Former Virginia Governor to be Joined by General Assembly Contenders John Bell, Joshua Cole, Dan Helmer and Shelly Simonds
ARLINGTON, Va., UPDATED Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 9:30 AM—Springboarding from his recent announcement to forego a run for the U.S. presidency to focus on campaigning to flip the Virginia General Assembly to Democratic control, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe will headline the Arlington County Democratic Committee’s (Arlington Dems) annual Blue Victory Dinner on May 11.
Fewer than 100 tickets remain for the marque annual social and fundraising festivities, which this year will include VIP and general receptions, an after-dinner socializing event, a silent auction and entertainment by local musicians. Those remaining tickets are available at 2019 Arlington Democrats Blue Victory Dinner.
McAuliffe to be Joined by 4 Formidable Democratic General Assembly Candidates
To highlight the Virginia Democratic Party’s goal of winning the majority in both houses of the General Assembly in November, McAuliffe will be joined by House of Delegates contenders Shelly Simonds and Joshua Cole, who both lost their 2017 general election bids after voting irregularities, Delegate candidate Dan Helmer, and state Senate candidate Del. John Bell, who is seeking to replace one of the General Assembly’s most radically conservative members, who is retiring.
Simonds of Newport News will again seek to unseat Del. David Yancey after their tumultuous 2017 contest, in which she was declared the loser, then the winner, then in a tie, after a three-judge panel awarded a curiously marked ballot to the incumbent. Yancey was declared the victor after his name was drawn from a bowl.
Cole also will again take on his 2017 candidate, Republican Del. Bob Thomas, who represents a district including part of Stafford County and Fredericksburg. Cole finished the 2017 contest just 73 votes behind Thomas, and following a determination that 143 voters were misdirected to vote in the wrong district.
Bell, a retired U.S. Air Force major, is among several Democratic contenders seeking to replace retiring state Sen. Richard H. Black, in a district representing the western half of Loudoun and a portion of Prince William counties. Black has been notorious for opposing same-sex marriage, vocally supporting human rights and war crimes strongman Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and handing out plastic fetuses to commonwealth legislators to emphasize his opposition to abortion rights.
Helmer, an Army veteran and member of the U.S. Army Reserve, is challenging 10-term Del. Tim Hugo, to represent a district that includes parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties. Hugo defeated 2017 Democratic challenger and former U.S. Air Force Capt. Donte Tanner by a razor-thin 99 votes.
McAuliffe Foregoes Presidential Run to Help Turn Virginia Legislature Blue
McAuliffe just last week announced that he will forego a bid for the presidency to instead respond to appeals from Virginians that he lead the Democratic Party to victories in both houses of the General Assembly in November. The commonwealth is the only state in the country in which Democrats are considered to have a serious shot at turning the entire legislature blue. Virginia Republicans now have only a two-seat majority in both the House of Delegates and the Senate. However, the Democratic Party’s formidable #FightFor51 and #Fightfor21 efforts have had to contend with the high-profile scandals earlier this year involving the Commonwealth’s top three elected officials.
“I had full intentions of running” for president, McAuliffe said in an April 17 interview with The Washington Post. “But after February, when we began to have the issues that we had in Virginia, people began to call … ‘We’re really in a bad way. We really need your help.’ My heart was with Virginia, as much as… I wanted to run for president. It kept tugging at me ... I just didn’t think I could walk away from Virginia.”
Arlington Democrats Chair Jill Caiazzo said McAuliffe is the perfect keynoter for the 2019 Blue Victory Dinner because of this commitment. “There’s nobody better than Gov. McAuliffe to fire up Democrats in Arlington County and beyond, as we work to secure a total blue victory in Arlington and across the commonwealth,” Caiazzo said. “He fully understands the urgency of attaining Democratic majorities in the General Assembly, so that we can achieve a more prosperous, verdant, and inclusive Virginia for all.”
This year’s Blue Victory festivities will begin Saturday, May 11, with VIP and general receptions at 6 p.m., at the Westin Arlington Gateway, 801 N Glebe Road, in Arlington, near the Ballston Metro stop. The 7 p.m. program and dinner will be followed by Arlington Young Democrats’ Blue Victory After Dark Celebration at 9 p.m. Purchase tickets at 2019 Arlington Democrats Blue Victory Dinner.
In addition to remarks by McAuliffe, Bell, Cole and Simonds, and the traditional silent auction, attendees will be entertained by local acoustical blues band Two Blue Band, featuring former Arlington County Board Member Mary Hynes, and local singer Karen Archer.