Home 2023 Elections Flip and Defend-A-District Friday: Volume IX (Del. Holly Seibold, Del. Mark Sickles,...

Flip and Defend-A-District Friday: Volume IX (Del. Holly Seibold, Del. Mark Sickles, Del. Shelly Simonds, Debra Gardner, Larry Jackson)


From Del. Rip Sullivan’s BLUE DOMINION PAC:

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

Voters all over the country are fighting to protect abortion access. Just last week Ohio voted to prevent a Republican-backed measure aimed at defeating a November referendum that would protect abortion access in the state. A great victory.

But abortion rights are imperiled, as more and more states are banning abortion in the wake of the Dobbs decision. And Virginia will be next if the Republicans hold the House and take the Senate.

Don’t think this is possible in Virginia? Think again. Last week a recording went public of Republican House candidate John Stirrup saying he would support a total abortion ban if elected to House District 21. And he is not alone. We cannot let Stirrup or any other Republican win. HD21 is a battleground district, and one that may determine if abortions are outlawed in Virginia. It is crucial that Josh Thomas defeats Stirrup and we elect all of the other candidates featured in Flip and Defend-A-District.

So Virginia is up next. And make no mistake: this election is a referendum on the preservation of abortion rights in Virginia. The Governor told us early on that he will “gleefully sign” whatever abortion bill the General Assembly sends him. Think Florida, Mississippi, Texas.

I urge you to watch and share this new ad from the Virginia House Democrats here.

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 76

Meet the candidate: Debra Gardner

Debra Gardner is the right candidate for the time we are in. She is running in the newly drawn 76th district which became more favorable to Democrats. Debra brings with her a lifetime of public service and executive leadership experience, as well as lingering name recognition in the district from having run for the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors in 2019 and the House of Delegates 27th district. She has lived in the district for over 30 years and has long been a community advocate. She has also worked at the chief deputy level of two state agencies.

Debra holds a Master of Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a concentration in Social Work from North Carolina Central University. She served as an adjunct Professor teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. Debra’s proven dedication to her community and impressive leadership experience will be an asset to her electorate and the Commonwealth.

Who Debra is up against:

Debra’s Republican opponent is Duc Truong. There is not much information out about Mr. Truong. His website does not include that he is running as a Republican, in fact, his website reads like a Democrat. We cannot let him mislead us about the type of leader he will be.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 61

Meet the candidate: Larry Jackson

Virginia has been Larry’s home since 1982. He and his wife raised their children in Northern Virginia – his wife and children are all graduates of Virginia public high schools and public universities. He will go to Richmond and work for all Virginians to have the educational and work opportunities that he and his family have had.

Some of his top priorities include:


Reproductive FREEDOM must be defended – He will defend Virginia’s current laws on abortion. PPAV endorsed!


Wildfires and smoke-filled air, record heat, more violent storms – we are seeing the change in our climate. We have to ACT NOW and plan for the future or our children and grandchildren will be living through even worse conditions. We need to make VA a model of sustainable energy and build a green economy.


We are a wealthy nation and we should ensure that all of our citizens have health care. This is done in other nations, we can do this. Our current health care costs and outcomes are among the worst for Western nations, we MUST CHANGE our approach to health care. Health care should not be tied to employment!

  • ECONOMIC Reform

We must lead with innovation and reduce unnecessary economic burdens.

Who Larry is up against:

His opponent believes that life begins at conception and will vote to restrict or eliminate access to abortion in Virginia. We cannot give him a seat in the House of Delegates with extreme views that do not align with a majority of Virginians.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 17

Meet the candidate: Mark Sickles

Now serving in his twentieth year in Virginia’s House, Delegate Mark Sickles (D-43) continues to focus on affordable health-care coverage for all, expanding voting access, sensible gun safety measures, equality for all people, and transportation solutions for Northern Virginia. As the ranking member of the Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee, and a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Resources, he is working with a great team to expand access and to improve Virginia’s mental health, substance abuse, and disability services.

About House District 17:

District 17 is centered on Kingstowne, Franconia, and Huntington. This district is a strongly Democratic district that is crucial to Democrats winning statewide and countywide races. The district is growing rapidly, and diversifying as quickly.

Who Mark is up against:

We have learned recently that his opponent, Richard Mereu, may have dropped out of the race. He is an adjunct professor at American University and a lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Delegate Sickles remains committed to working in the district to drive turnout to ensure Democratic victories in local races in Fairfax County.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 70

Meet the Candidate: Shelly Simonds

*We are highlighting Shelly again because she had an opponent file to run against her at the last minute. This is a must-win race.

Shelly Simonds is a current member of the Virginia House of Delegates who is running for re-election in the 70th district in Newport News.  She is a former teacher, who started her time in elected office as a member of the Newport News School Board and as the Chair of the Board for New Horizons Regional Education Centers.  Del. Simonds is a passionate advocate for students and teachers as a member of the Education Committee in the House, where she has passed legislation promoting STEM education and workforce development.  She also co-founded the Career and Technical Education Caucus, a bi-partisan effort to connect students to careers.  After a dramatically tied election in 2017, Del. Simonds has been dedicated to fair elections and voting rights while serving on the Privileges and Elections Committee in the House.  Del. Simonds attended Bucknell University for her undergraduate degree and Stanford University for her Master’s degree.  She lives with her husband, a NASA engineer and two college-age daughters in the Denbigh area of Newport News.

Who Shelly is up against:

As a former educator, school board member, and currently a member of the House of Delegates, Shelly has the knowledge and skills to defeat her opponent, Matt Waters, in the new District 70. Matt Waters is too far right for Virginia, running as a Libertarian for US Senate in 2018. Waters is 100% pro-life and believes that military spending is “outrageous”. Defending District 70 is crucial in the path to flipping the Virginia House of Delegates.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 12

Meet the candidate: Holly Seibold

Holly M. Seibold is a Member of the Virginia General Assembly as the Delegate from the 35th District of the Commonwealth of Virginia and now running for the 12th District. She was first elected in a special election to replace former Delegate Mark Keam in 2023. Delegate Seibold currently serves as a member of the House Public Safety Committee and the House Communications, Technology, and Innovation Committee.

Born in Orlando, Florida, Holly first moved to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to pursue an undergraduate degree from American University, where she graduated with a B.A. in Communications, Law, Economics & Government. While at AU, Holly worked on Capitol Hill, the State Department, and the American Embassy of London.

Aspiring to make an even greater impact in the world, Holly returned to college seeking a Master’s degree in Education. Holly graduated from The George Washington University with a M.Ed. in Elementary Education in 2003.  Always learning, Holly has enrolled in multiple personal and professional development programs over the last decade, including a six-month Emerge candidate training program.

Holly began her career in the nonprofit sector before becoming an educator in the public school system. Transitioning from the classroom to a small business owner in 2010, Holly launched a successful educational firm, offering STEM consulting services and educational programs to clients. In 2015, Holly launched the non-profit organization, BRAWS, to help women and girls obtain menstrual supplies and undergarments.

Through her advocacy efforts in the Virginia General Assembly, women and girls in schools, shelters, and prisons/jails throughout Virginia can now access supplies free of charge and tax-free.

Holly and her husband, Erik, a software engineer, have raised their two children in the Town of Vienna, where they have lived since 2012. A leader in her community, Holly has volunteered in a number of capacities including Vienna Elementary School PTA, Madison High School PTSA, Vienna Little League, Vienna Girls Softball League, the Westwood and Machine Swim Teams, Northern Virginia Community College Advisory Board, Vienna Business Association Board Member, the Fairfax County Community Action Board, and the Virginia Council on Women. She has also been a proud escort of the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force, an all-volunteer group dedicated to safe access to reproductive health clinics.

About District 12:

The 12th District is comprised of the majority of the old 35th District. It includes the Tysons, Vienna, Dunn Loring, Merrifield, and Mantua areas.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

That’s it for Volume IX 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.




Sign up for the Blue Virginia weekly newsletter

Previous articleSOUND THE ALARM: Juan Pablo Segura Could Be The Deciding Vote to Ban Abortion in Virginia
Next articleSenators Mark Warner, Tim Kaine Announce Key Virginia Priorities in Senate Draft of Government Spending Legislation