Good stuff from the Virginia “Rural GroundGame Coalition”:
Central and Western Virginia Democrats Form Rural GroundGame Coalition
LEXINGTON, VA — As Democrats set records for the number of General Assembly candidates running statewide, a group of 10 campaigns formed an independent coalition to make rural Virginia a priority. To that purpose, they formed Rural GroundGame as a candidate support network and organized field program operated outside the official Democratic apparatus. Rural GroundGame campaigns stretch through central and western Virginia from the North Carolina to West Virginia borders.
Many of the candidates involved in RGG entered politics as active campaign volunteers or issue organizers. They share firsthand knowledge for meeting the unique challenges of campaigning in districts where mountains and mile-long driveways make door-to-door voter outreach difficult. Some have run before. Others have no experience at all. But they’re bound by determination to reach as many voters as possible, win their elections, and represent their districts’ interests in the General Assembly. They’re building the bench in rural Virginia and helping to bridge the urban-rural divide laid bare after the 2016 presidential election.
Christian Worth HD-24: Amherst County, Augusta County, Bath County, Buena Vista, Lexington, Rockbridge County
As a mother, family lawyer, and community volunteer, Christian Worth is running to advocate for the issues affecting the future of families in her district. Her special election race in 2018 was an early rallying point for the group that became RGG. Jennifer Kitchen, Brent Finnegan, Tim Hickey, and David Zilles, now also RGG members, all volunteered for Worth last November and December. Worth’s campaign made unprecedented progress in only weeks through aggressive voter outreach in every precinct.
“Without Rural GroundGame, our campaign could not afford a professionally run and supported voter outreach program. But more than that, I have the support of other rural candidates facing the same challenges. We celebrate the good days and cheer each other on through the hard days, knowing that we are all working for the same outcome—victory so we can represent our districts in ways that make a difference,” Worth said.
Virginia Smith SD-15: Danville, Campbell County, Pittsylvania County, Mecklenburg County, Prince George County, Halifax County, Dinwiddie County, Nottoway County, Charlotte County, Lunenburg County, Brunswick County
Raised in a family of community organizers, Virginia M. Smith holds a lifelong commitment to public service. As a teacher, she advocated for fully funding school budgets, better student-teacher ratios, and more teacher planning time. Now retired, Smith is a children’s book author with accolades from President Barack Obama. Running in a district left unchallenged since 2007, her campaign is designed in part to build the progressive grassroots for the long term.
“In Virginia’s most expansive General Assembly district, RGG has helped us create a path forward to meet voters wherever they are. With this community, we are (re)building a culture of authentic, inclusive participation in our democracy across Virginia’s heartland,” Smith said.
Jennifer Woofter HD-22: Lynchburg, Bedford County, Campbell County, Franklin County
For the last 15 years, Jennifer Woofter has run a successful sustainability consulting business, working with some of the biggest companies in the world to improve their environmental and social impacts. A former foster parent and current Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, Jennifer works closely with local youth in the foster care system. She is also involved in a number of community initiatives on poverty, diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, and arts and culture. Woofter hired her paid staff locally.
“Rural GroundGame is the scaffolding that allows us to deploy an effective field program that takes into account our unique demographics, geography, and issue priorities,” Woofter said. “If we want the Democratic Party to be young and vibrant, and if we want to include women, people of color, and people with families, we need to be working extra hard to be flexible. RGG is nimble in a way that enables greater participation by candidates, staff, and volunteer leaders.”
Campaigns in RGG
Beverly Harrison HD-15, Virginia Smith SD-15, Jennifer Woofter HD-22, David Zilles HD-23, Christian Worth HD-24, Jennifer Kitchen HD-25, Brent Finnegan HD-26, April Moore SD-26, Elizabeth Alcorn HD-58, Tim Hickey HD-59.