Here in Virginia, clean candidates who pledge to stay that way — whether that’s through votes on energy or campaign reform, get a nice little — and sometimes hefty — boost from a PAC called Clean Virginia. And we ain’t talking chump change. This group gives millions – usually to solid lawmakers and candidates and almost always to Democrats, although they are a non-partisan organization.
Just last week I had a nice interview with Clean Virginia. I spoke about my own vision for clean energy and reduced carbon footprints. They asked if I would refuse campaign donations from big energy companies like Dominion and Appalachian Power as well as not owning stock in these companies. Easy peasy, no-brainer stuff for a candidate who understands the existential threat of climate change. I took the pledge happily. To thank me, Clean Virginia popped $1,000 into my candidate account.
Imagine my surprise the following day while scrolling my Facebook feed to see a sponsored/targeted ad from Clean Virginia, thanking Anne Ferrell Tata, my Republican opponent and incumbent in the House of Delegates 99th District – Virginia Beach’s most affluent area. The ad features my opponent’s face, a “thank you for putting Virginian’s first” message, and a button directing people to her email so they could thank her personally, possibly with a donation to her campaign. I said, out loud and to myself, “C’mon man. Are they kidding?”
This woman has taken donations from both the utility companies the PAC is pushing back against and owns stock in Dominion – Clean Virginia’s arch nemesis. Surely they knew that. She is also a MAGA Republican, a forced birther, who recently tried to push anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and keeps company with wacky Michelle Bachmann. To my knowledge, ALL of these things would make her persona non-grata for an organization like Clean Virginia.
So I tweeted and pointed the question at them directly.
I got a phone call from the nice young man who manages such things for the PAC and who was previously the money intake man for Virginia’s Democratic Party. We had a spirited conversation where he defended the move to run the ad, reminded me they are a “one-issue” organization, and said that when it comes to all that other non-environmental stuff — voting rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ issues — stuff she and her base so happily work against – Clean Virginia agreed with me and admitted that we are aligned on those issues. However, he would not agree to put out a statement distancing themselves from her as they had done with Amanda Chase (self-described Trump in Heels) three years prior when they became aware of her racist statements. He wouldn’t budge on this one.
Now, here’s the thing, this is not just me being salty – promise. There were more sponsored ads thanking other Virginia Lawmakers like Republican Mike Cherry a parochial school administrator who will fight to strip women of their reproductive rights and an ENDORSEMENT for Chad Green – a Republican candidate cut from that same cloth.
Richard Walker – a candidate for our House of Delegates is suggesting recipients of Clean Virginia donations give those donations back.
House of Delegates Candidate Jessica Anderson is giving back her donation and refusing the PAC’s endorsement. Listen to her explain it… m.dailykos.com/...
Other Virginia Candidates started to take notice and asked the PAC to make this right. Clean Virginia is either endorsing or doing things that come across as endorsements for candidates who aren’t putting Virginians first – unless those Virginians LOOK like them and believe the SAME way they do – the MAGA way.
Take Erika Yalowitz, candidate for Virginia Senate.
And Victoria Luevanos, a candidate for Virginia Senate.
Susan Hippen – also running for our House of Delegates and who has taken donations from the PAC before is also calling on Clean Virginia to do the right thing. You can read her stance here www.dailykos.com/…
This is a dangerous time in our country for women, LGBTQ+, school children, people of color, drag queens, passionate Tenessee legislators, beer cans… It’s a longer list than I can provide for you here and it’s only getting longer. Clean Virginia has now associated itself with candidates who would vote to hurt Virginians (whether Clean Virginia is willing to see it or not.) Sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Or, as They Might Be Giants puts it, “Can’t shake the Devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.”
As for me, after I purchase the voter list, I might use the rest of their donation to buy a couple of bikes to use when door-knocking so we can campaign with a zero-carbon footprint when possible. That’s my promise to Clean Virginia – actual effort and an understanding that fossil fuels are finite, just like my patience with the extreme right. And until this PAC distances itself from these candidates, I will not take another dime from them and I need all the dimes I can get to win this race. I’m here for it and you can donate and help. I would love to engage – please comment and let's discuss.