Home 2021 Elections Virginia Flip-A-District Friday, Volume IV: Michelle Maldonado, Linwood Blizzard, Katie Sponsler, Marcus...

Virginia Flip-A-District Friday, Volume IV: Michelle Maldonado, Linwood Blizzard, Katie Sponsler, Marcus Simon, Schuyler VanValkenburg, Betsy Carr


From Del. Rip Sullivan and the Blue Dominion PAC:

Flip-A-District Friday: Volume IV

Welcome to the fourth issue of our 2021 Flip a District Series

This week the Democratic majority in the General Assembly voted to provide relief to thousands of Virginians and Virginia businesses who have faced hardship because of the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Speaker, Majority Leader and I issued a statement, pointing out that “the budget stands as one of the strongest indicators of our values, which is why House Democrats prioritized investing American Rescue Plan funds into rebuilding small businesses, accelerating broadband expansion, and enhancing school infrastructure to protect our students.”

Not surprisingly, House Republicans showed their true colors by proposing a budget that would have revoked tenant protections, blocked funds for increased voter access, and limited flexibility in community-based crime reduction efforts.

The candidates in this week’s Flip are dedicated to a more progressive and inclusive Virginia that reflects our Democratic priorities.

   Vote for them. Give to them.  Work hard for them


House District 66                 The War Within - richmondmagazine.com

Meet the candidate: Katie Sponsler 
  • Katie Sponsler is a U.S. Air Force veteran, a former Protection Ranger in the National Park Service and a working mother to two children on the autism spectrum. She has been fighting for what’s right her entire adult life and never gives up. As a committed Democrat with values rooted in her upbringing as the daughter of an autoworker and a church secretary, she is the right candidate to serve the interests of the people of the 66th district.

House District 66:

  •  Redrawn prior to the 2019 elections, Democrats now carry a 6.5-point advantage in the 66th District. The majority of the district is made up of working class families with children who predominately attend public schools. Both President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton won this district handily. Senator Tim Kaine received 58% of the vote in his most recent re-election. Katie’s story and message will resonate with voters here who are ready for strong Democratic leadership.

Her Platform

As  Delegate, Katie Sponsler will fight to:

  • Improve public education for all children in Virginia
  • Reform our police and broken criminal justice system
  • Build a health care system that prioritizes people, not profits
  • Protect our air and water and stop trash imports into Virginia
  • Create good-paying jobs and stand up for
  • the rights of workers
  • With only a 6-seat majority and a historically difficult election cycle coming up, Democrats need to take full advantage of every opportunity to win new seats. Katie Sponsler is a veteran and a former law enforcement officer with blue collar roots who has proven her ability to outperform the average Democrat in the most Republican area of the district.
  • The 66th House of Delegates seat will be one of the most targeted races in Virginia again this year, and Katie Sponsler is the Democrat who can win it. With the longtime incumbent Republican stepping down, voters will be looking for someone who shares their values and has been actively fighting for them. This is the year to flip this seat blue and put a strong Democrat like Katie Sponsler into office.
  • In 2019, combined spending for this seat exceeded $3.5 million, with Republicans spending over $2 million to help keep Kirk Cox in office. We can expect more of the same this year as Republicans have no plausible path to the majority without winning this open seat. To win, our campaign will need to spend well over $1 million by Election Day and at least $75,000 by the primary election June 8.

Contact the campaign : https://www.katiesponsler.com/contact


                     House District 99

May be an image of one or more people and people standing

Meet the candidate: Linwood Blizzard

  • Rev. Linwood Blizzard is currently the Senior Pastor at Macedonia Baptist Church in Heathsville, Virginia and a school teacher (Calculus) in the Northumberland County Public Schools. Linwood has served as an influential community leader in the Northern Neck for years. He believes we must reimagine what’s possible for rural Eastern Virginia, which means fully funding our public schools, creating more jobs in the district’s fishing and agriculture industries, protecting the region’s natural ecosystems, and expanding access to high-speed broadband across the Commonwealth.
  • There is nobody better suited to confront the issues facing the Northern Neck than Rev. Blizzard. On June 8th, he won a 3-way Democratic primary with more than 73% of the vote. It’s tough to drive through a Northern Neck community these days without seeing a few blue Blizzard for Delegate signs, and the level of grassroots enthusiasm in the region has led many to believe an upset is possible for the Democrats in the 99th this year.
House District 99: The 99th House of Delegates district encompasses King George, Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, Westmoreland, and part of Caroline County in Virginia’s Northern Neck. A diverse, mostly rural district, the 99th was represented by a Democrat until 2011, when the current Republican incumbent won what was an open seat at the time. Rev. Blizzard is the first Black Democrat to run for the seat since Reconstruction, and has a unique opportunity to bring out new and infrequent voters for the Democratic ticket in November. For more information on the district please click here

His Opponent

Delegate Margaret Ransone is a far-right, entrenched incumbent who has spent her career fighting against reproductive freedom and public school funding. Ransone recently voted against the House’s bipartisan budget bill, which will provide $4.3 billion in aid to public schools, broadband expansion, police departments, and unemployment. In 2019, Ransone came into the spotlight as one of the leading voices against the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, earning a positive reputation among fellow radicals like Sen. Amanda Chase in the General Assembly.

Contact the Campaignryan@blizzardfordelegate.com

Donate here

                    House District 50                                                   Michelle Maldonado - Ballotpedia

Meet the candidate: Michelle Maldonado 

  • Hi, I’m Michelle. I am not a career politician, but I care deeply about the social, economic and political issues that impact our families and communities across the region.I am a mother and a wife of a U.S. Air Force Veteran and come from a family where all branches of the military are represented. I am a daughter of educators and grand-daughter of the first Black principal in Cape Cod, MA. My grandfather was an instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen and both of my grandmothers were “Rosie Riveters.” I come from a family of service and a family of firsts.  I understand what it means to serve, to work hard and to take care of those around us.I also am a former attorney, turned business leader-turned small business owner. I am a champion for compassionate change and a servant leader. I am many things, but most of all, I am human, just like you. And, like you, my family has been deeply impacted by the pandemic, loss of income and work, virtual learning with kids at home, healthcare costs, ongoing social and racial unrest, and the growing political divide in our nation. I am fueled by deep care, concern, and desire to help heal our communities and bridge the divide among us. I stand in the gap. This includes focusing on civil discourse while growing jobs, ensuring a thriving economy and a living wage, closing the wealth gap, improving transportation and infrastructure, and supporting our teachers and schools, as well as creating equity, inclusion and access for all, just to name a few. While these are big issues, I firmly believe we can achieve them if we work together. Now is the time for us to join efforts and connect across shared interests so that, together, we can discover what is possible when we bridge the divide. Whether I am rolling up my sleeves to help write voter reminder post cards for elections, hosting a life skills program for local high school students or volunteering at school, I know that the change we all want requires that we each take action. “One Community One Commonwealth” is more than just a saying. It is a vision for where we all can go, if we care enough to go together. I have a unique gift of being a bridge-builder; of bringing people together who have differing perspectives and finding common ground with courtesy and respect. I know how to get things done. It’s not politics as usual. It’s humans first and families first as we build a better District 50 together. Because, together, anything is possible.

Fast Facts:

My work:

  • What I Do: Design and provide training and support programs focused on resilience, compassion, emotional intelligence, mindful leadership and performance through an equity lens.
  • Why I Do It: To support the people who serve the people and help create communities, organizations and countries where everyone can thrive.

Who I Do It For: International peace keepers, humanitarian aid workers, law enforcement, teachers and administrators, Congressional staffers, government agency leaders, small business owners and non-profits, as well as teens and young adults.


  • Barnard College at Columbia University
  • The George Washington University School of Law

Bar Admissions: Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Organizational Boards:

  • AwakeTeams, Advisory Board: Organizational focus of tech start-up is to re-imagine leadership by building new skills for sustainable leadership and teams with positive impact in the world.
  • Sojourners, Board of Directors: Organization is a faith-based, non profit focused on racial and social justice, life and peace, and environmental stewardship.
  • Representative Democracy, Brain Trust Member: Organization is a coalition of think tanks, nonpartisan organizations, practitioners and civil rights groups that supports our nation’s traditions of democracy and civic engagement.​

Industry Recognition: Woman of the Year (National Association of Professional Women – Education Sector), Top Corporate Leader (Leadership Excellence/HR.com), Golden Key International Honour Society (Honorary Member), and named among the “12 Powerful Women in the Mindfulness Movement,” (Mindful Magazine).

My issue areas: 

  • An economy that works for everyone
  • Education that reaches every child and supports every teacher
  • Healthcare that’s affordable and accessible to every Virginian
  • Protecting our environment while building a green-collar economy
  • Taking bold action on infrastructure to build for our future

About HD50: to see more information on HD-50 please click here

Contact the campaign: here

Contribute: here 

House District 69

Meet the candidate: Betsy Carr

  • Del. Betsy B. Carr began her political career as a member of the Richmond City School Board but she has dedicated her entire career to serving the community and giving back. She was a founder the Micah Initiative, a group of faith communities involved with tutoring and mentoring in Richmond Schools. After a term on the School Board, she realized she needed to be in the General Assembly to truly make a difference for Richmond children. In her decade as a delegate, Betsy has been a leader in progressive legislation, such as addressing climate change and being the first to introduce “ban the box” legislation so those who have come back from an offense have an opportunity to thrive. Last year she was a leader in criminal justice reform, expanding voting rights and the ERA, among other progressive priorities.
  • Betsy prides herself on being very connected to her community, attending events nonstop and walking neighborhoods whether or not it is campaign season. She knows, understands, and works every single day to represent her constituents and improve their lives.

House District 69: 

  • The 69th district is entirely in the City of Richmond, crossing the James River and encompassing different neighborhoods and communities. It is a very diverse district in terms of age, race, and economic fortune.
One example of why Betsy must win
Her opponent, Sheila Furey, is pro-life, opposed to any gun safety, and wants all Covid restrictions eliminated. She doesn’t even mention the value of masks for vulnerable children in schools.

Contact the campaign:  info@betsycarr.org

Contribute https://secure.actblue.com/donate/betsy-carr-1

House District 53

Meet the candidate: Marcus Simon

Marcus Simon is a lifelong resident of Fairfax County, where he currently resides with his wife Rachel, and two children, Emily and Zachary. Early in his public service career, Marcus served as an officer in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, earning the rank of Army Captain and serving as a prosecutor and also as a part time Special Assistance United States Attorney. He is a co-founder the Law Firm of Leggett, Simon, Freemyers & Lyon and EKKO Title, a real estate settlement, title, and escrow company.

First elected to the House of Delegates in 2013, Marcus currently serves on the following four House Committees: Courts of Justice, General Laws, Rules and as chair of Privileges & Elections. He also chairs three subcommittees and serves as the House Parliamentarian. He’s proud of his work to expand voting rights, to protect our communities with common sense gun violence prevention initiatives, to address the student loan debt crisis, and to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The 53rd House District, which he represents, includes the entire City of Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. 
Sarah White just moved to the 53rd District last fall and has no prior experience or activities related to government service. A political newcomer, Sarah’s social media reflects her willingness to toe the GOP line without offering direct answers or personal statements regarding proposed policies.
Contact the campaign: – info@marcussimon.com

Contribute: here

House District 72

Meet the candidate:  Schuyler VanValkenburg

Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg received a B.A. in History from the University of Richmond in 2004, going on to complete his M.A. in History at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009 while, at the same time, launching his teaching career in Henrico County Public Schools.

He spent five years teaching at Short Pump Middle School before spending the last 11 years at Glen Allen High, where he teaches government and history classes and leads a We the People team.

In 2017, he flipped his district in Henrico County from red to blue and centered his campaign around investment in public education and equal and affordable access to health care. Schuyler lives in Henrico where he is raising his three children. He continues to teach while representing the 72nd District in the Virginia House of Delegates.
About HD72
Before Schuyler flipped the 72nd District in 2017, Henrico County was a decades-long Republican stronghold in the Commonwealth. The district includes parts of both Western and Eastern Henrico County. This cycle Schuyler’s seat was named one of the Republican State Leadership Committee’s top-targeted House Districts.
Just one example of why we must help Schuyler win:
Schuyler is currently the only active K-12 educator serving in the General Assembly. Since being elected in 2017, he has been a leader on public education and voting rights and is most proud of his vote to expand Medicaid which has since helped over 550,000  Virginians access affordable, high-quality healthcare. In 2021, he played a key role in helping pass the Voting Rights Act of Virginia and has championed legislation to significantly expand access to the ballot box. His advocacy has made Virginia a national leader in voting. 
As he seeks reelection, Schuyler is most excited about continuing to fight for historic investments in public education in the Commonwealth. He wants to continue to improve our schools, so every child in Virginia can receive a world-class education. 

Contact the campaign:  https://vanvalkenburg4va.com/.

Contribute here


That’s it for Volume IV  of our Flip-a-District Friday series.  I encourage you to review this email and future editions to find a candidate or candidates whom you would like to support with your time or financial resources.

Project Blue Dominion is committed to supporting Democratic candidates in every corner of the Commonwealth.  Join us. The fight to defend and expand our majority is on




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