With all the usual caveats for straw polls, the “big one” for Virginia Democrats every year is definitely Rep. Gerry Connolly’s big St. Patrick’s Day fete. In a normal governor’s election year, there could easily be 1,000 or more Democrats packed in a room to drink green beer, eat corned beef and cabbage, and vote in this legendary straw poll. But this year, due to the pandemic, of course it couldn’t be done that way. So…it was virtual, on Zoom (naturally), with several hundred participants (IIRC, Rep. Connolly said 700 or so RSVPed). As for how predictive this straw poll is, Rep. Connolly argued that “I think in many ways, historically, our straw poll has been, often, a predictor of ultimate results in the both the Democratic primary and the general election.” Anyway…with that, see below for the straw poll results and candidate speeches (note: some of the videos are still uploading as of 9:34 pm…I’ll add them when they’re finished).
- Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, after stating that he didn’t like straw polls and banned them when he was DNC Chair, won Rep. Connolly’s straw poll with 40% of the vote. The runner-up was State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, with 30%; followed by former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy with 20%; Del. Lee Carter with 6%; and finally Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax with 4%.
- Del. Sam Rasoul won the straw poll for Lt. Governor, with 33% of the vote; Del. Elizabeth Guzman was in second place, at 18%; Sean Perryman was next at 15%; Del. Hala Ayala and Norfolk City Councilwoman Andria McClellan each received 14% of the vote; Del. Mark Levine got 8%; Xavier Warren 2%; and Paul Goldman 0.5%.
- AG Mark Herring won the straw poll for Attorney General, with 75%, with Del. Jay Jones at 25%.