Virginia Republicans are just two seats away from passing an abortion ban.
That may seem hard to believe, given just how blue the state has become over the last two decades, but it's the harsh reality. Thanks to a rough election in 2021, Democrats lost control of the governorship and the state House—and if the state Senate had been up that year too, Republicans would have already passed a ban by now. We know that because Gov. Glenn Youngkin has been pushing a ban ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
But as it is, we're clinging to just a 22-18 majority in the Senate, and this November, every seat in both chambers of the legislature will go before voters. And the GOP only needs to flip two districts to gain total control of Virginia's government because the state's far-right lieutenant governor can break ties in the Senate.
But there's good news, too: We have a slate of very strong candidates running under the Democratic banner this fall, and we only need to flip three seats to take back the House and drive a stake into the Republican dream of restricting abortion rights in Virginia.
That's why Daily Kos is endorsing a fantastic slate of Democrats for both the House and Senate who will ensure Virginia enjoys a bright progressive future. Can you donate $5 to each of these candidates today?
Our roster includes amazing people running for the Senate like Danica Roem, who made history in 2018 when she became the first openly transgender person in America to be seated in a state legislature, following her successful election to the state House. Schuyler VanValkenburg is a U.S. government teacher and union member who's been a champion of Virginia's public schools while serving in the House. Russet Perry is a former CIA officer and prosecutor who has secured justice for victims of child abuse, elder abuse, and gun violence. Joel Griffin is a Marine Corps veteran who earned an award from the military for his heroism at the Pentagon following the 9/11 attacks.
Our House endorsees are no less accomplished. Joshua Cole is a pastor and former delegate who's making a comeback after losing by less than 700 votes in 2021; while in the House, he led the successful effort to rename the Jefferson Davis Highway as Emancipation Highway. Kimberly Pope Adams is a single mother and accountant who works for the state auditing waste, fraud, and abuse. Karen Jenkins is a mental health professional and school board member who's been an outspoken advocate for education and public safety.
Josh Thomas joined the Marines after 9/11 and served in Afghanistan, then returned home to become an attorney, helping people to launch their own businesses. Susanna Gibson is a public health expert who has served her community as a nurse practitioner for the last 15 years. Michael Feggans is an Air Force veteran who founded his own small business and became a cybersecurity entrepreneur. Travis Nembhard is a lawyer who has investigated white-collar crime and provides pro bono legal services to immigrants in need.
All of these Democrats will stand up for the right thing, whether it's protecting abortion rights, fighting climate change, safeguarding the right to vote, investing in our schools, ensuring access to affordable healthcare, and much, much more. And they're all running in districts we can win—with our help.
But their Republican opponents are as awful as you'd expect. To take just a couple of examples, John Stirrup, who's running against Thomas in Northern Virginia's 21st District, has repeatedly expressed his total opposition to abortion rights. "I would support a 100 percent ban," he was recorded saying earlier this year. Meanwhile, Republican incumbent Karen Greenhalgh, whom Feggans is challenging in the 97th District in Virginia Beach, has tried to pass legislation that would require mandatory genital examinations for students who participate in school sports.
If Republicans prevail, they won't just stop with abortion. They'll continue their war on trans kids, they'll roll back environmental protections, they'll sabotage public schools by pushing voucher programs, and they'll even be in a position to help Donald Trump steal Virginia's electoral votes. What's more, Youngkin is itching to flip the Senate in order to boost his own presidential ambitions.
Republicans want to win very badly; we have to want it more. That's why we're going to need to fight like hell this fall. You can do your part to combat GOP dark money with people-powered grassroots donations. The elections are coming up very soon, and these are some of the most critical races on the ballot anywhere in the country this year, so there's no time to waste.
Please donate $5 to each of these extraordinary Daily Kos-endorsed progressives who are fighting to turn Virginia blue again!
American political parties might often seem stuck in their ways, but they can and in fact do change positions often. Joining us on this week's episode of "The Downballot" is political scientist David Karol, who tells us how and why both the Democratic and Republican parties have adjusted their views on a wide range of issues over the years. Karol offers three different models for how these transformations happen—and explains why voters often stick with their parties even after these shifts. He concludes by offering tips to activists seeking to push their parties when they're not changing fast enough.