F*ck Gerry(mandering) Post-Primary Changes

The Virginia primaries were held a couple weeks ago, and congratulations to all the winners. We didn’t want to step in any intra-party contests, so Round 1 of FuckGerry(mandering) was dedicated to races where Democrats already had their nominee. Now that the Democrats in every district have decided who’s carrying their torch, it’s time to adjust who’s included in the FuckGerry(mandering) roster, and expand the playing field a bit. We’re adding in four Senate races, while in the House, we’re adding in three while taking another three away, where Democrats look like they’re in much better shape than last time we checked in.

So far, Fuck Gerrymandering has raised $60,000 from 1,200 donors.

As of the last campaign finance filing, the fourteen candidates we’ve chosen to support in Round 2 have a combined $869,000 of campaign funds on hand. Their Republican opponents have a combined $2,197,000. That’s over two and a half times as much money, and a raw gap of $1,328,000. Over the next five months, let’s close it.

Additions:

SD-07: Cheryl Turpin has done something no other Democrat in Virginia managed since 2011. She won a district that voted for Trump, when she flipped HD-85 in 2017. She’s an electoral talent, as we saw, and now she’s running for the most evenly divided district in the state. A tough primary campaign means she’s starting the general election without much money on hand. We cannot risk her opponent, Jen Kiggans, in the senate. Kiggans is a right-wing extremist who frequently calls abortion infanticide, and says things like, “Infanticide is not a choice, it is murder.” That is the kind of rhetoric that endangers both abortion providers and the 1 in 3 women who make that choice. We can not allow Kiggans the high profile of the senate.

Support Turpin Here.

SD-10: Ghazala Hashmi stands to be the first Muslim woman to serve in the Virginia legislature—she just has to take down a Republican to do it. Hashmi supports climate action, wants to protect abortion rights under state law, and has rejected money from state-regulated utilities like Dominion Energy and their lobbyists. As a professor and community college administrator, she knows the importance of strong public education, and she’ll fight for it in the Virginia Senate if she beats Republican Senator Glen Sturtevant in this district, which went for Clinton by 13 percentage points. She just won a hard-fought primary, and now she needs our help.

Support Hashmi Here.

SD-12: Debra Rodman also just got through a hard primary, and she faces Republican Siobhan Dunnavant in a district that went for Clinton by 3 points. Dunnavant is a doctor and member of a powerful political family, and she’ll have all the money she needs (although she won’t be able to get away with giving her patients’ information to her campaign this time around)—but Rodman, who beat a Republican incumbent in 2017, has what it takes to face her. With our help, she can kick a Republican dynasty out of Richmond.

Support Rodman Here.

SD-17: Bryce Reeves represents a gerrymandered district that gave Trump less than 50% of the vote, connecting Fredericksburg and Charlottesville in north-central Virginia. He opposes abortion rights, Medicaid expansion, and even the most modest gun control proposals. His opponent, Amy Laufer, is his exact opposite in every way. She’s a former middle school teacher and school board member, as well as the founder of Virginia’s List, an organization dedicated to electing Democratic women in Virginia. She’s running on a platform that includes removing Virginia’s harmful Medicaid work requirement, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, restoring voting rights to former felons, and universal preschool.

Support Laufer Here.

HD-26: Brent Finnegan is a strong progressive who came way closer than anyone expected in 2017. After his primary, he’s low on cash, just like he was in 2017—but it doesn’t have to stay that way. We can give him the money he needs to run an even tougher race this time, and take down Republican incumbent Tony Wilt, who isn’t acting like he’s taking this race seriously for a district that voted for Tim Kaine in 2018—except for a bill he wrote to make it harder for campaigns to reach college students, because this district is anchored by Harrisonburg, home to the 20,000 students of James Madison University. The bill was so stringent it even makes a professor putting two students in the same email illegal. Wilt thinks he can use the law to kneecap his opponent's campaign instead of going out and winning voters. Let’s show him the error of his ways.

Support Finnegan Here.

HD-62: Like Brent Finnegan, Lindsey Dougherty just made it through a rough primary. She’s running against a very well-funded Republican in a district that barely went for Trump. She won’t be able to match the Republican’s money, but with our help she can have enough to knock more doors and make more calls, and that’s how Democrats win. Republicans have taken a break from nominating toxic disaster candidates to land a local mother and school board member, so Dougherty will need every bit of help in this seat that covers traditionally Republican suburbs.

Support Dougherty Here.

HD-81: Len Myers did the party a solid. The 81st is a heavily reconfigured district, stemming from the federal courts undoing some of racial gerrymandering this year. It’s winnable - Trump only carried it 50.4 - 44.5, and out of the 4 statewide races since then, the Democrat candidate won it in 3. But the party couldn’t find anyone to run, so Myers, a civil rights attorney, stepped up to join the fight. His opponent has been around for a decade, and in that time hasn’t accomplished much besides voting with lockstep with Republican leadership, and personally collecting millions from the government for buying land and not developing it.

Support Myers Here.

See Below For A List Of First Round Candidates In Need Of Continued Support

SD-08: One of the tougher 2019 battlegrounds is SD-08, a Virginia Beach district that voted for both Trump and statewide Democrats in 2017. Incumbent Bill DeSteph is stuck in the past, in terms of his tone-deaf crude humor, his attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community (which have somehow moved right in recent years), and his belief that none of this will affect his reelection chances, even in a district statewide Democrats have recently won. Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal promises to be a different type of representative. In the tradition of newly elected Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, she’s focused on getting the details right (in her case entering politics through a local effort to lock school doors during the day) while not losing sight of the big issues like climate change.

HD-27: While Northern Virginia gets the most attention for leftward swings after 2016, the Richmond suburbs had their own. While three Republicans in competitive districts went down, one remained. Roxann Robinson has proved herself to be an adept position, portraying herself a moderate by using the Susan Collins technique of throwing her name on a few popular sounding bipartisan measures that either won’t pass or were easily going to pass without her. In 2017, she received the first real challenge of her career when mental health professional Larry Barnett came 0.4 percent away from unseating the fake moderate.  This year, he’s back for a rematch, campaigning on necessary reforms for the state, ranging from the broader concepts of clean elections to the specifics of community-based mental health services.

HD-28: Virginia Democrats didn’t dream big enough in 2017, and Joshua Cole is the greatest victim of that. HD-28 narrowly voted for Obama and Trump, but had always supported its Republican incumbent, who retired in 2017. Virginia Democrats made the choice not to back up their nominee, Cole, who got outspent by over 3:1, and then went on to lose by an agonizingly close 73 votes. And that was in an election where 384 voters in HD-28 were accidentally given a ballot with a different race on it. Cole is a young progressive and president of his local NAACP who is running on a platform ranging from healthcare to environmental justice to social inclusion, while the incumbent Republican is an anonymous party hack who just lost the Republican primary for not being cruel enough to people who can’t afford health insurance.

HD-66: When Republicans drew the House of Delegates districts in 2011, they did so by illegally packing black voters into just a few districts, an injustice which was finally rectified in 2019 by a federal court. A whopping eleven districts were struck down for this, and the final remedy affected fourteen more, one of which is HD-66. Unwinnable by Democrats before, the new HD-66 voted for Clinton and statewide Democrats in 2017, all by single digits. The race for HD-66 this year carried huge symbolic significance. The election will be between Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, part of the leadership which drew the discriminatory maps in the first place, and black business owner and activist Sheila Bynum-Coleman. People like Cox drew districts so people like Bynum-Coleman couldn’t win against people like him. Now we have a chance to send an advocate for Medicaid and decarceration to the House of Delegates, but it won’t be as simple as the new, bluer district might suggest. As Speaker, Cox will have access to obscene amounts of money, far more than any other Republican running this year.

HD-83: The Stolle siblings are Virginia Beach’s own little political dynasty. While sister Siobhan is a state senator from the Richmond area, the brothers all stayed local. Ken is the city’s sheriff, Colin is its prosecutor, and Chris represents one of its state house seats. But Virginia Beach, the state’s largest city, has been drifting left, and it looks like Democrats will finally have a chance to break the family’s stranglehold. Chris’s district was affected in the racial gerrymandering lawsuit, and now voted for Hillary Clinton by about 5 percent. This makes it fertile ground for Democrat Nancy Guy, a longtime Virginia Beach resident and education activist who also served on the city’s school board for two terms.

HD-84: Glenn Davis Jr. is just another Republican in the House with clear statewide ambitions, spending the 2017 primary literally living out of the van he was campaigning for lt. governor in. So we can assume he’s definitely focused on his district, which voted for Trump by 4 percent, statewide Democrats in 2017, and Davis by a close 3.5 percent against an opponent who barely raised any money. His opponent this year is Karen Mallard. If you’re on the left, you might know her for her 2018 campaign for VA-02, where she ran a full throated progressive primary campaign and finished respectably well against nominee and now Congressmember Elaine Luria. To the right, however, she will always be the woman who was mean to a gun and they cried so hard about it they reported her the ATF. Mallard didn’t let that deter her and in her delegate campaign hasn’t backed down from her progressive vision for the state.

HD-100: The 100th is the most distinctive district in the state. It contains the rural, isolated, and sparsely populated Eastern Shore peninsula, combined with a chunk of the city of Norfolk. The Eastern Peninsula is an incumbent-friendly area, which in 2015 simultaneously voted in landslides for Democratic state senator Lynwood Lewis and Republican delegate Robert Bloxom. Despite it being a Obama-Clinton district, Democrats thought their candidate didn’t have much of a chance until the very end of the campaign, right before Bloxom had an unexpectedly narrow 4 percent reelection. This time around, Phil Hernandez is attempting to hit the ground running as the Democratic nominee. Hernandez was a Senior Policy Analyst in the Obama Whitehouse and has spent his career advocating for the homeless, even managing to write a bill in Virginia that was meaningfully helpful to them, getting the bipartisan support needed to pass the Republican legislature and get signed into law in 2016.

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