Home 2023 Elections Flip and Defend-A-District Friday: Volume II

Flip and Defend-A-District Friday: Volume II


From Del. Rip Sullivan’s BLUE DOMINION PAC:

Welcome to the second edition of the 2023 Flip and Defend-A-District Series.

The stakes of this election could not be higher. From abortion rights, to the environment, to protecting the LGBTQ community, to healthcare, voting rights, and many other critical issues. Everything we’ve worked for is on the line.

I have updated the name of this series to include the word “defend” to emphasize that in addition to the crucial need to flip key districts from red to blue to gain the majority, it is equally essential that we maintain the seats we currently have.

The candidates Project Blue Dominion features in our Flip and Defend-A-District series are the Democrats—incumbents and challengers—who Virginians need to elect to gain the majority in the House of Delegates. The stakes are high and the power to elect Democrats lies in your hands. It is the time, donations, and activism of Virginia voters that will determine our future. I hope you will join us in seizing this historic opportunity.

House District 34

Meet the Candidate: Esther Nizer

Esther Nizer’s family has lived in Elkton, Virginia on the same land for seven generations. After attending an Elementary school built with Rosenwald funds, Esther participated in integrating Elkton High School where she graduated in 1971. She graduated from Morgan State University (an HBCU). She earned teaching credentials at James Madison University, and taught fourth grade in Rockingham County. She moved from education to private enterprise with various companies in Georgia and Texas, returning to Elkton to care for her mother after a decade away. She joined JMU as an information Technology Training and Development Manager retiring in 2020 after two decades of training approximately 8500 individuals on how to use technology to achieve the university mission.

Esther has a long record of community service and leadership.

  • Elkton Area United Services (EAUS)
  • Elkton Downtown Revitalization Corporation (EDRC)
  • Elkton Cemetery Commission
  • NAACP of Harrisonburg-Rockingham (4 years as president)
  • Virginia Board of Conservation and Recreation
  • Elkton Lion’s Club
  • Elkton Progressive Improvement Committee (EPIC)
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

About House District 34:

District 34 is in Rockingham County in the Shenandoah Valley. Redrawn in 2023, the district still leans Republican, but it is the best chance to dislodge the long-term Republican hold on the Valley. The current delegate, Tony Wilt, has held office since 2010. His long representation of most of Rockingham County is grounded in support from northwest Rockingham County, an area removed from the newly drawn district. District 34 now includes the previously excluded suburbs around solidly blue Harrisonburg plus Elkton and the corridor that connects them.

Esther Nizer’s Platform and Philosophy:

Esther focuses on the needs of residents in District 34 that have been neglected and minimized for the past thirteen years, including:

  • Ensuring rural Virginia is connected to the 21st Century’s economy, culture, and educational opportunities. Sample policies include:
    • Funding public transportation for rural residents who need to reach work, medical appointments, cultural events, and educational opportunities.
    • Providing affordable, stable, functioning broadband connection to all Virginians.
  • Supporting and respecting families in Virginia. Sample policies include:
    • Promoting policies that provide access to affordable health insurance.
    • Supporting family leave.
    • Advocating for a living wage.
    • Investing state funds in developing childcare and preschool.
    • Keeping the government out of decisions about medical care.
  • Cultivating well-paid, respected, professional, and diverse public school personnel. Sample policies include:
    • Reinvesting state funds for school buildings so localities can focus on paying for programs.
    • Raising salaries for school personnel.
    • Attracting and supporting teachers and school personnel that match the diverse student population.

Why Esther can win:

Esther’s deep roots and long-standing community leadership in Elkton give her a broad base of support in an area where Tony Wilt is not well-known. Her network of relationships across the county and her strong support in Harrisonburg position her to challenge Tony Wilt by calling out his attachment to a “small government” ideology that has failed to support his constituents. Esther’s leadership based on listening to everyone, not just a small group of supporters, stands in contrast to the approach taken by Wilt and other state-level elected leaders in this area

How you can help:

District 34 will not be a big-money campaign. It can be tipped with a relatively small investment in direct support for Esther’s campaign and support for the Rockingham and Harrisonburg Democratic Committees so that they can provide targeted, on-point voter mobilization efforts.

Contact the campaign: Here

Visit her website: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 38

Meet the candidate: Sam Rasoul

Delegate Rasoul is a member of the House of Delegates representing Roanoke – making him the only elected Democratic Delegate west of Charlottesville! Sam has served in the House of Delegates since 2014, where he’s worked to expand access to and reduce the cost of health care, fought to protect our environment from climate change, and expand mental health care access in SWVA. This past session, VPAP ranked him as the third most effective Democratic legislator in the House. Though his new district shifted six points to the right following redistricting, Sam is focused on helping Democrats take back the majority this November to protect abortion access, address the epidemic of gun violence, and continue working to fight climate change. Sam doesn’t accept corporate PAC or special interest money, his campaigns rely on individuals like you interested in making a difference. He could use your support to help candidates running in winnable districts in SW Virginia and across our Commonwealth.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 27

Meet the candidate: Atoosa Reaser

A Loudoun County resident for over 20 years, Atoosa is a graduate of Virginia K-12 public schools, James Madison University, and George Mason University School of Law. Prior to her election to the Loudoun County School Board in 2019, Atoosa served as a litigation attorney and deputy prosecutor for the Town of Herndon. She has been declared a guardian ad litem by the Virginia Supreme Court, and was unanimously appointed by a bipartisan Board of Supervisors to a committee administering services for at-risk young. When elected, she will be the only woman representing Loudoun County in the House of Delegates.

Who Atoosa is up against: 

Atoosa will face Republican nominee and former Trump administration official Chris Harnisch in the general election on November 7th. Harnisch’s extreme views and allegiance to Donald Trump are a clear threat to reproductive freedom and the progress we’ve made in Virginia, and Atoosa is prepared to stand up to him and fight for our values.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 59

Meet the candidate: Rachel Levy

Rachel Levy is a mother, educator and a well-known community leader with a doctorate in education policy, who lives in the Town of Ashland with her husband and three children. She is running for the Virginia House of Delegates because she is called to public service and believes that all citizens of the 59th district deserve competent, responsive, and independent-minded representation. She believes everyone should be treated with dignity and respect, no matter who they are or how they vote.

Rachel is running to strengthen and improve our public schools and keep them out of the hands of extremists. She wants to ensure better access to healthcare including mental and reproductive healthcare–which includes maintaining access to contraception and safe & legal abortion. She wants to cut pollution, protect our environment, and conserve our natural resources (especially in rural areas), and take more steps to prevent gun violence, while protecting our rights, freedoms, and democracy.

Rachel ran in the 55th District in 2021 and redistricting has placed her in the 59th District. The new 59th is a beautiful and diverse district that includes most of Louisa County including the Towns of Louisa and Mineral, the town of Ashland and western Hanover, and several Democratic precincts in northern Henrico. Rachel has a great opportunity to build on her successes from 2021 in what is a more favorable district now. In the more rural and conservative 55th District, Rachel increased Democratic turnout by 30% from 2019 in what turned out to be a red wave election. Rachel wants to continue the legacy of amazing Democratic women like Abigail Spanberger and Debra Rodman who have flipped LONG held Republican seats in this area.

Who Rachel is up against:

Despite issues with his residency, Rachel has the same opponent as she did in 2021. He is an ineffective, inactive legislator who takes his seat and voters for granted, while being anti-LGBTQ, anti women’s reproductive rights, and votes to restrict our rights and freedoms. He voted against the ratification of the ERA, against same-sex marriage, against banning the “gay panic” defense, against the Virginia Voting Rights Act, and was in favor of government-forced pregnancies and births. He is aligned with the Tea Party and other extremist groups. He doesn’t serve the interests of the people of the 59th District. That needs to change–the people of the 59th District deserve better.

Learn more about and contact Rachel’s campaign: here

Donate to Rachel’s campaign: here

House District 3

Meet the candidate: Alfonso Lopez

Delegate Alfonso Lopez has nearly three decades of public service experience at the Federal level and in Virginia government. The son of a father from Venezuela – who came to the U.S. undocumented at the age of 19 with the dream of a better life – and a public school teacher mother, he has served as an Obama Administration political appointee, Tim Kaine Gubernatorial Administration cabinet-level appointee, and a six-term member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Alfonso’s family experience and time in government gives him a unique sense of purpose that motivates him to fight for his community everyday. He was the first Latino Democrat ever elected to the Virginia General Assembly and previously served as Majority Whip of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus.

About House District 3:

The 3rd District is the most diverse one in Virginia and deserves representation that fights for everyone here, not just a select few. There are over 100 languages spoken in the District and over 40 languages spoken at the local high schools. It is truly the “world in a zip code.”

Alfonso has represented this district nearly 12 years and has a clear and consistent record of delivering progressive results for Virginia’s families.

Alfonso’s accomplishments:

In 2019, he played a key role in creating the Democratic majority in the General Assembly, transforming the state. His legislative accomplishments include creating the Virginia Affordable Housing Trust Fund, passing the Virginia DREAM/In-State Tuition Act, repeal the “Charleston Loophole” for gun purchases, overturning the ban on Project Labor Agreements, repealing driver’s license suspensions for inability to pay fines & fees, repealing the mandatory reporting of undocumented immigrants to federal authorities, expanding Medicaid coverage to immigrant mothers and children, creating the first LGBTQ+ Governor’s Advisory Board in the South, passing the Solar Energy Freedom Bill, and passing the Gun Safe Storage Tax Credit Act. Also, as the Majority Whip, Delegate Lopez worked to, among other things, increase teacher salaries by 5%, secure a dedicated source of revenue for METRO, ban the death penalty in Virginia, create the first State Voting Rights Act in the South, and, perhaps most importantly, expand Medicaid and health protections to over 500,000 Virginians.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

That’s it for Volume II of our Flip and Defend-A-District Friday series. We’ll be back next week and every week until Election Day to share more about our great candidates. In the meantime, 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 take back the majority is on.



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