Big breaking news…just in from the Elizabeth Guzman for Lt. Governor campaign. This comes after Guzman – who was towards the more progressive end of the spectrum in this field, saying “Bernie Sanders’ message of #NotMeUs inspired me to run for office” – raised just over $117k in 1Q2021, putting her towards the bottom of the seven Democratic candidates (Del. Sam Rasoul, Del. Mark Levine, Norfolk Councilwoman Andria McClellan, Del. Hala Ayala, Sean Perryman, Xavier Warren) in terms of fundraising in the LG’s race. Also note that Guzman faces a tough primary challenge for her House of Delegates seat from Democrat Rod Hall, as well as Democrats Idris O’Connor and Kara Pitek. So clearly (including in her statement, below) she was thinking that it makes sense to focus on holding her House of Delegates seat rather than seek a somewhat longshot LG nomination. Makes sense, really…and maybe something for other statewide candidates who are facing challenges for their House of Delegates seats (e.g., Del. Mark Levine, Del. Lee Carter) might be thinking about as well? Anyway, with that, there are now six candidates for the Democratic LG nomination, with early voting set to start in just six days. Stay tuned!
P.S. Who might this help? Hard to say exactly, but now there’s just one candidate for LG from Prince William County, also just two women (vs. four men) left in the field, etc.
Delegate Elizabeth Guzman Withdraws from Lt. Governor Race
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — Delegate Elizabeth Guzman – a social worker, public administrator, and progressive who would have been the first woman and first Latina to serve as lieutenant governor of Virginia – today released the following statement announcing her withdrawal from the race to focus on her House of Delegates campaign:
“After assessing the campaign finance reports that posted yesterday, I have made the difficult decision to suspend our historic campaign and put all our resources into defending the House of Delegates seat. From the bottom of my heart, I am so profoundly grateful to all the people who believed in me and supported me, who gave your time and your money and your voices to our efforts. The energy I felt on the trail was electrifying, and my faith in the grassroots has never been greater. I did not know how I would be received outside my district, but Virginia Democrats in every corner of the Commonwealth were absolutely ready to elect an immigrant with an accent to statewide office.
“But it takes money to reach voters, and the limited time we had to fundraise coupled with the fact that I do not have the capacity to self-fund this primary put us at a stark disadvantage. If my political future were the only thing at stake, I would roll the dice and hope for the best, as I think our campaign had a lot going for us and that there are many variables in a 7-person race.
“But the communities I represent need my voice in the General Assembly. I am a social worker, a union sister, a Latina, an immigrant, and an unapologetic progressive. Our Democratic trifecta has made great strides, and I’m proud of all we have done and am grateful for their support in helping me pass 24 pieces of progressive legislation into law. But we have so far failed to meaningfully deliver on what should be our core defining value: economic justice and workers’ rights. We have majorities in both chambers but have so far failed to pass legislation that would ensure every worker has the right to paid sick days and a living wage. We have failed so far to pass legislation to ensure our farm workers are even paid the minimum wage. We have failed so far to pass legislation that would make Virginia the 50th state in which workers’ comp covers repetitive motion injuries. And we have failed so far to pass legislation that would empower workers to form strong unions by repealing so-called ‘right to work.’
“Furthermore, workers’ rights are inextricably linked to racial and gender justice. We cannot say that Black Lives Matter without saying that Black Livelihoods Matter, too. Minimum wage jobs are disproportionately held by women and people of color, many of whom have propelled us through this pandemic by preparing our food and sanitizing our buildings and caring for our children. Yet it is Black and Latinx people who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We have gotten sick at higher rates, we have been hospitalized at higher rates, and we have died at higher rates. Nearly 1 in 10 people in Virginia are Latinx, yet the Department of Health relied on Google Translate to convey critical information about the vaccine to our community – even after reporting from the Richmond Times-Dispatch revealed that the Spanish version of the state’s website read ‘the vaccine is not necessary’ for nearly a month.
“We have got to stop silo-ing the greatest challenges of our time. Every piece of legislation has a fiscal impact statement attached to it. In the next session, I will introduce a bill to require that every piece of legislation have a racial justice impact statement attached to it, as well.
“I saw a video last week of Virginia police threatening a Black and Latino Army officer with his hands in the air, and I knew we had failed him by failing to end qualified immunity. I woke up yesterday morning, on the 14th anniversary of the Virginia Tech Massacre, to a mass shooting in Indiana, knowing it could have just as easily been Virginia, where we have so far failed to pass an assault weapons ban. And I fell asleep last night, as I did the night before, thinking about the hands of my 13-year-old Brown son in the air.
“Carlos was 9 years old when Hillary lost. He told me we had to move to my native country of Peru because Donald Trump didn’t like people who spoke Spanish. I ran for office to show him that America is his home and Guzman is an American name, and it is for him and my three daughters and for all the people who look like us and for all the workers and women and immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community and the disAbility community and the Asian community and the Muslim community and the Black community and indigenous communities and the Jewish community and the Sikh community and every community who feels unseen and unheard and unrepresented or vulnerable to violent crimes of hate that I will fight like hell to channel your voice loud and clear into both chambers of the General Assembly and all the way to the Governor’s Mansion, even if I have to bring a megaphone.
“Representation matters, and I will continue to fight to make Virginia a place where diversity is embraced and never disrespected. I want little girls who look like me to know that they can one day be a governor or lieutenant governor or senator or delegate – but women are under-represented in the state Senate. It is no coincidence that legislation that would empower women – from bills guaranteeing paid sick days to raising the minimum wage to protecting us from sexual harassment – is watered down or killed in the state Senate. In 2017, our freshman class in the House of Delegates showed that working moms can run for office, and it was the women in the House who have led the charge to pass progressive bills to help working families. Nearly 90 percent of Virginians support a comprehensive paid sick days policy, yet even in a pandemic, we could not pass such a bill. If we want a Senate who reflects and respects the wishes of their constituents, then we must make it easier for working people like us to afford public service by making the job of a legislator full-time.
“And for all those I met on this journey from rural Virginia, thank you! I want you to know that I will be your voice in Richmond, too. We will have broadband access for all before 2025 and we must rethink the way we set school funding. I heard you and I will deliver.
“And as long as I have eyes on this statement today, I want to elevate the voices of the Brown Grove community in Hanover County and the Friends of Buckingham in Buckingham County. Both are facing grave environmental justice fights. Brown Grove is a 150-year-old community founded by freedpeople. They have faced multiple encroachments over the years as the result of environmental racism, and are now battling a proposed Wegmans distribution center that could destroy their community forever. Meanwhile, a Canadian company has found gold in Buckingham County, where the threat of an open pit mine looms. I urge anyone with time or money or influence or a platform to donate your resources to those causes. Our team would be happy to connect you with the communities who are doing the work on the ground.
“Finally, to my husband, Carlos: I love you so much. You married a single mother and gave my daughter a real dad. When no one would hire me when I was pregnant, you told me to go back to school to get a master’s degree so that I could continue to advance my career and come back stronger than ever after our baby was born. You told me to run for House of Delegates and Lieutenant Governor because you believed that no one could do a better job of fighting for our community and our children’s future than me. I often tell women who are thinking about running for office, ‘Don’t wait for someone to ask you, because no one asked me.’ But that’s not true, because you did, and you have been rooting for me every step of the way.
“And to my mother, Gregoria, who lives with us, thank you so much for following me to America and for helping to care for my children so that I could fight for their future and the future of all Virginia’s kids. I would not have been able to balance my full-time job with my job as a legislator and my children’s virtual schooling and a statewide campaign without your support and the peace of mind that came with knowing that my children were well-cared for. But we must radically re-think and re-structure our society to provide more support to women and working families who don’t have an abuela like you at home.
“I was a teen mom who came to this country with $300 and a little girl. I have never in my life taken anything for granted, and I will not take the support of my constituents in the 31st District for granted now. I value public service and I hope you trust me to continue to be your delegate. I will spend every day until polls close on June 8 working to earn your votes.
“There are so many people I still need to call. I am so sorry if this statement is how you heard the news, but please know I am so grateful for you and will reach out as soon as I can to as many people as I can. Bernie Sanders’ message of #NotMeUs inspired me to run for office. This campaign was never about me, it was always about us. Gracias y si, se puede, para siempre y juntos.”