When you head south on I-95 and pass Exit 148, you have crossed from Blue Virginia (Prince William County) into Red Virgina (Stafford County). It wasn't too long ago that Democrats in Stafford County were an endangered species. We're still at-risk and facing a formidable and wealthy Republican Party, but we have a pulse, we're growing, and we plan to do some damage in 2007 and 2008.
On Saturday, December 9th, the Stafford County Democrats met. Our special guest was our candidate for Congress from VA-01, Shawn O'Donnell. The best news to my mind was Shawn is going to come back again in 2008. He ran a good campaign in a tough, GOP-custom-built district that stretches almost 200 miles from Faquier County all the way to Hampton; Jo Ann Davis, the incumbent, had been unopposed the last two cycles. We'd love to get this to a second-tier race by 2008, and having the continuity of a more-known candidate will help.
More immediately, we have local elections in 2007: 14 races, 11 of them partisan, with only one Democrat as an incumbent, Supervisor Pete Fields. Finding viable candidates for the State Senate and two House of Delegate seats will be especially tough, as the GOP incumbents include the Speaker of the House, Bill Howell, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, John Chichester. There are a raft of county offices as well, and we're hoping Cindy Sellars will run again for Stafford County Treasurer, she is an appealing candidate who got a very late start last time.
Battling an entrenched and rich opponent isn't glamorous, but it's necessary. Stafford's demographics are changing (it's the 19th-fastest growing county in the U.S.), it's getting more urban, more commuter-oriented, more diverse, and the long-range trends look positive.
I'll be filing periodic entries as we fight the ground war in what's been hostile territory.