What is Activate Virginia?
Activate Virginia is a vehicle to address undemocratic phenomena in Virginia, catalyze the emerging popular movement, and achieve Democratic victories with strategies, tactics, and messages that can be replicated nationwide.
Since late 2016, we've been focused on three undemocratic features of VA government: lack of competitive elections, a corrupt campaign finance system, and gerrymandering. Public education has been the foundation of our success.
The Democratic Party
We continue to believe the Democratic Party is the best vehicle through which to achieve fundamental democratic reform. We encourage Virginians to learn about the party rules and apparatus, become involved, and help create a Democratic Party network capable of democratizing Virginia politics.
Campaign Finance Reform
In 2017, 74 House of Delegates candidates and 2 Lieutenant Governor candidates signed our pledge to never accept contributions from Dominion Energy or Appalachian Power. Of these 76 candidates, 52 won their primary elections, and 13 won their general elections.
In 2018, 23 candidates for the Democratic nomination in House of Representatives races have signed the same pledge.
Heading into the November 2017 elections, we put together a coalition that went one step beyond the pledge. 52 candidates and incumbents have committed to - if given the opportunity - vote for a bill that prohibits candidates from soliciting or accepting contributions from public service corporations. Of these 52, 10 will serve in the General Assembly in 2018.
We put together another coalition that went beyond the pledge. 54 candidates and incumbents committed to - if given the opportunity - vote for a repeal of the 2015 "rate freeze" bill, which suspended reviews of electric rates by our SCC. As a result of this bill, according to an SCC report, Dominion Energy has pocketed over a quarter of a billion dollars that – in part – should have been refunded to ratepayers. Of these 54, 12 will serve in the General Assembly in 2018.
The Recent Past
In 2015, we held elections for all 100 House of Delegates seats. Of the 100, 71 of these seats were uncontested. Every incumbent in the general election won. Turnout was abysmal. As it stands, Democrats hold 34 of these House of Delegates seats - one vote away from no longer sustaining our Governor's vetoes.
We asked ourselves: how can this be? We have a Democratic Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. We have two Democratic U.S. Senators. Hillary Clinton won Virginia by nearly 6 points, and she also won several House of Delegates districts currently represented by Republicans. So we started investigating...