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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

VA State Legislature ‘Normandy Beach’ for Dems

Lowell Feld has a MyDD post “Why Turning Virginia ‘Blue’ Matters to All of Us,” which should be of interest to everyone concerned about building a stronger Democratic Party. Feld, who writes the “Raising Kaine” blog, offers a half-dozen reasons why the 2007 Virginia state legislative elections are important, including:

It matters because Virginia, with the election of Tim Kaine and Jim Webb, plus gains in the General Assembly, has moved from “solid red” to “purple,” and because we need to keep moving the state in the “blue” direction politically. Needless to say, the implications of Virginia, with its 13 electoral votes, becoming competitive once again in national politics (Virginia last went for a Democrat in 1964) would be enormous. Don’t think this is possible? Well, I’d refer once again to the fact that the last two governors – Mark Warner and Tim Kaine – have been Democrats, and the last Senate election saw Jim Webb replace George Allen. Also, I would point out that increasingly, Northern Virginia is becoming an extension of the solidly “blue” Northeast corridor. And Northern Virginia is becoming increasingly more politically powerful within Virginia as a whole. Frankly, it’s only a matter of time until the growth in NOVA turns Virginia “blue.” Our job, if we choose to accept it, is to ensure that this change occurs as rapidly as possible.

Republicans currently hold majorities in both houses of the Virginia legislature, but Dems need a net pick-up of only 4 seats in the state Senate to win a majority (Dems lag in the VA House of Delegates 50-47-3). Demographic trends and issues are both breaking the Dems way, and a little extra investment by Dem contributors could go a long way toward securing a beachhead for Dems in the south.
There’s been a lot of ink poured in the debate over whether Dem Presidential candidates should or should not skip the south, but not enough serious discussion about how to begin winning back the South, or at least a significant chunk of it. Virginia is clearly critical to any such effort. One commenter on Feld’s article (Pitin) calls Virginia “the Normandy Beach of taking back the South.”
For Dems, neglecting the state legislatures, which control redistricting, in party-building is like putting crappy retreads on a top-seed in the Indy 500. It’s time for Democratic fund-raisers and Party leaders who want win a working majority to invest in winning more seats in the state legislatures. ActBlue is now accepting contributions for the 2007 VA legislative races here.