Home 2022 Elections Grading VA’s Leading Democratic, Republican U.S. House Candidates, Nominees on Arguably the...

Grading VA’s Leading Democratic, Republican U.S. House Candidates, Nominees on Arguably the Top Two Issues Facing Us: Democracy and the Climate Crisis

Almost all the Republicans are horrendous, including VA10 nominee Hung Cao, who believes that god will "never wipe out the world again, so it's kind of arrogant for us to believe we can we can destroy god's creation"

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See below for grades for Virginia’s leading Democratic and Republican U.S. House candidates and nominees on what are arguably the top two issues facing our country – protecting our democracy from a rising authoritarian threat; and tackling the climate crisis, which is crucial, even existential in many ways. As you can see, the Republicans almost all scored horrendously on both issues, while the Democrats all scored very well. Sensing a pattern here?  Then vote accordingly!

VA01: Rep. Rob Wittman (R) has been horrendous when it comes to democracy protection. For more on that topic, see see Virginia’s Four Republican Members of Congress All Get “F/Very Poor” Ratings On New “GOP Democracy Report Card”Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA01) Wildly Lies, Claims he Spent “Months…Calling for Unity”; Qasim Rashid Responds “Your hypocrisy is only surpassed by your ability to lie. Shameful.”After Signing Amicus Brief in Support of Seditionist TX Lawsuit, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA01) Gets Ripped on His FB Page For Laughably Claiming He “Defended Our Constitution”, etc. As an added “bonus,” check out this this recent photo of Wittman with insurrectionist/extremist VA Sen. Amanda Chase. ‘Nuff said. So obviously Wittman gets an “F” grade on defending our democracy. And on the climate crisis, Wittman has a lifetime 11% score from the League of Conservation Voters, which is far below a passing grade, plus he votes against anything that would actually tackle this crisis. So…Wittman gets an “F” grade on the climate crisis as well. As for Democratic nominee Herb Jones, he has no voting record, but he certainly has been strong  in what he’s had to say regarding the need to protect our democracy. For instance, today he blasted Wittman for having “voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” adding, “We haven’t forgotten his betrayal of our democracy.” He also noted yesterday that he has “spent most of my life defending the freedoms and democracy our flag represents.” And he tweeted, “To every Capitol Police officer who bravely defended our democracy on January 6th, your nation thanks you. You are American heroes.” So clearly Jones would be a strong democracy defender in Congress, deserving of an “A” grade.   On the climate crisis, Jones says: “Mankind’s activities are creating C02 that is heating up the planet at an unsustainable rate. We must get this under control. Scientists believe that we are falling behind. It is imperative that we invest in research that will provide renewable and alternative sources of energy.” So that’s all very good. Otherwise, it’s hard to judge Jones’ detailed positions on this issue, but obviously he’d be far better than Wittman!

VA02: Rep. Elaine Luria has served her country for decades, whether in the U.S. Navy or in Congress, including as a member of the 1/6 Committee who has spoken out as strongly as possible for defending our democracy. She gets an “A++” on this issue!  As for the climate crisis, Luria received a 100% League of Conservation Voters grade in 2021 and has a 97% lifetime score, so she definitely gets an “A” on this. As for Luria’s likely Republican opponent, VA State Senator Jennifer Kiggans, she received an “F” grade from the Virginia Sierra Club in 2021 as well as in 2020, so obviously she’s godawful on this issue. And on protecting our democracy, Kiggans has been endorsed by extremist/insurrectionist Rep. Elise Stefanik (R). So there’s that. As if that’s not bad enough, Kiggans “was one of only 3 Republicans who voted to spend $70 million Virginia taxpayer dollars on false claims of election fraud”; “Refused to say who won the 2020 presidential election, embracing the fiction that the 2020 election was stolen”; “Supported a slew of ‘election integrity’ bills which were aimed at restricting the right to vote and appeal to far-right conspiracy theorists; and “Refused to censure conspiracy theorist Amanda Chase for saying the Capitol insurrectionists were ‘patriots.'” Given all that, Kiggans at best gets an “F” on democracy protection, which means that replacing the super-democracy-champion Elaine Luria with Kiggans would represent a MASSIVE downgrade for VA02. Don’t do it! [Note: the other Republicans running in VA02 – Tommy Altman, Jarome Bell, Andy Baan are all VERY unlikely to win the nomination, but if they did, they’d all get “F” grades on democracy and climate]

VA03:Rep. Bobby Scott (D) has been rock-solid for many years on protecting our democracy and on environmental protection/climate – “A” grades on both for sure. As for Scott’s possible Republican opponents,  Ted Engquist and Terry Namkung, neither has any chance in this deep-blue district, but obviously they’d both represent major downgrades from Rep. Bobby Scott, including on both democracy protection and the climate crisis…

VA04: Rep. Donald McEachin (D) has been a consistent champion for democracy and for climate action, including for environmental justice. McEachin clearly deserves an “A+” grade on both issues. As for the Republican – Leon Benjamin – running in VA04, he’s a huge Trump supporter who has been endorsed by one of the most extreme insurrectionists in America, retired General Michael Flynn, who touts Benjamin for being “willing to stand up for election integrity.” So obviously, Benjamin gets an “F” on democracy protection. As for the climate crisis, Benjamin’s comments on his Twitter feed are few and far between, but what he *has* said shows zero understanding of the importance/urgency of the issue or what to do about it. For instance, he said “The Climate Change argument has not benefited Americans but other nations who can’t mine the vast resources like we can as Anerica [sic] can” and “Taxing people and corporations into oblivion does NOTHING to mitigate climate change! You cannot tax Mother Nature.” So…definite “F” grade for Benjamin on the climate crisis.

VA05: Rep. Bob Good (R) is one of them most far-right members of the U.S. House, and that’s saying something these days!  Obviously, Good gets “F” grades on both democracy and climate.  For more on this extremist nutjob, see “I can tell everything I need to know about Bob Good in this one photo”63 Republicans, Including Two From Virginia (Bob Good and Ben Cline) Vote Against Rep. Gerry Connolly’s Resolution in Support of NATO, DemocracyAfter Unhinged Extremist Rep. Bob Good (R-VA05) “Blasts all colleges except Christian ones,” “urges high school students to rebel against required mask wearing,” Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05) Says “I might need to re-engage”, etc.) In stark contrast, Democratic nominee Josh Throneburg is a climate champion who says “Our planet is in crisis and there’s no guarantee that it will remain habitable” and “Democracy, the beating heart of this incredible nation, is under attack.” Throneburg would represent a MASSIVE upgrade from the horrendous Rep. Good, and would certainly get “A” grades on both democracy and climate if he’s elected to Congress.

VA06: Rep. Ben Cline (R) is a disaster on both democracy and climate, definitely gets “F”s on both. For more, see Seditionist Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA06) Was Perfectly Fine with Trump’s 1000s of Personal Attacks and Assault on Our Democracy, Now Suddenly Claims to Be Outraged at Biden’s Nominee For OMB Director63 Republicans, Including Two From Virginia (Bob Good and Ben Cline) Vote Against Rep. Gerry Connolly’s Resolution in Support of NATO, DemocracyVideo: In Cringe-Inducingly Bad Speech at Extremist CPAC Conference, Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA06) Claims Virginia Was One of “Original States Fighting the Original Cancel Culture” Against Thomas Jefferson, etc.; etc. (note: Cline does have a Republican primary opponent, Merritt Hale, but he has no chance against Cline so I’m not going into any more detail on him) As for Cline’s Democratic opponent, Jennifer Lewis, she was a leader in the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline who believes “our priorities should be removing our dependency on fossil fuels and moving towards a clean energy future.” She’s also strongly pro-democracy. In short, Lewis would undoubtedly get “A” grades on both democracy protection and climate action in Congress, and would represent a MASSIVE upgrade in both areas over the odious Ben Cline.

VA07: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D) is strongly pro-democracy and for climate action, thus gets “A” grades on both. In stark contrast, hard-right Republicans Bryce Reeves, Yesli Vega (endorsed by insurrectionist Ginni Thomas, among other far-right figures) and Derrick Anderson – the three frontrunners for the VA07 GOP(Q) nomination – are all horrible on democracy protection, to varying degrees believers in Trump’s “Big Lie,” “Stop the Steal,” “election integrity,” blah blah blah. Also see here, in which Vega says the 1/6 insurrection was “actually a group of Americans exercising their 1st amendment right…and as a result of doing that, they’ve been persecuted, they’ve been shamed, they’ve been forced out of their jobs…the double standard is sickening”; Reeves said ““So my personal belief is it wasn’t an insurrection”; and Anderson said, “No, it was not an insurrection.”  So obviously, the three leading Republicans in VA07 all get “F”s on protecting our democracy. [note: the other Republicans running in this district are Gina Ciarcia, David Ross and Crystal Vanuch, none of whom are good on democracy or climate]

As for the climate crisis, the three frontrunners at best have been AWOL on this existential issue. Reeves, for instance, says America needs to be “liberating offshore drilling.” He also says we should “lift bans on crude and natural gas exports and defend U.S interest in climate talks,” whatever that means. As for Anderson and Vega, there’s nothing at all on their websites about the climate crisis, but given all their other far-right positions, one can only imagine where they stand on this. Anyway, the three leading Republicans in VA07 all get “F” grades on understanding the importance of dealing with the climate crisis and advocating for policies that get us out of the mess we’re in

VA08:  Rep. Don Beyer(D) has been a big-time champion of climate action, and environmental protection more broadly. He most certainly gets an “A+” grade on climate! Same thing for democracy protection – Beyer’s been a champion, “A+” grade all the way! As for Beyer’s Democratic primary opponent, Victoria Virasingh, she doesn’t have a voting record, but she has stated strong support for protecting voting rights and our democracy; and she does have a strong/detailed plan on her website for tackling the climate crisis. So presumably she’d get “A” grades on these issues if she were in Congress. As for Republican nominee Karina Lipsmanshe says “America has been blessed with an abundance of oil and natural gas,” while engaging in some gratuitous (and absurd) clean energy bashing. So at best Lipsman might get a “D” on this issue, but most likely an “F” grade. As for protecting our democracy, Lipsman hasn’t talked about it at all on her Twitter feed or her website, but given that she said “Fauci should be jailed,” clearly she has a very strong authoritarian, anti-rule-of-law bent. Presumably, if Lipsman were to ever get elected from deep-blue VA08 (which she obviously won’t!), she’d probably end up voting along with Kevin McCarthy and company when it comes to protecting our democracy, and would get an “F” grade.

VA09:  Rep. Morgan Griffith received an “F” grade on the 2022 “Democracy Scorecard,” having voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and is an absolute disgrace on protecting our democracy. For more on this topic, see see Appalachian Women of Action Demand Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA09) Step Down Following the 1/6 U.S. Capitol RiotFor Signing on to Seditionist TX Lawsuit, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA09) Rightly Ripped on His FB Page as “TRAITOR. COWARD. DOUCHEBAG”; “Spineless Jellyfish,” a “Disgrace to the Office,” etc. As for the climate crisis, Griffith is an embarrassment, not to mention a fossil fuel industry tool, who among other things once rambled on about the Vikings, Mars and “global cooling.” Can grades be lower than “F”? If so, Griffith would get them, on both democracy protection and the climate crisis. Yuck.  As for Griffith’s Democratic challenger Taysha DeVaughan, she doesn’t have a voting record, but she is the President of Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, is active in Lonesome Pine Mutual Aid and is a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice.” She says, “My campaign is going to focus on restoring clean, healthy and thriving communities in Virginia’s 9th district by addressing concerns around the Environment, Energy, and Economic Development.” To put it mildly, DeVaughan would represent a MASSIVE improvement over the horrendously bad Morgan Griffith when it comes to protecting the climate. And she’d also be a huge improvement on protecting our democracy. Unfortunately, VA09 is one of the reddest districts in America, but here’s to DeVaughan really taking it to Griffith on his horrendous record on the issues…

VA10:  Rep. Jennifer Wexton gets “A” grades on both being pro-democracy and pro-climate action. In stark contrast, Republican nominee Hung Cao has said some beyond-bizarre/super-extreme sh*t on both topics. For instance, on the climate crisis, Cao said “I believe in god and…why we have a rainbow is because that’s god’s covenant to us…he’ll never wipe out the world again, so it’s kind of arrogant for us to believe we can we can destroy god’s creation” and “”The left just wants to come up with crazy ideas about, you know, wind power well…what happens when there’s no wind? Solar power; what happens in the winter time? Also what what do you do with the lithium?” Yikes. And on democracy, Cao is a 2020 “Big Lie” proponent. For instance, see here to listen to Cao opine about how it’s “very difficult for me to understand what happened in 2020, when the person sits in their basement for the whole election cycle and they got more votes than Barack Obama…I’m just saying it’s just very hard for me to understand and decipher that …and you know you can’t change the rules halfway through like in Pennsylvania.” So, needless to say, Cao gets “F”s on both democracy and climate. Absolutely disastrous.

VA11: Rep. Gerry Connolly  (D) has been very strong on both democracy protection and climate action – “A” grades on both. As for Connolly’s Republican opponent, Jim Myles, he has no record and says basically nothing on his website on either democracy or the climate crisis. Which kind of tells you how much he cares about either of these things. So Myles gets “F” grades for the fact that he’s AWOL on these two crucial issues, and presumably would be so if he were ever to get elected from deep-“blue” VA11, which obviously he won’t.

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