By Caroline Vakil
Democrats are laying out the stakes for critical Virginia state Legislature races happening next month, saying in a memo to donors Tuesday that was first shared with The Hill that it’s a “battle between extremism and commonsense.”
The memo — authored by members of the House Democratic Caucus, Senate Democratic Caucus and The Majority Project — emphasizes that control of both the House of Delegates and state Senate hangs in the balance, and that abortion access in the state, gun safety and voting rights are all on the line.
Democrats are also leaning into the issue of a potential government shutdown in mid-November, should Congress be unable to pass government funding past that point, and targeting three Congressional Republicans who voted against a 45-day stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown.
“While every Virginia Democrat voted to keep the federal government open, the majority of Virginia Republicans in Congress voted to shut it down. As we approach election day, we’ll also approach the next point where the MAGA extremists will try to shut down the government (November 17), putting this issue front-and-center for voters again,” the memo said. “If the government shuts down, our troops and federal government workers won’t get paid, kids won’t get the food they were counting on, and every day Virginians won’t get the benefits they need.”
The group noted that since March, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has raised $15.5 million in supporting Republicans in down-ballot races, while Republican candidates have raked in roughly $10.5 million in the most recent reporting period, according to Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP).
Democratic candidates have raked in $15.8 million, in addition to outside investments from groups such as the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
“The good news is that Democratic candidates are keeping pace in their fundraising against Republicans,” the memo said. “Per VPAP, of the seven House seats that are considered most competitive, four have Democratic fundraising advantages and one has a GOP advantage, the other two are even. On the Senate side, the four Senate seats that are toss-ups are split evenly in terms of fundraising, with one Democratic advantage, one GOP advantage, and two split evenly.”
The memo also outlined variables that Virginia Democrats believed needed to align in order to see success Nov. 7.
“For Democrats to succeed, it will take a combination of elements: (A) Voters have to know the consequences of total MAGA control – abortion bans, weaker gun laws, higher costs, fewer voting rights, and more; (B) Black, Latino, and young voters across the commonwealth have to be energized and engaged to elect Democrats and reject Republican extremism; (C) Suburban voters, specially suburban women, will be critical to stopping the MAGA takeover in Richmond, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia,” the memo said.
Legislature races in the Old Dominion are roughly a month away and are largely being viewed as a bellwether over which issue sets are resonating among voters, including the issues of abortion and crime.
Both the governor’s mansion and House of Delegates are controlled by Republicans, while the state Senate is controlled by Democrats.
The race is also being viewed as a test for Youngkin, who has endorsed a group of candidates in the down-ballot races and whose Spirit of Virginia PAC has been fundraising heavily for the fall elections. Youngkin has largely been floated as a potential White House contender, and a win for the Virginia Republican could buoy prospects of a presidential bid.