Virginia’s 2021 elections include governor and other statewide offices, as well as all 100 seats in the House of Delegates (but none in the state Senate). VA is a bellwether for the nation, as well as an opportunity for continued enlightened legislation benefiting Virginians and the region. We must Keep Virginia Blue!
The statewide races will receive major if not massive support, partly because VA is largely “the only game in town” in 2021. Moreover, based on our “Power Up” or “Reverse Coattails” approach, having vigorous Democratic delegate campaigns will contribute significantly to the statewide races as well. The current House make-up is D-55 and R-45. We will stay in close contact with the key campaigns and the HOD Democratic Caucus to assess where support is best applied. Our 3 tracks:
Fundraising. Incumbents are likely able to generate considerable support. So, as is our usual practice, we will focus on the challenger races. As a start, it appears 2 seats in the Richmond suburbs and 2 in the Virginia Beach area hold considerable promise. Also there may be 1-2 “Open Hold” seats, which are currently Democratic, but become open if the Dem incumbent does not run. Once it is clear who the Dem nominees are, we will develop a slate for support. In addition, we will keep a careful eye on fundraising, polling, etc. to see where emerging needs may call for support for either challengers or incumbents.
Canvassing. Experience in the PA general election and in the GA runoffs showed canvassing can be done safely. And we anticipate vaccination levels by the mid-to-late summer will fully open up canvassing opportunities. Our more vulnerable incumbents, as well as the challengers, fall into 3 regions: NOVA, Richmond suburbs, and Hampton Roads. From our home area in the DC region, NOVA is an easy day trip. The Richmond suburbs can also be reasonable day trips. Hampton Roads clearly requires staying over, but we have successfully fielded sizable groups to canvass there in the past.
We aim to maximize the effectiveness of our fine cadre of veteran canvassers as well as new ones, through training and mentoring. And we will negotiate with campaigns to make good use of our time, with productive walk lists and priority for reaching low-propensity, supportive voters.
Other Voter Outreach: While canvassing is our preferred approach, we will be alert to other good outreach opportunities using a variety of other modes (e.g. phoning, texting, letters, post cards) at the appropriate time. And we will coordinate with other organizations taking leadership in these.
Kickstarting Digital Voter Outreach. Digital outreach reaches voters through the internet and similar means such as "connected" TV. We value digital outreach highly, with its low cost and ability to target voters -- including low-propensity voters. And we have the advantage of close collaboration with a highly dedicated and professional digital producer who has strong relationships with about 2 dozen campaigns. We will kickstart digital support early, yielding first strike capability and great economies of scale including:
Conducting early face-to-face taping for multiple candidates in the 3 key regions.
Addressing key issues based on polling and qualitative research.
Developing a storehouse of footage to produce a variety of ads to respond flexibly to arising campaign needs.
We anticipate the large majority of the actual digital content production, and distribution later on, will be paid for by the campaigns.