If it’s Friday, it must be “Flip-A-District Friday,” courtesy of Del. Rip Sullivan’s Project Blue Dominion. This week, it’s the “Rematch Edition… highlighting five Democratic candidates in key districts — — who are either facing the same opponents they did in 2017, or are running in the same districts against different Republican candidates.” Let’s make sure we elect all these great Democrats on 11/5!
Flip-A-District Friday: Volume XVIII
Welcome to this week’s issue of our “Flip-a-District” series, the “Rematch Edition.” We focus this week on 2019’s rematches and how they differ from the 2017 cycle. We are highlighting five Democratic candidates in key districts — Wendy Gooditis, Hala Ayala, Shelly Simonds, Alex Askew, and Josh Cole — who are either facing the same opponents they did in 2017, or are running in the same districts against different Republican candidates.
Many of the five won by tight margins in 2017 and need our help since this is an “off off” year election. Their repeat opponents are desperate for a win this time around, and are purposely and shamelessly misleading voters about their voting records, and simply making up smears against the Democrats.
If we want to win the majority in the House, we’ll need to go all in to ensure these Democrats win with solid margins this November. With just a week and a half until Election Day, it is up to us to make sure Democrats walk away after November 5th knowing that we gave it our all.
Earlier this week, I sent checks to a number of candidates in tight races, including the five highlighted here. I hope you will join me in our final push to make sure they can fully fund their final push.
If you plan to make a contribution to Project Blue Dominion before November 5th, today is the day to do it. The sooner we can determine how much Project Blue Dominion can assist our Democratic candidates, the better, since our campaigns need to know their budgets as soon as possible to best plan their last week of GOTV efforts. Time is running out….
Wendy has been a terrific Delegate for the 10th District, a very light blue area that has trended more Democratic in recent years. As a Democratic freshman in a competitive district in a Republican-controlled House, it is noteworthy that Wendy successfully had a major bill, HB2720, become law with unanimous support in both chambers. And all three bills on which she was the Chief Copatron – related to child abuse and neglect, and teacher education and licensure – also became law.
Randy Minchew is apparently still bitter about being unseated in 2017 by Wendy, and appears willing to say almost anything to regain what he seems to perceive as his seat. That includes trying to completely whitewash his past and run, as we described in our last Flip-a-District issue, as a Democrat. His record reveals otherwise.
– Minchew refuses to talk about whether he supported Trump in 2016 and dodges questions related to the President. He introduced a controversial bill in 2016, however, that would give the Republican nominee for President a massive advantage by eliminating the popular vote method of determining whether a state’s votes determine how its electoral college votes are allocated. Minchew clearly wanted Trump to win in Virginia even if he wouldn’t admit to it explicitly.
– Minchew consistently opposed Medicaid expansion but now claims to be agnostic about the change, saying only that “it’s become part of our social fabric in the last two years.”
– Minchew was given an “A” rating year after year for his anti-gun safety voting record in the House of Delegates, but now claims to support the effort to pass gun safety measures. According to his now defunct website, however, he bragged that “Randy is an NRA Life Member, gun owner, and sportsman. He will always protect the people¹s right to keep and bear arms in full exercise of the Second Amendment.”
Most egregiously, Minchew recently released a desperate, completely out-of-bounds, and wholly unfounded TV ad falsely accusing Wendy of using taxpayer funds for her personal use.
The latest fundraising numbers for Wendy are on the left, and Minchew’s are on the right. There are a few standout takeaways from these snapshots.
1. Wendy has raised almost four times the number of high dollar donations as Minchew.
2. She has raised nearly 10 times as many small dollar contributions.
3. Minchew is inflating his numbers by loaning himself $150,000.
At the end of the last reporting period Wendy had $369,660 on hand compared to Minchew’s $292,745. Make no mistake — she needs every cent for TV advertising, mailings, and GOTV efforts. She is fundraising hard and campaigning even harder. While this is certainly a competitive race, Wendy is doing a phenomenal job in this rematch with Minchew. Let’s make sure she wins.
Delegate Ayala has been an outspoken leader on several important issues, especially for women’s rights, since she unseated Republican Rich Anderson in 2017. As one of the most vocal proponents in the General Assembly for the ERA, Hala has been tireless in the fight for the issues that matter most to her constituents. She is a consistent advocate for Prince William families and doesn’t shy away from the tough issues.
Hala has repeatedly said that “policies are people,” based on her personal experiences – her father was killed because of gun violence, and she has twice been on Medicaid. Hala understands that laws passed by the General Assembly have real world consequences, and she is running for re-election to continue to ensure that Virginia’s laws best serve the people of the 51st District.
Anderson has been running to take back this seat since the day after he lost it, and has been frequently seen around the District for the last two years wearing his “Delegate Rich Anderson” name tag. He is trying for a comeback, though in debates he is coy about what his agenda would be were he to be elected. He claimed in one recent debate that he is now “more receptive” to increasing background checks for firearms than in the past “because of the recent incidents.” But there were plenty of “incidents” — too many “incidents” — while he was in office. What has changed? Just that he’ll say anything to get elected. By the way, the article covering the event noted that Anderson “stopped short of saying exactly what gun laws he would support.” Not surprising.
Anderson’s voting record tells a different story than his current disingenuous gestures toward action on gun safety. As a Delegate he voted to repeal the one-handgun-per-month limit, make it easier to carry a concealed weapon, and block state agencies from banning firearms in government office buildings.
Actions speak louder than words, and voters will not be fooled by Anderson’s faux change of heart.
The latest fundraising numbers for Hala are on the left, with Anderson’s on the right. As you can see Hala is running a truly grassroots campaign with an astounding 3,117 total individual contributions compared to Anderson’s 702.
Hala also had $444,978 in the bank compared to Anderson’s $76,311. Hala’s cash on hand will be critical to ensuring she can effectively get out the vote in the 51st District.
Shelly Simonds is facing David Yancey for a second time. In 2017, the world watched as she endured two nail-biting recounts, and then the Department of Elections decided to choose the winner by drawing a name from a bowl. Unfortunately the name selected was not the one we hoped for, but Shelly has been campaigning hard since then and is ready to win on November 5.
Yancey has tried desperately to frame himself as a moderate during his time in the General Assembly, but he only breaks with his party after he is assured by GOP leadership that his vote won’t make a difference. For example, he was the only Republican to vote for the ERA, but did so only because he knew in advance that his vote wouldn’t be enough to put the measure over the top. He also consistently opposed Medicaid expansion, but finally voted for it — knowing this rematch was looming — only after it was clear that key members of Republican leadership would allow him to support the initiative.
In fact, Yancey voted 94 percent with Republican leadership on the floor during this year’s session — hardly making him a moderate.
– He voted with House GOP leadership when they voted to adjourn the Special Session on gun safety this summer without having considered or voted on any bills.
– He was the key vote to kill a bill requiring health insurance plans to cover the costs of reproductive health services.
– He was the deciding vote to make it easier for non-Virginia residents to acquire concealed carry permits.
The 94th District deserves a reliable, consistent representative in Richmond whose votes aren’t based on the Republican leadership’s whims. The 94th needs Shelly SImonds.
The latest fundraising numbers for Shelly are on the left and Yancey’s are on the right. There are a few key takeaways:
1. Shelly began last year with a significant cash disadvantage, but as of the end of the last reporting period had $414,922 on hand compared to Yancey’s $239,052.
2. She has received three times the number of contributions over $100 than Yancey. That’s truly remarkable for a challenger to an incumbent Delegate.
3. Shelly has nearly 200 times the number of small dollar contributions than Yancey.
That’s a sign of a true grassroots campaign. Let’s help her finish the job.
Josh is a phenomenal candidate and will make a fantastic Delegate for the 28th District. He is deeply involved in his community, volunteers on a number of significant local councils and boards, and even served as Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler’s Chief of Staff during session so that he can be even better prepared after he is elected to hit the ground running.
Josh’s loss in 2017 was heartbreaking. He lost by just 82 votes to Republican Bob Thomas, but the most frustrating part of the vote count was discovering that numerous voters were given the wrong ballot. According to several news sources:
“The Department of Elections conclusions were developed by manually checking addresses of voters, which identified at least 384 registered voters wrongly assigned to either the 28th or 88th district, then comparing those names against voter rolls from Nov. 7.
Of the 384 voters, 110 were wrongly assigned to the 88th District but should be in the 28th; 207 were wrongly assigned to the 28th but should be in the 88th; and 67 were wrongly assigned to the 28th but should be in a third neighboring district, the 2nd.
The analysis concludes 125 voters incorrectly voted in the 28th District, where the State Board of Elections is due to certify results Monday that show Republican Bob Thomas leading Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes.”
Unfortunately we cannot possibly know who should have actually won in the 28th District had ballots been properly assigned. But Josh is resilient and determined, and is back again to fight for the 28th District.
This is not technically a rematch, since Josh is facing off against extremist Paul Milde, who beat incumbent Bob Thomas in June’s Republican primary. Milde’s primary challenge was based almost entirely on Thomas’ sin of voting for Medicaid expansion. Milde is as conservative as it gets, and unlike many other Republicans featured above, he is doubling down on his GOP bona fides despite the fact that the 28th has been trending more Democratic since the 2016 election.
We must make sure Josh wins. Milde strongly opposes all gun safety laws, wants to repeal Medicaid expansion, makes anti-semetic jokes about concentration camps on social media, and consistently lies about his criminal history. Apparently “one of Milde’s key strategies in the primary…was to be ‘more Trump than Trump.'” Given how frequently Milde sends financial contributions to President Trump’s reelection campaign, it’s not surprising that Milde is hoping to position himself as Virginia’s own mini-Donald Trump.
Josh will be an excellent Delegate for the 28th District. Milde would just be another inflexible, extreme Republican who is out of touch with Virginia voters.
The latest fundraising numbers for Josh are on the left and Milde’s are on the right.
Besides Josh’s major fundraising advantage, what’s particularly notable is how many contributions Josh has pulled in compared to Milde. Also take a look at the $297,481 loan that Milde gave himself. It’s never a good sign when over half of a candidate’s fundraising comes from self-funding.
In another compelling piece of data, Josh had $286,191 on hand, while Milde had just $21,127. Josh is well-positioned to execute a strong and extensive GOTV plan during this last week and a half of the campaign. Let’s help make sure he can.
Alex is an exciting new candidate, running to replace incumbent Democratic Delegate Cheryl Turpin, who is leaving the House to run (and win!) in the 7th Senate District contest. While this is Alex’s first time running for Delegate, he previously served as Delegate Jay Jones’ Legislative Aide. Alex understands what it takes to be a great representative for constituents as well as the nuances of the legislative and political processes.
In another quasi-rematch, Alex is facing former Delegate Rocky Holcomb, who served less than a year in the House of Delegates. Holcomb was elected in a January 2017 special election to replace Scott Taylor, who was elected to the U.S. Congress in November 2016. Holcomb went on to lose in November 2017 to Cheryl Turpin, but is trying to mount a comeback this year.
Given his short time in the General Assembly, Holcomb’s voting record is limited. It doesn’t help that his website is chock full of platitudes that don’t actually explain any policy preferences. Holcomb voted with GOP leadership 94 percent of the time in 2017, however, including on highly partisan votes like:
– A bill to strip the Governor of the ability to fill U.S. Senate vacancies.
– A bill to allow firearms in emergency shelters.
– A bill to allow people to carry concealed switchblades.
– A bill to make voter ID laws even stricter.
– An anti-LGBT bill regarding restrictions on same-sex marriage.
Holcomb also voted against Medicaid expansion and against a bill to provide more health care coverage protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. He does not deserve a second chance in the General Assembly just to vote the GOP party line again.
The latest fundraising numbers for Alex are on the left, and Holcomb’s are on the right.
Alex’s numbers are extremely impressive. Not only did he start fundraising with a cash and time disadvantage (Delegate Turpin did not announce that she was running for Senate until the end of March, whereas Holcomb announced his bid for the seat in January), he has surpassed the former Delegate on almost every front.
Alex has 6 1/2 times the number of high dollar donors and a whopping 32 times as many low dollar contributors as Holcomb. Alex also had $254,911 on hand compared to Holcomb’s $80,792.
Alex would be a great addition to the Democratic Caucus and would be a step forward for the House instead of Holcomb, who would represent a major step backward. Let’s help Alex move us forward.
That’s it for Volume XVIII. I encourage you to review this email and past editions to find a candidate or candidates whom you would like to support with your time or financial resources. It’s now or never.