What the hell is going on in the Democratic Party chapter of House District 49? And where the hell is the DPVA Chair?
This is a sordid tale of egomaniacs and idiots.
The current Republican party is one that openly supports insurrection and extremism. They are not the party that is at all interested in working for and providing representation to voters who are by disposition moderate, pragmatic and sensible.
Such voters live everywhere. Such voters live in rural counties and in urban areas. Such voters live in small counties and large ones.
Sensible voters live in small farming hamlets, and they live alongside us all everywhere, including on the stretches of shorelines. The thing that binds us all is that we look for representation. We look for representation in our government.
However, this can be prevented when a meddling party district chair interferes and puts up obstructions against a nascent candidacy.
Why would anyone do that, you ask?
That, is the real question.
Here we have Jasmine Lipscomb, a mom, a former Marine, a veteran, and a bona fide willing candidate. She wants to run in Virginia House District 49. However, the Democratic Party of Virginia and the Democratic powers of House District 49 are busy playing stupid games with her candidacy, and hurting the Democratic voters and other potential pragmatic allies in that district who would like representation.
If you’re wondering where Virginia HD 49 is on the map —
Virginia Democrats held the state majority in the years between 2019-2021. Those were some great two years out of the last 22, when Republicans ran the state. After the last election, the Democrats lost the executive branch and the Virginia House to Republicans. Democrats still hold the Virginia Senate.
Democrats have so much to offer in any place they run, in any district within Virginia. Given all the other aspects of crazy Republican-proposed laws in other states, Virginia’s Senate Democrat majority remains a bulwark on the frontlines of a culture war being waged by Republicans. Believe me, our Governor would like to join the governors of other red states and enact radical rightwing laws, here in the Old Dominion.
Here’s a tweet by Virginia Democrats clearly stating what we all fear — that the Democrats will lose the full legislature to the Republicans and we will have open season of radical laws passed by the party of extremists.
Here’s an excerpt from that article — a literal clarion call — alerting us all as to the horrors that may come into place if Virginia loses it’s blue legislative firewall against Glen Youngkin and the insurrectionist, extremist, Republican party and their crazy agenda:
Democratic Virginia state Sen. Jennifer Boysko does not want to imagine what her state might look like if Republicans regain full control of the legislature this November.
All 100 seats in Virginia’s House of Delegates and all 40 seats in its Senate will be on the ballot. Democrats currently hold a 22-18 Senate majority, Republicans narrowly control the House, and Republican Glenn Youngkin’s term as governor runs through January 2026.
“I think there are a lot of very frightening things in our future if we do not hold the majority in the Senate, and if we don’t have a successful election year for the Democrats. I think there are really five areas,” Boysko told the American Independent Foundation: reproductive rights, gun violence prevention, LGBTQ+ equality, voting rights, and climate protections.
“And a sixth would be the economy,” she added. “I think he wants to shift all the revenues that we have to serve our community into tax cuts for big corporations
And yet, it is those very same Virginia Democrats who are willfully ceding a R(+6) district to the Republican incumbent in House District 49 by not running the only Democrat who came forward and offered to run.
Honestly, at this point I have to wonder if the party power holders in the Virginia Democratic apparatus are a bunch of poseurs who play at a role on Twitter and in Richmond.
Democrats have a unique set of ideas to offer. Our ideas do well when we run in every district. The best practitioners of Democratic party politics do exactly that — run candidates in all districts. It’s a clear philosophy of the 90for90 org, and of Dr. Ferguson Reid Sr., who believes that people in all districts have the right to representation.
Even if Lipscomb does not win, in running for that spot in the legislature, she would still be providing representation to many people in the district who will vote for her because she is running on ideas of inclusion. That is how an opposition base is built locally. By running in that district, Jasmine Lipscomb is including the Democratic voter, and also the sensible moderate voter into the political system. She is offering them an inclusive platform to represent them.
That is what a good candidate does, and I have NO DOUBT that Ms. Lipscomb is exactly that kind of a good candidate. She has a social conscience and an obvious inclination to serve the larger community. This is evident. That impetus to be of service is also at the root of her desire to join the NAACP to serve the larger community.
And yet, the DPVA’s HD49 nominating committee has played games with Ms. Lipscomb to prevent her from running in a R(+6) district.
This was recently documented in this diary by our own Zen Trainer:
The Democratic committees in the county do a “call to caucus”, sort of a “Hey, everyone, who wants to run?” The call to caucus lasts a week or so. Every county is different; in every instance so far, they have asked for a range from $0 to $250, sometimes refundable, no signatures required.
Well, except for one, Jasmine Lipscomb. She stepped up to run during the call to caucus and was told by her county district committee that she needed to pay a nonrefundable $500 and gather 100 signatures. WTF?!?!
Instead, the party chair of the 5th Congressional District was brought in to deal with Lipscomb, and along with the statewide DPVA — in concert — they cancelled the Democratic side of the election, they cancelled a local candidacy to cede the district to it’s current Republican incumbent — Danny Marshall.
Lipscomb, along with a few other potential candidates running in Virginia were asked for a high dollar non-refundable fee to run. She was also asked to present 100 signatures. The district chair made this a punitive burden for anyone who could possibly run as a Democrat in that district. Democratic officials in the district have acted against small d-democracy.
This entire thing makes no sense.
Their specific requirement for Ms. Lipscomb (or any other candidate) smacks of a new kind of poll-tax.
These financial expectations and demands as a prelude to a possible candidate’s run, seem like an extraordinary requirement, an imposition, an undue burden, even while it is being presented as mere steps in filing for candidacy.
There is no consistency across districts with regards to financial and signature requirements.
These requirements need to be written into an overarching Party Plan — evenly applicable in all HDs and SDs of Virginia. If there is to be a financial requirement, they should be equal and normative — in amount — for all districts. Why is there such a vast anomaly in terms of expectations from one House District to another? What drives such differences in expectations of actual fees and candidate rules?
Here’s an example of a difference —
you can see at this link for the Virginia House District call to caucus, there is a requirement for a $200, however, it’s refundable.
Yes, there are other districts that have non-refundable dollar requirement, but $500 seems kind of high to me for that area.
What is Section 10.6?
Jasmine Lipscomb stepped up to run but didn’t have the $500. The very presence of that non-refundable dollar requirement from any potential candidate is problematic.
Also, was there a Democratic Caucus Convention called for District 49?
Yes, indeed there was. They could select her to run. But they have not.
But here's the crux of the conflict — Jasmine Lipscomb is a military trained paralegal. She can read the rules and she understands them well. She saw violations and called them on it. One such violation is prescribed in Rule 7.4*
*(The rule 7.4 has been changed in the last few weeks to rule 7.3 in the current rule book. It’s the same thing though.)
Rule 7.4 (*now known as Rule 7.3) — no one from outside the district can be chair. No one from outside the district can make decisions regarding a candidate.
And so, actions defined by Section 10.6 never materialized.
Just so we are clear: Jasmine Lipscomb is the only Democratic candidate who offered to run. The $500 is not an issue anymore, and neither is the 100 signature requirement. So why is she not the certified candidate for the Democratic Party in HD49?
The DPVA chair, and the 5th Congressional District’s chair — Ms. Harper-Tunley’s feelings are prioritized at the expense of a winnable seat. The Democratic voters and other moderate voters of HD49 are not important at all — particularly in a winnable R(+6) district!
In effect, the current chair of the state wide Democratic party ran for that Big Chair, saying that she was looking forward to “build an even stronger Democratic Party for all Virginians.”
Is this how that is done? By preventing Democrats from running in a R(+6) district against the incumbent Republican?
Is this what it means to have a “stronger” Democratic Party of Virginia?
Or perhaps we should call it what it really is — what we have here in fact is the Democratic Party of Danny Marshall (R)TM.
He gets an uncontested seat in the Virginia Legislature because of how “strong” the Virginia Democrats are as a party.
The House District 49 Democratic power structure openly prefers a Republican incumbent to supporting and running with a new, eminently qualified Democratic candidate.
Yay DPVA Chair!
Yay, Patricia Harper Tunley!
Take a bow. Y’all are definitely making good on the promise to make Democrats strong by NOT running in a R(+6) district.
The other really fishy thing is the use of variant scripts in this letter sent to Jasmine Lipscomb. Almost as if it was shopped for thoughts and phrases, as the chairs worked to keep her out of running. And CD-5 chair misspelled her own name?!
I do wonder why the D hierarchy is so mired in pettiness.
Update: Because of the discussions here on Daily Kos, on Twitter and on Facebook, there appears to be some softening in the DPVA’s position, and the Democratic district chair’s stance on Jasmine Lipscomb’s candidacy for HD-49.