I’ve been frustrated by the political endorsement process for a long time. I’ve watched good people who I’ve known to be well-qualified fail to get endorsements; and later discovered that the endorsers never even met with all the candidates. I’ve seen endorsements based on nothing more than friendship. I’ve seen quid pro quo endorsements. I’ve seen endorsements dished out so early in the process before anyone could possibly know who might run (likely, in fact, to handicap anyone else from running).
And because we have so many low-information voters, sometimes these endorsements swing races. Where an endorsement should be ONE PIECE of information about the candidates among many, sometimes it’s the only piece of information for voters.
I usually avoid making endorsements in a primary. Partly because it feels arrogant to tell anyone else who I think they should vote for. And partly because people get so hung up on the political strategy in primaries (“vote for Perriello, he’ll bring in new voters to the General Election from the rural areas, he’ll stir the progressive base; vote for Northam, he’ll appeal to centrist voters!”), and to me that’s never as clear as people seem to think.
That said, I may be the only person in Virginia who has sat down and talked to all three candidates in the firehouse primary in SD33. They all have their strengths, and we can speculate about their voting bases and their odds in a general. But after speaking to all three, I had absolute clarity on who I’d be voting for if I lived in the 33rd. So I thought I would share that.
If I lived in the 33rd, I would want to be represented by Charlotte McConnell. Because she’s incredibly genuine and honest, and she’s dedicated to making Virginia a more just, more compassionate, more safe and healthy place for us to live. I talk to many of our state electeds regularly. I’m honest with myself about their strengths and weaknesses, I don’t always agree with every choice they make, but the ones I will always go to bat for are the ones who are trustworthy, accessible, and willing to listen. Voters of the 33rd, you will have all that and more in Charlotte McConnell.
[Update: I have been asked online to give more detail as to why I think Charlotte is the right candidate. One of the most important reasons is that Charlotte’s work and life experiences provide an important perspective that is needed in the General Assembly (especially in the somewhat stodgier Senate). She has worked with so many real people in her community, facing real problems, and has done the equivalent of constituent services, working to help people find the resources they need to improve their lives. Additionally, she has strong roots in Loudoun, which is the heart of the district and where most of its precincts lie. She knows the challenges faced by Loudounites (?) and thinks about policies through the lens of her community. Also important is that Charlotte understands the urgency of the environmental crisis we’re facing, and the need to act fast and boldly. Honestly, every legislator should be considering this a dire need that must be confronted radically. Lastly, and this reiterates what I’ve said above, I am a sucker for anyone who speaks thoughtfully, but with honesty and transparency, and this is Charlotte.]