Hundreds of Arlington volunteers canvassed, called, texted and wrote to voters as far away as Virginia Beach in effort to flip the legislature blue
ARLINGTON, VA., Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019—The Arlington County Democratic Committee (Arlington Dems) was confident its volunteers would rise to the challenge of defending the races within Arlington’s borders in Tuesday’s (Nov. 5) off-off year election.
But the likelihood of a groundswell of support for Democratic victories in the remainder of the state wasn’t nearly as strong. And contests beyond Arlington would determine whether this election would deliver the historic results that would shift the balance of political power in Richmond.
The commonwealth is the only state in the country in which Democrats are regarded as having a serious shot at flipping both houses of its legislature on Tuesday. Virginia Republicans now have only a two-seat majority in both the House of Delegates and the Senate. Given its lingering status as a “purple” state, a flip of the General Assembly also would be viewed as further repudiation of the policies of President Donald Trump and a bellwether for Democrats headed into the 2020 presidential election.
Arlington Dems Campaign As Far Away as Virginia Beach
Arlington Dems decided early to unleash its resources to support strategic contests beyond Arlington. Together with Arlington Young Democrats, the organization and its committees, including Beyond Arlington and Arlington Blue Families:
- Supported 21 General Assembly candidates outside of Arlington through canvassing, calls, and/or campaign contributions. This included 14 House and 7 Senate candidates.
- Wrote and sent 20,000 postcards to voters in support of 14 Democratic candidates, including 11 challengers.
- Deployed more than 100 volunteers to canvass for Democratic candidates in Chesterfield, Fairfax, Fauquier, Fredericksburg, and Prince William counties, and in the Virginia Beach area, essentially every weekend since late August.
- Conducted 25 phone banks since August, or an average of two a week, urging voters in swing districts to cast ballots for Democratic candidates.
- Featured “Beyond Arlington” candidates at all of its marquee events throughout the summer and fall, to raise awareness in the county about the importance of volunteering and supporting candidates outside of Arlington whose election would help to bring meaningful legislative reform to the commonwealth.
For example, Sheila Bynum-Coleman, who is again seeking to unseat District 66 Del. and Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (Chesterfield), was featured at the Arlington Dems October Golden Gala, one of the organization’s highest-profile annual events. Bynum-Cole appeared alongside District 9 Sen. Jennifer McClellan (Richmond) and Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, one of the nation’s most influential gun safety organizations. Polls conducted across Virginia have identified gun safety as a pivotal issue for voters in this election. Other events featured District 2 Del. Jenniffer Carroll Foy (Ashburn/Prince William), District 50 Del. Lee Carter (Manassas/Prince William), District 28 delegate candidate Joshua Cole (Fredericksburg/Stafford) District 10 Del. Wendy Gooditis (Loudoun/Frederick), District 13 Del. Danica Roem (Manassas), District 86 Del. Ibraheem Samirah (Fairfax/Loudoun), and District 42 Del. Kathy Tran (Fairfax).
Recognizing the need to engage new generations of voters for this election and the 2020 presidential election, the Arlington Young Democrats have been particularly active this election cycle. Since September, the group held weekly canvass trips across the commonwealth, knocking on close to 4,500 doors, making 350 phone calls, and talking face-to-face with nearly 5,500 eligible voters.
“Arlington is fortunate to have an electorate that largely supports progressive candidates, as well as very engaged volunteers,” Arlington Democrats Chair Jill Caiazzo said. “We recognized the historic opportunity to achieve progressive policy priorities in our commonwealth. Our volunteers have fought hard across the state to elect Democratic candidates to the General Assembly who will pass important legislation on healthcare accessibility, economic opportunity for all, gun safety, women’s, voter, and reproductive rights, and other critical issues.”
“We believe this election will have historic implications for Virginia and will be a shot across the bow to the White House that 2020 is coming. We are just getting started,” added Arlington Young Democrats President Dan Matthews.
Committed to taking care of its own in Arlington, Arlington Dems also:
- Raised nearly $50,000 in Arlington, including through events such as the one headlined by Watts.
- Delivered about 52,000 Arlington Democratic Messenger newsletters by hand via 450 volunteers across 500 routes.
- Sent more than 56,000 texts supporting Democratic candidates and urging Arlington voters to cast ballots.
- Conducted a paid social media campaign that is on course to generate more than 100,000 impressions through content supporting Arlington Democratic candidates and causes.
- Recruited and trained 650 poll greeters that will be deployed throughout the county on Election Day to offer voters Democratic sample ballots, a significant legion in an off-off year election.
Coalescing around the theme “Turn Virginia Blue, Keep Arlington Blue,” Arlington Dems began its efforts early. Its largest event of the year, the annual Blue Victory Dinner, in May highlighted Arlington’s 14 races, as well as four Democratic candidates outside of Arlington: District 87 Del. John Bell, seeking the Senate District 13 seat (Loudoun County); Cole; Dan Helmer, running for the District 40 House of Delegates seat (Fairfax); and Shelly Simonds, seeking the District 94 House of Delegates seat (Newport News).