At this point, of course, we know that the Republican Party of the past (the one that had normal conservatives, moderates and even progressive Republicans like Jacob Javits and Lowell Weicker) is loooong gone, and that today’s Republican Party fully reflects the warped values, far-right-extremism, hostility to democracy and science, bigotry, cruelty, etc, etc. of its undisputed leader, Donald J. Trump. Here in Virginia, the crop of 2023 Virginia Republican General Assembly candidates very much reflects this reality, as the vast majority of them – with almost no exceptions, actually – are hard right, anti-democracy, anti-reproductive-freedom, anti-environment (pro-fossil-fuels, deniers/minimizers of climate science), Trumpists, etc.
Unfortunately, some of these extremists are already elected officials and are running for reelection in deep-red districts, so are almost certain to be reelected to the Virginia House of Delegates or State Senate. Just a few that jump out, as the worst of the worst, include:
- Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-SD2): This guy’s far-right in every way. For instance, on guns, he voted for a bill (SB1364) to allow guns in child day care centers, voted against a bill (SB 1257) that would require background checks on buyers at gun shows, voted multiple times to repeal Virginia’s “one gun a month” law, etc. Obenshain also led the fight in the Virginia State Senate against raising the minimum wage; wanted to force women to report miscarriages to the police, minimized/mocked concerns over the climate crisis, attacked voting rights, ranted about supposed “voter fraud,” etc, etc.
- Sen. Travis Hackworth (R-SD5): This guy is about as far right as you can possibly get, in every way. For instance: he touts that he’s “pro-gun…pro-god…he’s gonna fight for us, for coal mines…he’s pro-life and he’s gonna defend our religious freedoms”; he attacked his Democratic opponent as “pro-abortion” and wants to ban abortion; he’s against any gun violence prevention measures; etc.
- Del. John McGuire (the Republican nominee for SD10): This guy’s really disturbing: “attended the deadly January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol”; has spread Trump’s “Big Lie” about the 2020 election; etc. He’s also hard right in every other way too – would vote to ban abortion, get rid of any gun violence prevention measures, you name it.
- Glen Sturtevant (the Republican nominee in SD12): Used to be a relatively sane Republican, but has lurched to the far right, a la Amanda Chase, who he narrowly defeated in the June Republican primary. So nowadays, this former “moderate” Republican is busy ranting about “election integrity,” COVID vaccines, the “woke agenda,” “transgender awareness,” “Critical Race Theory,” “leftist ideology,” etc. Bonkers.
- Sen. Bill DeSteph (SD20): DeSteph’s track record over the years includes so much “crazy,” it’s hard to know where to start, but see: He’s Just a Genie in a Bottle…Virginia State Sen. Bill DeSteph (R) Wore Costume with “Rub Me” Lamp “Protruding from Crotch”, “Bad on all sorts of levels” – GOP Sen. Bill DeSteph sparks backlash over another conflict of interest , Virginia State Sen. Bill “Rub Me Lamp” DeSteph (R) Shared Video by Anti-Muslim Activist on His Official Facebook Page, Bill DeSteph: “Muslems Build Mosques to Represent Islamic Supremacy Over Their Enemy”, etc
- Sen. Bryce Reeves (SD28): Learn more about him here, including that he “joked” about “taking Dems to the train station,” aka killing them. Other than that, Reeves is hard right all the way – on guns, the climate crisis, women’s reproductive freedom, you name it.
- Speaker Todd Gilbert (HD33): It’s impossible to exaggerate what an upgrade it will be to go from Speaker Todd Gilbert to Speaker Don Scott starting next January. Just to give you a flavor for where Gilbert’s coming from, check this out, in which he reacted to Trump being indicted by ranting about “America’s slide down the slippery slope to banana republic territory.” Gilbert also was relentlessly anti-public-health and anti-science during the COVID pandemic, for instance falsely claiming, “there’s nothing to indicate that requiring an eight-year-old to wear a mask while taking a math test will substantially reduce the transmission of COVID, or any new variant that is emerging.” Gilbert’s also 100% pro-gun, anti-reproductive-freedom, the proverbial “whole nine yards” of the right wingnut belief system. So yeah, we REALLY need to take this opportunity to give Democrats a House of Delegates majority and (massively) upgrade to Speaker Don Scott!
- Tim Griffin (the Republican nominee in HD53): Learn more about him here, including that he supports “our local Constitutional Militias,” wants to repeal “unconstitutional red flag laws” and “abolish abortion,” etc.
- Del. Nick Freitas (HD62): Hard-right all the way – guns, abortion, climate, you name it – plus he’s a big supporter of fascist Rep. Bob Good (R-VA05). And, of course, check out: Video: 2020 VA-07 GOP Congressional Nominee Nick Freitas Falsely Claimed “It’s Definitely More Difficult” For Women to Get Pregnant From Rape; Video: Nearly Three Months After Election Day, Nick Freitas (R) Finally Concedes That He Lost to Rep. Abigail Spanberger (R-VA07); Nick Freitas’ Closing Message: I Voted Against Kids with Autism, and I’d Do it Again; MISSING PAPERWORK: What Nick Freitas Needs to Answer for in the Final Week of His Campaign, etc.
We could go on all day with this, of course, as almost all Virginia Republican candidates this year are hard right, but that’s just a very short sampling to give you a flavor of the types of candidates running as Republicans this year for Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate. As you can see, some of these folks are batsh*t crazy.
Now, here are a dozen Republicans running in key, competitive districts who are far-right all the way and badly need to be defeated on November 7.
- Del. Emily Brewer (Republican nominee in SD17): Among other things, Brewer opposed Medicaid expansion, “vot[ing] to deny health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Virginia patients.” Brewer’s also “A”-rated by the NRA, which in and of itself should disqualify her. And Brewer received a “D” grade from ReproRising Virginia, so she’s obviously no friend of women’s reproductive freedom. Oh, and she also supports Youngkin’s horrendous, irresponsible desire to pull Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Just godawful. So, if none of this sounds appealing to you, make sure you vote for Democratic nominee Clint Jenkins on or before 11/7!
- Kevin Adams (Republican nominee in SD22): For more on this guy, see Hard-Right-Republican SD07 Nominee Made “Special Guest Appearance” at Rally Organized by Anti-Democracy, Trumpist “Big Lie” Group with Ties to Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, etc., SD7 GOP Nominee Praised Post (“Brilliantly Truthful!”) by Anti-Abortion Extremist Roy Moore Which Said That People Are “Too Soft To Place A Killer In A Well Deserved Tomb, But Brave Enough To Kill A Baby Before He Leaves The Womb”, etc. And make sure you vote for State Senator Aaron Rouse (D) on or before November 7th!
- Danny Diggs (Republican nominee in SD24): As Democratic incumbent Sen. Monty Mason explains, Diggs “has been outspoken about his support for Youngkin’s proposed abortion ban, which would jail doctors and impose extreme new restrictions on women seeking medical care. Also, see this article, which details how Diggs “alternates between right-wing dog whistles (‘I oppose efforts to criminalize law abiding gun owners’) and statements too vague to tell voters anything (like ‘We need commonsense, conservative reforms to cut health care costs’).” So anyway, make sure you vote to reelect Sen. Monty Mason in this crucial, “swing” district that very well could determine whether Democrats hold their “brick wall” iin the State Senate, or whether – god forbid – Glenn Youngkin gets a governing “trifecta” to enact a far-right agenda and turn Virginia into Ron DeSantis’ Florida or Greg Abbott’s Texas.
- Del. Tara Durant (Republican nominee in SD27): Showed the other night at a debate that she’s an extremist, also extremely ignorant and wrong about pretty much everything, from abortion, crime, “defunding the police,” the environment/climate, etc. So yeah, make sure you vote for Democrat Joel Griffin if you live in SD27, because Griffin’s excellent, and also because the thought of Tara Durant as a State Senator is not a pleasant one.
- Juan Pablo Segura (Republican nominee in SD31): This guy doesn’t have a voting record, and he’s obviously hiding many of his hard-right positions, but what we DO know about him is disturbing. For instance, see Video: Russet Perry Hits Her GOP Opponent as “Liar” Who’s Hiding His Desire to Ban Abortion in Virginia (Segura “personally contributed to the campaigns of both Hung Cao, who compared abortion to the Holocaust, and Yesli Vega, who doubted that women could become pregnant from rape.”); VA “Senate candidate Juan Pablo Segura has supported anti-abortion activist Lila Rose, who has argued that abortion ‘is never medically necessary to save a mother’s life,’ and he has donated to politicians like Rick Santorum, who opposes birth control.” ; etc. So if you live in SD31 (Loudoun/Fauquier), make sure you vote for Democratic nominee Russet Perry, on or (preferably) before November 7th!
- John Stirrup (Republican nominee in HD21): This guy’s also hard-right all the way, but he’s best known for getting caught on audio telling the truth – unlike so many Virginia Republicans running this year – about his position on abortion, which is that he supports totally banning it. For good measure, Stirrup claimed U.S. abortion laws are “the same as North Korea and China, and it’s just, you know, we’re barbarian.” So yeah, if you are a registered voter in HD21, make sure you vote for Democrat Josh Thomas on or before November 7th!
- Geary Higgins (Republican nominee in HD30): This guy is in the running for the most far-right-extremist Republican on this entire list, given that he holds the entire spectrum of MAGA positions on the issues, and also that Trump is a HUGE fan of Higgins, plus he’s “buddies with…local MAGA leader…Dave LaRock…[who] made his mark boosting the ‘Stop the Steal’ deplorables who sacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.” As Democratic nominee Rob Banse put it in a recent ad, “Someone who headlined Stop the Steal rallies alongside convicted insurrectionists, wants to ban all abortions, and supports policies that would allow even criminals and terrorists to buy guns has no place in our government.” Go Rob Banse!
- Chris Obenshain (Republican nominee in HD41): As Del. Rip Sullivan puts it about this guy, who’s related to far-right Sen. Mark Obenshain (see above), “Chris Obenshain is a far-right extremist disguising himself as a moderate. He’s gone on the record supporting a 15-week abortion ban, Youngkin’s tax cuts for the wealthy, and repealing criminal justice reform legislation.” As if that’s all not bad enough, several of Obenshain’s comments at a debate the other night should be automatic disqualifiers – “Chris supports a 15 week ban on abortion. He also wouldn’t oppose a 6 week ban or even a total ban if the bill came to the floor.”; 2. “Chris said there ‘was no climate crisis’ when asked directly about it.”; “Chris said he would vote against repealing the Virginia constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage” So make sure, if you live in HD41, that you vote for Democrat Lily Franklin on or before 11/7!
- Del. Kim Taylor (Republican incumbent in HD82): Her “A” rating from the NRA should disqualify her right there, but there’s lots more bad stuff, sad to say. For instance, according to American Bridge 21st Century, “Kim Taylor Voiced Her Opposition To Abortion After The Dobbs Ruling”; Kim Taylor “Has Ties To Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Which Are Fake Clinics Designed To Mislead Patients About Their Reproductive Health Care Options” And “Is An Anti Abortion Extremist.” etc. So yeah, make sure you vote for Democratic nominee Kimberly Pope Adams on or before 11/7!
- Baxter Ennis (Republican nominee in HD89): Learn more about Ennis here, including that he’s an election denier who believes, falsely, in “many reported cases of rampant [voter] fraud in numerous states”; who’s a big fan of extremist/nutjob Michelle Bachmann; and who rants about “stamp[ing] down on these violent Antifa thugs…Hitler’s Brown Shirt thugs,” etc. Instead of this far-right extremist, let’s make sure we elect Democrat Karen Jenkins!
- Andy Pittman (Republican nominee in HD94): Another faaaar-right Republican, in this case running against superb Democratic nominee Phil Hernandez. Among other things, Pittman said there’s “simply no excuse” for “unwanted pregnancy”; compared abortion to slavery (!); falsely claimed that the “socialists/communists in the democrat [sic] party are trying to steal the election”; called public schools “Govt Indoctrination Centers”; wrote that “anyone who claims Jan 6 was an actual ‘insurrection’ is a liar or an idiot” (spoiler: it most definitely was an insurrection – a violent, pro-Trump one at that!); etc. So yeah…make sure you vote for Demcratic nominee Phil Hernandez on ore before 11/7!
- Del. Karen Greenhalgh (Republican nominee in HD97): Greenhalgh’s a real piece of work; check this out, for instance, in which she makes clear that she’s vehemently anti-women’s-reproductive-freedom. Also, Greenhalgh introduced a bill to – as NY Times’ columnist Jamelle Bouie put it – have “the state to investigate your child’s genitals.” On, and Greenhalgh gets an “A” rating from the NRA. So on or before 11/7, make sure you vote for Democrat Michael Feggans!