August 6, 2017
Virginia's Open Primary: Progressive Democrats Hope To Shift The Party With Tuesday Wins

Virginia's Democratic and Republican primaries are scheduled for Tuesday, June 13, and progressive candidates have taken to the streets and social media to ask for as many votes as possible. Tuesday's election in Virginia provides progressive candidates with some important opportunities to influence the Virginia Democratic Party and power up their progressive movement. Many of these candidates have been endorsed by Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, and even Bernie Sanders himself.

Virginia holds open primaries, according to WTOP. This means that any registered voter can go to the polls, request the ballot from the party of their own preference, and then vote. Progressive voters in Virginia only have to ask for the Democratic ballot in order to vote for their preferred candidates. Even independent voters, third-party voters, or habitually Republican voters have the right to vote for progressive candidates in Virginia thanks to the open primaries, but registered Virginians wanting to vote for a progressive candidate must ask for a Democratic ballot at their polling location.

Governor of Virginia

Tom Perriello is an Our Revolution-endorsed progressive candidate running for governor of Virginia. Tom has worked as a congressman, teacher at the University of Virginia School of Law, diplomat, and for a non-profit organization working to promote, reduce poverty, and address racial disparity. He earned an A+ score from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Action Fund for his work while serving on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

Friday night, Tom asked Twitter supporters to check in with Our Revolution to help phonebank.

Lt. Governor of Virginia

Bernie Sanders-backed Justin Fairfax is hoping to be Virginia's next lt. governor. Fairfax is a progressive who says that he is committed to protecting constitutional rights. He also hopes to help expand access to healthcare and reform the juvenile justice system. Justin believes that addiction is "a disease that deserves treatment, not a jail cell." Fairfax asked for votes and uploaded a video to Facebook Friday night in which he seems to take a subtle swipe at establishment Democrats.

"Real change never comes from smoke-filled back rooms," he said, most likely referencing the argument that the DNC's lawyer brought up as a defense. The lawyer told a judge ruling over the DNC fraud lawsuit that DNC officials can pick a candidate in a smoky back room over cigars instead of holding elections if they want to, Washington Examiner reported.

Virginia House of Delegates

There are many progressives, even Berniecratic progressives, running for spots in the House of Delegates. This is an incomplete list featuring just some of the progressives running for seats in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Progressive Ken Boddye is running for the House of Delegates seat representing District 51, and he devotes most of his time to community organizing and political activism focusing on issues like wealth inequality, social justice, first responder advocacy, and homelessness. Ken says he will fight to expand funding for public transportation and reduce the cost of commuting on EZ-Pass lanes. He says he will work on campaign finance reform. He also says that he will work to create more opportunities for vocational and technical training at even the high school level. He says that he will strongly push for a predominantly renewable energy grid.

Progressive Ross Mittiga is running for the House of Delegates seat representing District 57, and he says that he became interested in progressive issues while in college, which he was only able to attend thanks to a full scholarship. Mittiga has worked on both former President Obama's and Bernie Sanders' presidential campaigns. He is an instructor and researcher at the University of Virginia.
Progressive Lee Carter is running for the House of Delegates seat representing District 50. He's a Marine Corps veteran and an information technology professional. His priorities include expanding Medicaid, reforming campaign finance policies, and improving workers compensation.

Progressive Elizabeth Guzman is running for the House of Delegates seat representing District 31. She once worked three jobs in order to afford a one-bedroom apartment and her education. Her priorities are to expand Medicaid, expand early childhood education programs, increase veteran support, increase minimum wage, protect farmland and green space, and improve disability insurance.

Progressive Jennifer Carroll Foy is running for the House of Delegates seat representing District 2. She promises to fight for pay equity and healthcare for all Virginians. She recently tweeted that she would like to increase teacher's salaries and reduce classroom sizes.
Progressive Tia Walbridge is running for the House of Delegates seat representing District 33. She wants to expand opportunities for students in rural areas.

"All Virginians; rural or urban, beltway or Blue Ridge, should have the same opportunities," she stated, according to Loudoun Now, which also reported that Walbridge says she will fight for a stronger rural economy.

"I believe in strengthening our small business community, in particular, those businesses that define our Virginia culture. Our farms bring their produce and livestock to restaurants and farmers markets all around our communities. Our wineries, breweries, and distilleries give us a dynamic community.

"I believe that all people are created equal and should be free to pursue their version of happiness and achieve an American dream that is uniquely their own. Your version of the American dream may be a beautiful home in the heart of Purcellville. Or perhaps it is teaching your children at home and living a life close to the earth. Whatever your piece of the American tapestry looks like, I will fight passionately to support it."

While most of the media coverage has been on Perriello's race, the reality is that a fleet of progressives have their eyes set on winning their Democratic primary race in Virginia on Tuesday.

[Featured Image by Steve Helber/AP Images]