June 11th is the deadline to jump into a State Senator or Delegate race. While it is too late for a candidate to be included in a Democratic primary, one can still be nominated by the local nominating committee by a Caucus or convention. There are currently 5 Senate races with no Democrat running, and 19 House races.
I’m not going to lie, many of these aren’t easy races, or we’d probably already have multiple Democrats vying to be the nominee. But we really NEED to find people to run in these districts anyway. Here are the reasons why:
- We most definitely can’t win where we don’t even compete. Of the ten 2017 House of Delegate races where Democrats didn’t contest the incumbent, we lost 100%!! And there were also races people considered unwinnable, where Democrats picked up seats. Funny things happen in elections sometimes, but we can’t be in a position to take advantage of them if we don’t even have a candidate. Just look at HD76, where Republican Delegate Chris Jones is running unopposed in a district that should be expected to be a likely Democratic pick-up after the Court-ordered redistricting!
- Regularly running candidates (and supporting candidates) in red districts helps to grow and build the party there. The doors a candidate knocked in 2017, the conversations had, and the voter information recorded all blaze a trail for the next candidate, and the next. Volunteers meet other local volunteers and become advocates as a group, and support Democrats in local races.
- Lastly, in many cases, the unchallenged incumbent Republican already has a hefty war chest. Once he or she knows there won’t be a challenger, that frees up a lot of money to sent to other campaigns. The five unchallenged Republican State Senators have almost $770,000 in their campaign accounts. The unchallenged incumbent Republican Delegates have $1.4 million–and that’s AFTER the $50,000 that unchallenged Delegate Chris Jones sent to Republican incumbent Bob Thomas (HD28) to help him try to fend off Joshua Cole’s challenge.
It’s so important that we challenge everywhere. If you live in a district with a Republican incumbent who’s running unchallenged, start asking around. Ask people on the school board, on the city council, people who are business leaders in your community, people who are activists, in your local Indivisible group. If someone is thinking about running, offer your support to help them start a campaign, and to help them run. Reach out to the local party and local activist groups for support. Heck, reach out to ME, and I’ll rally some support!