See below for an email sent out a few minutes ago by Virginia State Senate candidate Erika Yalowitz – one of two Democratic challengers (along with Saddam Salim) to incumbent Sen. Chap Petersen in the deep-blue, newly drawn SD37 in Fairfax and Falls Church – announcing that she is today, “for the good of this community…stepping aside and endorsing Saddam Salim.” In her email, Yalowitz notes that Sen. Petersen “voted against an assault weapons’ ban, when we see these guns used to carry out shooting after shooting” and also voted against legislation to require lost and stolen weapons be reported. In contrast, Yalowitz writes that Salim “is a committed Democrat who cares deeply about the people of this district,” and that the two of them “are aligned on most of the important issues our community faces.”
So with that, what had almost certainly not been a competitive race given that there were two high-quality Democratic challengers to the incumbent, and most likely they would have split the anti-incumbent vote and let Sen. Petersen handily win the nomination, now we’ve got a real race on our hands – “game on,” so to speak. I’ll be writing more about Saddam Salim in coming days, including my reasons for supporting him over Sen. Petersen, but for now, thanks to Erika Yalowitz for putting the needs of the community first and for taking this important step towards the best possible representation for this district in the VA Senate!
About eleven weeks ago, I announced my candidacy for State Senate in the new 37th district. Today, for the good of this community, I am stepping aside and endorsing Saddam Salim.
I was raised by a single father in Bogota, Colombia, where a depressed economy was defined by the war on drugs, civil war, and corruption. I know what happens when guns are everywhere, when children don’t have good schools, when corporations wield influence over government, and where the most basic freedoms are under attack, and I see the similarities with what is happening right here.
That is why I decided to become a family Court Officer and help people through the most difficult times in their lives. Since I came to Virginia 16 years ago, I have worked tirelessly to make my home a better place through volunteering and community activism.
That is also why I decided to run for office. I see how policy decisions impact people. Lost and stolen weapons show up in kids’ hands, and Chap Petersen voted against a law that would have required those to be reported. Chap also voted against an assault weapons’ ban, when we see these guns used to carry out shooting after shooting.
If we want to make progress on the issues we care about, such as gun safety, reproductive justice or housing affordability, we need to elect a different senator. That is why I am making the decision to suspend my campaign and endorse Saddam Salim in this race. I will be forever grateful to my husband Neil, my daughter Toni, and my family who helped sustain me in this race, and I will be forever grateful to you, my supporters, donors, volunteers, and my staff, who powered this campaign. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I have gotten to know Saddam Salim during this hard-fought campaign. He is a committed Democrat who cares deeply about the people of this district. He and I are aligned on most of the important issues our community faces. We agree that we should have common-sense gun reform. We agree that our public tax dollars belong in public schools. We agree that we must defend reproductive rights and fight for our LGBTQ+ neighbors against Glenn Youngkin and the Republicans in the legislature, and very importantly, we agree in not taking any money from corporations, to keep our mission tied to our community’s best interest.
My campaign is closed for donations. Any funds available will be destined to cover my commitments with staff, suppliers, and other expenses. I intend to send any unused funds to Saddam’s campaign to support his bid for new leadership in the 37th.
I am extremely proud of the campaign we’ve run, and I am also proud to back Saddam now. I support his campaign, and I hope you will join me.