According to a survey conducted by Activate Virginia, only 25.77% of Virginia House Democratic candidates (including incumbents) accept campaign contributions from Dominion Energy. Another 15.46% have positions on this issue that are currently “unknown,” for whatever reason (note: they absolutely should state publicly where they are on this, for or against taking Dominion’s money). And a whopping 58.76% of Virginia House Democratic incumbents and candidates have stated that they will NOT take money from Dominion Energy (or Appalachian Power, which is also heavily fossil-fuel-powered).
As someone who’s been fighting Dominion Energy for years, and also asking candidates whether they’ll refuse to take Dominion’s money since at least 2009, those numbers are truly astounding. Consider that just a few years ago, this issue was barely even on the radar screen. So kudos to all the activists, including Activate Virginia founder Josh Stanfield – and also to folks like Michael Bills (who funds the group Clean Virginia, whose goal is to “Advance clean governance, clean energy, and clean competition by fighting monopoly utility corruption in Virginia politics”) and has pledged “his own money to fund candidates who swear off donations from Dominion Energy” — who have pushed Virginia House Democrats away from Dirty Dominion Dollars, and towards a focus on figuring out how to move rapidly to a clean energy economy.
With that, who are the Virginia Democratic House of Delegates candidates and incumbents who still accept Dirty (both environmentally and in terms of political corruption) Dominion Dollars? As it turns out, ZERO Virginia House Democratic candidates explicitly say that they will accept Dominion’s money. So the following list is ALL incumbents – 26 out of the 49 Virginia House Democratic caucus members.
- Del. David Reid (HD32)
- Del. Kathleen Murphy (HD34)
- Del. Ken Plum (HD36)
- Del. David Bulova (HD37) – UPDATE: Del. Bulova emailed me this afternoon to say, “I informed Dominion/APCO early last year that I would no longer be personally accepting money from them…I didn’t take anything from them in 2018, and I don’t plan to in the future as well. However, I also don’t believe in taking pledges — so this is just something I decided to do because I thought it was right.”
- Del. Vivian Watts (HD39)
- Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (HD41)
- Del. Mark Sickles (HD43)
- Del. Charniele Herring (HD46)
- Del. Luke Torian (HD52)
- Del. Marcus Simon (HD53)
- Del. Lashrecse Aird (HD63)
- Del. Karrie Delaney (HD67)
- Del. Betsy Carr (HD69)
- Del. Delores McQuinn (HD70)
- Del. Jeff Bourne (HD71)
- Del. Lamont Bagby (HD74)
- Del. Roslyn Tyler (HD75)
- Del. Cliff Hayes (HD77)
- Del. Steve Heretick (HD79)
- Del. Matthew James (HD80)
- Del. John Bell (HD87) [UPDATE: Del. Bell emailed me, “FYI, I have taken the Clean VA pledge and have told Dominion/APCO that I won’t accept donations from them and haven’t done so since 2017 (a total of 2 lifetime donations totaling $1K). I also introduced a bill this year which of course the republicans killed that would prohibit all contributions from publicly regulated monopolies.”]
- Del. Jay Jones (HD89)
- Del. Joe Lindsey (HD90)
- Del. Jeion Ward (HD92)
- Del. Mike Mullin (HD93)
- Del. Cia Price (HD95)
Does the fact that these folks take money from Dominion impact their voting and/or positions on things like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, you ask? Well, put it this way: if you look at my list of who supports/opposes the pipelines, you’ll see a *lot* of overlap with the names listed above (e.g., Delegates Reid, Delaney, Heretic, James, Lindsey, Ward, and Price support one or both pipelines, while several others – Delegates Bagby, Filler-Corn, Sickles, Herring, Watts, Jones, Aird, Torian, McQuinn, Carr, Mullin, Tyler, Bourne – are listed as unclear/neutral). Also note that three House patrons of the “Dominion Bill” (Delegates Bagby, Lindsey and Plum) continue to take Dominion $$$. So…yeah, there does seem to be a strong correlation here, the only question being whether it’s also causation.
I’m not sure exactly what to make of the VA House Dem candidates who won’t say and/or haven’t said what their positions are on this issue. Those folks include: Jennifer Woofter (HD22), Irina Khanin (HD29), Ann Ridgeway (HD30), Mark Wolfe (HD50), Rodney Willett (HD73), Len Myers (HD81), Alex Askew (HD85), Hassan Ahmad (HD87), Kecia Evans (HD88), Martha Mugler (HD91), Shelly Simonds (HD94), Mark Downey (HD96), Francis Edwards (HD99), Phil Hernandez (HD100). For whatever reason, we don’t know where these folks stand on whether or not to take Dominion $$$, but I’d argue that Democratic voters have the right to know this information, before they go to the polls on June 11.
Finally, thanks to all the candidates and incumbents who have pledged not to take money from Dominion Energy. Note that a large majority of candidates are refusing to take this money, while among incumbents, the “Class of 2017” “Blue Wave” folks are particularly strong on this issue, with Delegates Jennifer Carroll-Foy (HD2), Wendy Gooditis (HD10), Chris Hurst (HD12), Danica Roem (HD13), Kelly Fowler (HD21), Elizabeth Guzman (HD31), Kathy Tran (HD42), Lee Carter (HD50), Hala Ayala (HD51), Dawn Adams (HD68), and Schuyler VanValkenburg (HD72) all taking the pledge. Also note that “Class of 2017” Delegates Cheryl Turpin (HD85) and Debra Rodman (HD73), both of whom are now running for State Senate, also have taken the pledge, as has newly elected Del. Ibraheem Samirah (HD86). And thanks to incumbent, non-“Class of 2017” Delegates Sam Rasoul (HD11), Mark Keam (HD35), Kaye Kory (HD38), Paul Krizek (HD44), Mark Levine (HD45), Patrick Hope (HD47), Rip Sullivan (HD48), Alfonso Lopez (HD49) for also ditching Dirty Dominion Dollars. Nice job by all of these folks. And, of course, I encourage everyone else to join them.
P.S. I’m not sure if Josh Stanfield has finished up the State Senate candidates list, but as of right now, it looks like most if not all Senate Democratic Caucus members continue to accept Dominion money. The contrast with the House of Delegates Democrats is stark; why is that?