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Thought Leadership

The Important Elections That Nobody’s Talking About

There is a critical election happening this November. While much of the national focus has been on next year’s presidential race, Virginia’s state legislative elections this year have high stakes. With policies regarding Medicaid, education, transportation, redistricting, and more all decided at the state level, Democrats everywhere must step up to flip control of more and more state legislatures, and that starts with the Virginia House of Delegates and the Virginia state Senate.

Virginia is the only state this year where partisan control of the legislature is teetering on the edge–Democrats are just two seats away from flipping both chambers and taking control of the state. Victories in these elections mean Democrats would have the power to draw congressional and legislative maps after the 2020 census that will be used for the next decade.

Democrats, particularly pro-choice Democratic women, have proven they can win in Virginia. In 2017, more women than ever were elected in Virginia, including women of color, first-generation Americans, and the first openly transgender woman in the country elected to a state legislature. These victories happened despite district lines that the court has since declared unconstitutionally drawn in favor of Republicans. With new maps in place this year, the Democratic-leaning electorate will be in an even stronger position to win more seats.

This comes none too soon, as a Republican majority in the General Assembly has blocked critical legislation like gun safety measures, protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Flipping the General Assembly will be instrumental in bettering the lives of millions of Virginians. If we work hard and mobilize voters, we can flip Virginia and send a powerful message for Democrats nationwide to keep a critical focus on state legislative races and build needed momentum for 2020.

Earlier this month, the Sister District Project and EMILY’s List teamed up to host dozens of events across the country in support of Virginia state legislative candidates during a Weekend of Action. We continue to encourage Virginians to get involved with the Commonwealth’s elections this November, and activists across the country to support Virginia remotely.

In total, Sister District teams hosted 23 partnership events across the country, and that week we saw our highest number of calls in one week yet, making over 7,000 calls to support seven incredible women running to lead in Virginia.

If we learned anything in 2018, it is that the first step towards victory is showing up. Let’s start the momentum for 2020 this year in Virginia.

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