherwise working to motivate Virginians to get to the polls to elect Democratic party candidates. There were the candidates — a good number of truly impressive House of Delegates candidates who stood up to be counted and worked their hearts out, even in the darkest Red districts.

But Virginia and Virginians didn’t do this alone.  We had help. We had both formal organizations and grass-roots efforts working in support of the state-wide candidates and HoD candidates: sending money, sending postcards, making phone calls, and, many, making trips to Virginia to knock on doors. There are a myriad of organizations that merit a thank you from Virginians for helping tip our House of Delegates toward sanity.

With today’s election results, however, one group seems to merit a special thank you: Tom Steyer’s NextGen America.  NextGen, sort of like the name implied, focused on registering and getting out the vote of the “Next Generation” of Virginia’s leaders: those at college campuses around the Commonwealth. Within that focus, NextGen delivered enough additional voters to — with today’s results — provide more than the margin of victory in three districts.

From a 9 Nov NextGen after the election release:

In addition to the top of the ticket, young voters are responsible for some of the down-ballot victories in the House of Delegates last night. Just a couple examples:

● In Southwest Virginia, Chris Hurst defeated Del. Joseph Yost by about 2,000 votes in HD12. NextGen organizers at Radford University and Virginia Tech registered 3,580 student voters in this district, almost double the margin of victory. Safe to say, students propelled Del.-Elect Hurst to victory.

● In Richmond’s HD68, Dawn Adams won a major upset in GOP-leaning district, eking out a victory by just over 100 votes and becoming the first out lesbian elected to the House of Delegates. NextGen registered 417 students at the University of Richmond in this district. NextGen also targeted 6,325 young people in the district with digital ads to motivate them to vote for progressives, as well as three waves of direct mail.

And, now, the case to be used for years to come when telling your child and the voter behind the door you’re about to knock on that “every vote counts”

The 94th House of Delegates has flipped from R to D almost certainly because of increased youth voting.

While Donald Trump can claim much of the credit for Democrats’ victories in Virginia this year, NextGen played a role in the dramatic growth in youth turnout: from 17% in 2009’s statewide election to 34% in 2017.

For helping move Richmond toward sanity, the Commonwealth owes a thanks to the motivated young voters and to NextGen America for helping motivate them.


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