Our Next Step Forward
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I write to you to express my intent to run for Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. When my good friend Dickie Cranwell announced he was going to retire as Chairman, I thought back to the time I served with him in the House of Delegates. Joining the House as a freshman Delegate in 1996, I was fortunate to serve in the Democratic majority under Majority Leader Cranwell. His dedication and service to the Democratic Party of Virginia has been truly remarkable, giving decades of his life for the greater good.
After Dickie left the House in 2001, we experienced the worst losses Democrats in Virginia had ever seen. Partisan redistricting and losses at the ballot box reduced our numbers to 34, leaving us without many of our long-serving leaders. It was a tough time to be a Democrat in Virginia.
When you’re dealt a significant blow, it’s not about how you fall but how you get back up. I ran for House Caucus Chair during a time that was tough to be a Democrat. But I knew that if we could come together to build a winning strategy, a stronger community of Democratic leaders and grassroots activists across the state, and a clear mission for the party, we would be able to take back the House.
Over the course of three elections, we came together and fought our way back. I was proud of the work we did, and after the 2007 elections, we got within striking distance of our mission to take back the House. Democrats managed to win in areas where critics didn’t think we could – Loudoun, Virginia Beach, Prince William and Lynchburg. These gains didn’t happen overnight. They only occurred with strong candidates, strategic thinking, statewide teamwork and a lot of old-fashioned shoe leather.
I am ready to take that challenge on again.
Last week, our party lost races that reminded me of those early days in the House of Delegates. We lost great public servants in a wave that swept the country. Congressmen Boucher, Perriello and Nye have my respect and admiration. They have done incredible work in their time in Congress, and I am looking forward to their continuing roles in our party. We also saw strong runs from the future of our party in candidates like Krystal Ball, Rick Waugh, Wynne LeGrow and Jeff Barnett. In a better year, any one of these candidates could have won. Unfortunately, these losses are distinct reminders that we need to come together as a state party to make sure this sort of red wave never sweeps Virginia again.
With a great strategy, a strong community and hard work, we will be able re-elect Jim Webb and President Barack Obama. We can take back the seats we lost on November 2nd while re-electing Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott and my brother, Jim Moran. I will work with Senators Dick Saslaw and Mary Margaret Whipple to keep and expand our majority in the State Senate. I will work together with Delegates Ward Armstrong and Ken Plum to take the majority in the House of Delegates and, with all of us pitching in, we can win back the Governor’s Mansion.
These may seem like lofty goals to some, but with successful candidate recruitment, strong messaging, working with the grassroots, local committees and fundraising, I know these are all within our reach.
As a former Caucus Chairman I have a proven record of successful fundraising, recruiting and supporting candidates throughout Virginia from Scott County to Virginia Beach. I have been traveling Virginia since 2002 working with local chairs, volunteers and grassroots activists, as well as donors. I know Southwest Virginia doesn’t end in Roanoke and each community has their own unique challenges and strengths.
Our success will depend on our continued passion and commitment to our democratic ideals. Starting now, the Democratic Party of Virginia needs to go on the offensive. I know what it is like to take on the Republican Party.
Now is the time for us to fight back.
I hope you’ll join me in this fight as your Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia.