Video: DLCC Briefing on VA Legislative Races – “cautiously optimistic”; “make no mistake, an unchecked Republican trifecta would be devastating”

Video: DLCC Briefing on VA Legislative Races – “cautiously optimistic”; “make no mistake, an unchecked Republican trifecta would be devastating”

Yesterday, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) held a Zoom press conference “to provide updates on key legislative races and unveil our ‘Path to the Majority’ in both the Virginia Senate and Virginia House. Per the DLCC:

“…one week after the start of early voting as we discuss where we stand after the first week of votes being cast, the key issues and candidates affecting the races for the majority, and what the DLCC believes is our best path to the majority in both the Virginia Senate and Virginia House.”

The Zoom press conference featured DLCC Interim President Heather Williams, along with three Democratic candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates – Kimberly Pope Adams (HD-82)Michael Feggans (HD-97), and Delegate Rodney Willett (HD-58). See below for video and a few highlights.

  • DLCC Interim President Heather Williams: “Early voting is already underway, and after reviewing the first week of data, we’re feeling cautiously optimistic about our chances to hold the VA Senate and take back the VA House…make no mistake, an unchecked Republican trifecta would be devastating…With how extreme VA Rs have gotten, there’s no telling how far they might go. But what is clear is that the stakes of this election could not be higher”
  • DLCC Interim President Heather Williams: “We know that everything is on the line in 2023. Virginia is the last state in the South to still have reproductive freedoms, and under a Republican trifecta, fundamental freedoms we hold near and dear will be taken away. The DLCC has left nothing to chance this election. Wwe became the first national organization to invest in Virginia, starting with a special election all the way back in January…To date, the DLCC has committed well above seven figures to the Virginia House and Senate caucuses, including wiring an additional $400,000 to the Senate caucus just last week. We have also invested significant staff time and other resources to counter the  barrage of spending from Governor Glenn Youngkin and others trying to flood the state. Our early spending in the spring helped build a strong foundation and critical infrastructure in Virginia so that Democrats on the ground can take full advantage of late spending and support. We know that everything is on the line and this is the most important election of 2023…We’re continuing to encourage all of our Democratic voters to vote early and make sure that they’re getting their friends and families to vote…We plan on continuing to invest in these races, make sure our people are getting out to vote and countering the lies and distortions coming from Governor Youngkin…Make no mistake, an unchecked Republican trifecta would be devastating: you will see an abortion ban if that happens and other fundamental freedoms would be taken away. With how extreme Virginia Republicans have gotten, there’s no telling how far they might go. But what is clear is that the stakes of this election could not be higher.”
  • DLCC Interim President Heather Williams: “As for the actual map itself and our path to the majorities, let’s start with the Virginia Senate. Right now we have a chamber margin of 22 Democrats and 18 Republicans. Looking at the map, we believe we have 17 reliable blue districts, and so we must win four of seven competitive seats to keep our majority…Our best five opportunities are two must-protect incumbents in Senator Aaron Rouse in Senate District 22 and Senator Monty Mason in Senate District 24 – two experienced campaigners – and Delegate Danica Roem in Senate District 30 and Delegate Schuyler Van Valkenburg in Senate District 16. Our fifth race is a first-time candidate, Russet Perry, in Senate District 31, who is running a great campaign. Every single seat matters in the Senate. There are additional districts we are targeting and watching and we will work with our partners in state to go after any seat we think we can win to make sure Democrats hold this critical chamber.”
  • DLCC Interim President Heather Williams “As for the House, three of our best candidates are here with me today and you’ll be hearing from them about why these elections matter and why there’s nothing more important for people of Virginia than protecting their fundamental freedoms. On the House side, we need 51 seats to take the majority and we have multiple paths to get there. We believe we have 46 reliable Democratic districts and are targeting our fastest route to get the five more seats needed for the majority could reflect the following. First we’ll protect incumbent delegates Nadarius Clark in House District 84 and Rodney Willett in House District 58. Then, we’ll finish with strong campaigns with Phil Hernandez in House District 94, Michael Feggans in House District 97, Joshua Thomas in House District 21, Kimberly Pope Adams in House District 82, and Joshua Cole in House District 65. These candidates are all running tight races, but we’re optimistic with where they are. The full map of course is much bigger and with multiple paths to victory. If we come up short in any of the races already mentioned, we have competitive races across the state to get us to 51 and hopefully more. This includes candidates like Karen Jenkins in House District 89 and Travis Nembhard in House District 22.”
  • DLCC Interim President Heather Williams “Overall, we feel good about where we’re at, but we know we have a lot of work in front of us. We feel better than we did in 2021 and feel confident that we’re able to match Governor Youngkin’s resources for now. However, Republicans continue to invest massive resources into these races, and they’re spending big to try to buy their way into full control. It is going to take every resource we can muster and every candidate here with us today to make the case against the Republican opponents and their extremist positions.”
  • Kimberly Pope Adams: “I’m homegrown, and this race is personal to me because this is my community, these are my family, my friends, my colleagues, my neighbors. So for me, when I campaign, when I knock doors, it is about all of us. And we are at such a pivotal moment, because as I’ve said, our freedoms are at risk of being taken away – certain freedoms that I, as a 40 year old Black woman, have had my entire life, are now threatened. I don’t want my son to have fewer freedoms than I have, and the only way to do that is to make sure that we have Democrats in office who are fighting for our best interests and legislating for for us all, not just for the few.”
  • Michael Feggans: “It’s an incredible privilege to run to represent…the same community that I grew up in. It’s also, this is my second service, for serving for 20 years, for serving all around the world, to come back home, and then to see that the same rights that you fought for, that you gave up so much of your personal life, to come back home and see that that those rights are now being taken away is incredibly disturbing. And so we have the message that we are trying to protect freedom. And like Kim said, we are trying to protect freedom, we’re not the party that’s trying to take away your personal freedom for health care, your personal freedom to make sure that you have the the right to vote and the freedom to go to school as a child and not fear from gun violence. That is what we are trying, that is what the Democrats here in Virginia, across the Commonwealth, are trying to to ensure.”
  • Del. Rodney Willett: “I would be absolutely honored to be serving with with Kim and Michael here in the in the legislature. I’m just going to bring it back to where I came from, where I come from now, raised in a family of teachers; my dad directed me towards law school and I got into the technology world so I’ve been a small business entrepreneur. I get a lot of questions around where to focus on things and why I’m here, why I’m running for this. There’s certainly an easier path out there for all of us. This legislative thing…and election thing is definitely a grind. But to me, it just all really comes back, if I had to put it on one thing, it just comes back to our kids – education, the educational environment, we’ve got to fund the schools, got to take care of our teachers with salaries, support them with support staff, with counselors. And  then as we’ve been talking, provide a safe environment. I mean, how can we expect our kids to learn when their lives are literally at threat. I didn’t think about things like that when I was a kid. I thought about a lot of other things in school, but I certainly wasn’t worried fearing for my life. And that’s the environment our kids are living in today and that’s just wrong. And…people ask me why I’m still doing this – and that’s why; I can’t live with with that not being addressed. And I’d like to get back to more proactively make the schools safe and then really focus on raising the levels of education, expanding early childhood – we’ve done a little bit of that, we need to do more. But it’s basically providing an environment where those kids are going to do well, because if they do well, they’re going to become great workers, they’re going to work for companies like mine and others and support this Virginia small business economy…and that makes the whole thing work. So I think that’s why all of us are here. And we’re going to keep at it, we really are, because there’s the stakes are so high.”

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