Home 2019 Elections FWIW Virginia: The Climate Crisis; Also, Spotlight on SD 12 – Debra Rodman...

FWIW Virginia: The Climate Crisis; Also, Spotlight on SD 12 – Debra Rodman (D) v. Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R) 

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From FWIW Virginia/ACRONYM:

Climate change is a driving issue for Democrats across the country, with 72% of Democratic voters calling it a personally “very important” issue in a new CBS News poll, second only to healthcare. Climate change also hits close to home for many Virginians, as hotter summers lead to more heat-related illnesses and death and as coastal flooding worsens in low-lying areas like Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

As the climate crisis worsens, how are Democrats and Republicans messaging around environmental issues? And are climate-focused outside groups spending on digital in Virginia? We take a look in this week’s edition of FWIW Virginia.

2019 by the numbers

Here’s how Facebook spending by Republican and Democratic party committees and candidates in the most competitive districts compare since the primary election.

Here are the top ten biggest Facebook spenders in Virginia from September 8-14:

Days left until the general election: 47

Deep Dive: 🌎 The Climate Crisis 🔥

NextGen America, a progressive organization focused on turning out young voters across the country, has started running turnout ads in recent weeks that primarily target these voters.

Their ad campaigns link to a pledge-to-vote form, where voters fill out their contact information to get ballot guides, GOTV messages, and volunteer opportunities with NextGen’s on-the-ground organizing staff in Virginia.

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters PAC went up with a series of ads this week supporting Democratic State Senate candidates Ghazala Hashmi (SD-10) and Debra Rodman (SD-12) for standing up to corporate polluters.

   

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters PAC went up with a series of ads this week supporting Democratic State Senate candidates Ghazala Hashmi (SD-10) and Debra Rodman (SD-12) for standing up to corporate polluters.

Unsurprisingly, we haven’t seen any climate-focused organizations running any digital ads supporting Republicans. However, in a small handful of races, Republicans are using environmental issues to persuade swing voters. In SD 7, a Virginia Beach-based district, Republican candidate Jen Kiggans went up with an ad this week about protecting the environment and her district’s waterways.

On the Democratic side, most candidates with robust digital programs have featured climate change in their messaging. Del. Cheryl Turpin, the Democratic candidate in SD 7, ran ads about her experience teaching AP Environmental Science and her work to protect the environment as delegate. Democratic candidate Larry Barnett (HD-27) launched an ad earlier this week featuring him at a cleanup event at the James River, using the opportunity to talk about the importance of preserving local waterways.

   

Spotlight: SD 12 – Debra Rodman (D) v. Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R) 

For our district spotlight this week, we’re taking a look at SD 12, where Democrat Debra Rodman is taking on incumbent GOP Senator Siobhan Dunnavant.


Source: Virginia Public Access Project

SD 12 is a Richmond-based district that stretches across Henrico and Hanover Counties. The district is historically Republican, voting 48-40 for Cuccinelli in 2013, 53-44 for Gillespie in 2014, and first electing Dunnavant with 57% of the vote in 2015.

SD 12 has shifted towards Democrats in the Trump era though, narrowly voting for Clinton 48-46 in 2016, for Northam 52-47 in 2017, and for Kaine 57-41 in 2018.

Dunnavant’s campaign has spent more on Facebook than every other Republican State Senate campaign except for Sen. Glen Sturtevant (SD-10). Her campaign’s ads have focused on creating a moderate profile, trying to separate Dunnavant from Republicans like Corey Stewart. Currently, her active ads feature her work to improve the education system and highlight her diverse view of the Republican Party.

Rodman’s digital program has focused primarily on email acquisition, running petition ads around ratifying the ERA and taking on the gun lobby.

Thanks for reading and make sure to sign up for weekly updatesfollow us on Twitter and email us with ideas of what you’d like us to dive into next.

– The team at ACRONYM

P.S. Here’s a sign-up link for our national FWIW newsletter and you can find today’s issue here.