Republicans are focusing their efforts in the upcoming elections on winning back control of Virginia’s state House of Delegates, which was taken in 2019 by Democrats, many of whom won by slim margins.
The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which is in charge of helping to elect Republicans to state legislatures, published a list of 13 Virginia districts that they will try to win back in the November 2021 elections.
“No matter where Democrats win, the people lose, and it is absolutely critical that we remind voters of that reality ahead of Virginia’s elections this fall,” said RSLC President Dee Duncan. “While we know the task before us will be a challenge, we are excited about the initial 13 opportunities we have identified throughout the commonwealth to replace extreme liberals who have sold out their constituents to the radical left with commonsense conservatives who will put Virginians first.”
The GOP leadership group has also begun an ad campaign in those 13 districts linking progressive federal policies to state Democrat lawmakers.
“Here’s what we get with Democrats controlling Washington: Rising inflation and higher taxes, unions running our schools, crime rates spiking, while liberals call to defund the police,” the narrator says. “Democrat-controlled Richmond is no different. They hiked taxes and weakened our small businesses. They kept our children locked out of the classroom. And their failures have made Virginia communities less safe.”
Meanwhile, Democrat state House leadership says their party has improved the lives of Virginians by passing gun control measures, abolishing the death penalty, legalizing recreational marijuana, restoring the political rights of felons, and creating the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, which allows voters to sue state officials for “voter suppression.” Republicans opposed the measure, saying it could lead to endless lawsuits over routine changes to election laws.
“I am proud to lead the new majority in building a new legacy for Virginia, one that is more equitable and benefits everyone across the Commonwealth,” said House Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring in a February press statement. “Becoming the first state in the South to abolish the death penalty and legalize marijuana is just the beginning of this next chapter.”
Eleven of the 13 incumbents the Republicans are targeting won by a little over 50 percent of the votes to beat GOP state House incumbents in the 2019 elections, with only 2 winning with a 10-point lead.
Democrats currently hold 55 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegate. Democrat governor Ralph Northam won his election by 9 points and President Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 points.
Virginia’s first-term Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn is trying to help keep her party’s slim majority by telling supporters that if Republicans regain control, they will reverse Democrat progress on gun control, voting, and other laws.
“I do consider Virginia a bellwether [for 2022],” Filler-Corn said in an interview. “We’ve been advocating for these issues but until we actually had the votes and started governing in the majority, we weren’t able to actually pass half these bills. The message we’re going to get out there [is] that Republicans are going to want to roll it all back. And that can’t happen.”