by Michelle Moffit
It should come as no surprise to Virginia Democrats that our image in rural Virginia is hurting. Year after year, it has seemed that we’ve run candidates as sacrificial lambs, destined to receive a crushing loss despite outworking and outraising their Republican opponents (see Anthony Flaccavento this past year as an example). We regroup, ask ourselves what we could have done differently, and repeat the same process, oddly expecting different results, and the same thing happens again. Only fellow Southwest Virginians can relate to how demoralizing it is to experience this first-hand, especially while the rest of the state ushers in a new era of Democratic leadership.
So how do we start to make progress in rural Virginia when not two decades ago Virginia’s coal counties were voting in support of Al Gore while Northern Virginia counties went for Bush? We start local.
The newest project in Southwest Virginia was an idea born by Delegate Chris Hurst’s former manager, Andrew Whitley, and myself, Hurst’s field director in 2017, during the offseason. Northern Virginia Democrats might be surprised to know that the cost of local races in Southwest Virginia rarely exceeds $3,000. Imagine if these races were professionalized and mostly novice, first-time candidates got the support and the funding they need and deserve.
(Cue the entrance of Vote Local – a PAC designed to do just that.)
Vote Local’s mission statement for the 2019 cycle is simple: flip two Republican-held seats on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors. With quality candidates who have local roots and strong resumes and with districts primed to flip, we feel this is the blueprint to taking back rural Virginia for Democrats.
More specifically, we’re hoping to raise $70,000. Injecting $35,000 worth of mail, professional staff, and digital support into these two races where seldom $5,000 has been raised previously significantly increases the likelihood of success, especially in an environment where Board of Supervisors candidates are largely left on their own.
Will the 9th be flipped overnight? No. But the impact of flipping these local chambers will resonate throughout the District. This means funding for teacher raises, support for school repairs and construction, and more forward thinking, progressive policies for counties that desperately need a vision.
Our goal is not just to be successful this cycle but to take our vision to the rest of the Commonwealth where a similar dynamic exists.
What can you do? How can you help us begin the long process of winning back rural Virginia? Support us HERE. With $17,000 so far of our needed $70,000 we’re not too far away from our goal!
I know you’ve heard the cliché before, “this is how we take back Appalachia.” But as a lifelong resident of Southwest Virginia and a principal architect of Chris Hurst’s insurgent win over a popular three-term moderate Republican incumbent, I know this is how we make the difference. This is the long term-strategy to take back the 9th and 6th congressional districts. So, as a bleeding-heart liberal in the heart of Appalachia, I’m asking you to dig deep and consider supporting a cause that, if successful, would have huge impacts on the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Southwest Virginians.