The Situation in Virginia
In 2017, Virginia can and should be the center of national political activity. The citizens of the Commonwealth will elect a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General. All 100 seats in our lower legislative body, the House of Delegates, will also be up for election. We're at the tail end of an extraordinary recruiting effort, and as we exit the primaries, the focus will be mass mobilization and statewide coordinated campaigning.
Step one was to recruit candidates against as many Republicans as possible. Step two was to build a coalition around a core democratic issue: campaign finance reform. As a result, 66 non-incumbent House of Delegates candidates and 2 Lieutenant Governor candidates have signed a pledge to never accept contributions from Dominion or Appalachian Power. These candidates expect, if they win, to sit down and devise policy with these entities that further the interests of their constituents. They also understand the need to build back trust with citizens - to ensure that these conversations with corporate interests are clean.
We hope to establish a viable model that can be replicated across the country. The first test of this model is to see if we can fund these candidates for one term of expected contributions from these particular companies. If we succeed, we will have demonstrated that everyday citizens have a viable route to fund their representatives before corporate interests get the chance.
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...
Activate Virginia was established to support Democratic candidates in the 2017 Virginia elections. We're committed to educating, organizing, and mobilizing the citizenry of the Commonwealth, while simultaneously helping candidates secure the resources necessary to win.