Home 2023 Elections Flip and Defend-A-District Friday: Volume XI (Del. Michelle Maldonado, Karen Keys-Gamarra, Alex...

Flip and Defend-A-District Friday: Volume XI (Del. Michelle Maldonado, Karen Keys-Gamarra, Alex Askew, Amy Laufer, Kimberly Moran)


From Del. Rip Sullivan’s BLUE DOMINION PAC:

Project Blue Dominion is excited to be hosting a series of virtual fundraising events for candidates running in Virginia’s most competitive districts. You will recognize these candidates since we have featured them previously in this weekly series. Now you will get to meet them. They are each running in must-win districts for Democrats to take back control of the House of Delegates.

The first event on the evening of September 14th will feature Kimberly Pope Adams (HD-82), Joshua Cole (HD-65), Michael Feggans (HD-97), and Travis Nembhard (HD-22). This is your chance to get to know these terrific candidates running for these crucial seats.

For more information and to RSVP: 

Thursday, September 14: Flip and Defend-A-District Virtual Fundraiser 7PM-8PM

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

HOAX! The GOP debate revealed that Republicans still believe that climate change is a hoax. Despite overwhelming consensus from scientists that climate change is real, Republicans refuse to acknowledge it. Mind-boggling. We see and feel it all around us. Most recently fires in Maui, and Hurricane Idalia battering Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. There is no denying that climate change is a major threat to our childrens’ future, and in fact, younger voters of both parties rank climate change as a top issue. But Democrats are the only party acknowledging it and acting on it.

Virginia’s progress on climate change legislation is on the line this election. Republicans want–and have already tried–to repeal Virginia’s Clean Economy Act and the Clean Cars bill, and the Governor is actively trying to have Virginia withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. That will all happen unless we vote for the Democrats below.

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 55

Meet the candidate: Amy Laufer

Amy is originally from a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin and is a first-generation college graduate. Amy worked at Louisa Middle School and Tandem Friends School as a math and science teacher. Amy was first elected to the Charlottesville City School Board in November of 2011 and then reelected. She was Vice Chair and Chair of the School Board from 2012-2016. In 2014, she founded Virginia’s List, a women’s empowerment group that has supported many women currently serving in the General Assembly. Amy ran for State Senate District 17 in 2018, earning 48% of the vote in a +12 Republican district. With Virginia being the last state in the South with unrestricted abortion access, those rights are on the ballot this November and Amy is determined to defend reproductive freedom.

About House District 55:

Now Amy is running to flip House District 55, which includes Albemarle, and parts of Louisa, Nelson, and Fluvanna Counties. This open seat is a pickup opportunity for Democrats and a must-win in order to take back the majority in the House of Delegates.

Who Amy is up against: 

Amy is running against a Republican opponent who has sided with MAGA extremists, expressed opposition to accessible abortion and reproductive care, and organized armed pro-2nd Amendment rallies at local board of supervisors meetings. Her opponent’s views are wildly out of step with the voters of HD55 and with the values of a majority of Virginians.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 7

Meet the candidate: Karen Keys-Gamarra

Karen is the twice-elected At Large Fairfax County School Board member, a former Planning Commissioner, and a practicing attorney representing children’s best interests. Karen is a sitting At Large School Board member, first elected in 2017. She is running for the House of Delegates because she has the ability to lead on a wide variety of state-level issues that impact our community, including our children.

She is concerned about our neighbors and the direction of state leadership, which has focused more on culture wars than on communities’ best interests. In the House of Delegates, Karen will advocate for a world-class public education system that attracts business and builds a thriving economy for all. She will use her leadership skills and strong voice to champion our reproductive rights, climate change issues, affordable housing, gun safety, DEI policies, LGBTQIA+ rights, workforce development, justice system reform, and transportation concerns.

About House District 7:

The new 7th District includes Reston and four precincts in Sully and Dranesville. Delegate Plum has served this area for 44 years and is retiring.

Who Karen is up against:

The Republican running in HD-7 is a MAGA disciple who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2014. She hides her extreme views with JFK quotes and some moderate proposals. But she is clearly anti-abortion, and “anti-” all that we value.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 95

Meet the candidate: Alex Askew

Alex was born and raised in Virginia Beach by his mother, a public school teacher. He came up through the Virginia Beach public education system, including Tallwood High School, before attending Hampton University. After graduating, he worked for nearly seven election cycles on a variety of local, state-wide, and national campaigns and projects.

Alex formerly served as a Chief of Staff for the Virginia House of Delegates, guiding elected officials toward tangible solutions. During his time as a Chief of Staff, he helped craft groundbreaking legislation such as the nationwide Ashanti Alert (a public alert system for missing and endangered adults), Medicaid expansion, affordable housing expansion, and school safety initiatives.

And Alex was then elected to the House of Delegates. In his first term (serving the 85th District) his office had 9 bills signed into law; with 7 of them receiving unanimous bipartisan support. Some of these bills include expanding workers’ compensation coverage for firefighters, implementing a lead-water testing process in all public schools and daycares across the Commonwealth, and creating the very first dedicated source of funding for Hampton Roads Transit.

Outside of work, Alex remains engaged in his community. He is an active member of New Jerusalem Ministries, where he mentors and tutors local youth. Alex is a founding board member of the New Leaders Council Virginia, as well as a board member for the Democratic Business Alliance of South Hampton Roads and a 2018 graduate of UVA’s Political Leaders Program.

The residents of Virginia Beach have been the motivation throughout his life. They have inspired him to fight for affordable healthcare, quality education, economic opportunities, and a safe environment for all of us.

About House District 95:

HD 95 is partially in Virginia Beach, and partially in the City of Norfolk. In 2021, the district went 55.6% for McAuliffe and 43.9% for Youngkin.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 51

Meet the candidate: Kimberly Moran

Moran’s family comes from a long line of Democrats. So answering the call to her civic duty was not a stretch for a determined and dedicated working mom from rural Bedford County, Virginia. She and her husband David are raising their two sons and daughter there – and she is very concerned about the struggles working families face, the growing battles surrounding educating children, and the erosion of too many of our civil rights.

About House District 51:

Deepred redrawn House District 51 is now a horse race. This is a rapidly changing politically charged region. HD-51 includes Bedford County (54%), Campbell County (42%), and Pittsylvania County (4%) – one of the most conservative, rural red regions of south-central Virginia. The last Democrat to win in this area was Tom Perriello in 2008 – by 727 votes. The only Democrat in the region to have held onto his seat, since 2014, is Sam Rasoul, District 11.

Who Kimberly is up against:

Kimberly Moran may not have had as much of a chance to win this race if it weren’t for the last-minute entry of the former incumbent of old District 59, Matt Fariss. Republican Fariss’s last-minute filing to run as an Independent has created the horse race that has challenged the expected ‘shoo-in’ of endorsed Republican candidate Eric Zehr.

Zehr proposes a ‘Life at Conception’ bill, to end mail-in voting, repeal Democratic energy policies, and protect children from what he calls “transgender propaganda,” “critical race theory” and the “1619 Project”. A member of the Campbell County Militia, Zehr encouraged Liberty University’s initiative to arm their students on campus. He is endorsed by House Freedom Caucus member & US Congressman Bob Good, who famously voted against honoring the Capitol Police for their heroism in defending the Capitol from the January 6 Insurrection.

Republican aka Independent Matt Fariss, appears to have a lot of support despite his legal woes. There is growing concern among Republicans – as one writer expressed in his Letter to the Editor in the Lynchburg News & Advance:

“At first…it looked like it was going to be a one horse race…we are now faced with a three-way race, between Republican Eric Zehr, Democrat Kimberly Moran, and Independent Matt Fariss…however, should the vote be evenly split between Zehr and Delegate Fariss, there is a real chance that could give victory to the Democrat Kimberly Moran.” (Yea!!!)

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

House District 20

Meet the candidate: Michelle Maldonado

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

Michelle Maldonado is a long-time resident of Prince William County and the City of Manassas and has proudly served her first term in the House of Delegates fighting for families, a cleaner and greener economy, accessible and affordable housing, healthcare and reproductive rights, technology and innovation to keep Virginia competitive, and funding for schools and teachers as our students recover from learning loss.

Michelle brings heart, honor, and action to her work because she knows how important it is to be a voice and advocate for all the people she represents. She has worked as an entrepreneur, business leader, former tech attorney, mother, wife, and bridge-builder who is running for re-election to represent the new District 20. With a code of strong ethics, compassion, determination, and vision, Michelle isn’t afraid to tackle hard issues and to work across party lines to get things done. In her first term, she was named “Rookie Legislator of the Year” by the Virginia Education Association and founded the bi-partisan Virginia Technology & Innovation Caucus.

Michelle has spent over two decades supporting the development and performance of leaders, teams, and communities across industries — ranging from teachers to corporate executives, humanitarian aid workers,  military and law enforcement. She is skilled in navigating difficult environments to bring people together to find solutions to the problems impacting our families, communities, and businesses around the Commonwealth.

About House District 20: 

The 20th House District has the largest Latino population among the targeted House races and the largest share of multi-racial groups. It also has a higher-than-average percentage of younger voters (ages 18-35 years old), making this district crucial to getting out the vote and truly impacting not only the voter turnout in the 20th House District but also in Prince William County and Manassas Park as a whole.

Who Michelle is up against:

Her opponent is Sharon Ashurst, the chair of the Manassas Republican Committee. She expects strong precinct field efforts coming from her campaign and she will continue to build her own efforts to speak to as many voters as she can.

Contact the campaign: Here

Contribute: Here

That’s it for Volume XI 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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