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RFS feel-good update (9/18): Let's talk about Virginia
Plus: Big election wins, a fun NYT story, and ways you can support Latinx candidates
Hi all -
First, a big election update — congratulations to Aftyn Behn for winning a seat in the Tennessee state house!!
Meanwhile, looking ahead to both November and 2024, we rolled out our biggest endorsement class of the year
This class includes some truly special candidates, including:
Nadia Farjood, who’s running for Grossmont Healthcare District Board in San Diego — a key public health office that too many ignore.
Alyshia Dyer, candidate for sheriff in Washtenaw County, MI — her own personal experience with the criminal justice system and periods of homelessness give her a unique perspective on the office
Jessica Spillers, running for school board in Manchester, NH - a social worker and mother of two who is ready to stand up for public education
Patrick Creighton, a biomedical researcher running for Franklin County Coroner in PA — he believes the data collected by the coroner’s office should be used to help tackle issues like the opioid epidemic and the mental health crisis
Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter, Lexi, was killed in the mass shooting in Uvalde, TX. Kimberly is now running for mayor herself to take on gun violence.
Every candidate we’re working with is doing the hard work to make their community a better place. You make their campaigns possible. Thanks.
Let’s talk about Virginia.
First, a quick refresher on the state of play: All 100 seats in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates and all 40 in the Democratic-controlled Senate are up — early voting is beginning imminently.
The GOP needs to flip two seats in the Senate to force a 20-20 tie that the GOP Lt. Gov would help break. If they can do it, they’ll have trifecta control of the state and are likely to pass an abortion ban — ending Virginia’s reign as the only southern state that hasn’t banned or restricted access since the Dobbs decision.
(As an aside: Virginia is the quintessential example of “battleground state is a dynamic status” — it is not the hard red state I grew up in, nor is it the safe blue state many assume it to be after 2012-2019. Things change! Competitiveness shifts! It’s why we have to build power everywhere.)
Run for Something has been deeply engaged in VA since day one — we’ve helped elect 22 folks across the state, including 10 to state legislature, 6 to school board, and 6 to municipal offices.
This year we have 43 endorsed candidates in the Commonwealth, including 14 in state legislative races alone. Nearly all the top competitive districts are RFS candidates.
The GOP is feeling the heat from our candidates and the broader ecosystem of organizations pushing hard to hold control where we can, and they’re getting nasty about it.
You might have seen a few news stories about RFS candidate Susanna Gibson lately — Jezebel explains this scandal succinctly:
“Susanna Gibson is a nurse practitioner and a pro-choice Democratic currently running to represent suburban Richmond, Virginia, in the state House in November. So Republicans are attempting to smear her for having sex with her husband on livestreams. An anonymous Republican leaked the archived videos to reporters in what could very likely be a sex crime. And it’s all feeling like a conveniently timed story meant to distract voters from the fact that Republicans are desperate to pass an abortion ban—and Gibson is running in a toss-up district against someone who would vote to ban abortion.”
Run for Something absolutely stands with Susanna — the stakes of this election are clear and this is nothing but a distraction from a scared Republican party who sees their chance to legislate women’s health slipping away by the day.
If you care about abortion access in the last state in the south, or about showing the GOP that shaming women for having healthy sex lives is not the way to win an election, or just think this is total bullshit and want to fight back, make a donation to Susanna’s campaign. It has never mattered more.
There will be more ways to support our VA candidates imminently — stay tuned.
In other RFS community updates:
Spotted in the front page story of the Sunday Style section of the New York Times yesterday: RFS alum like NYC Councilman Chi Ossé, MD Delegate Joe Vogel, and IL Rep. Nabeela Syed were part of a larger story on how Gen Z elected officials show up authentically as themselves, no matter what. 😎😎😎
Wearing a dark green suit from Express and Cole Haan dress sneakers, Representative Maxwell Frost, Democrat of Florida, took the stage at Metrobar in Washington. He was speaking at an event this summer by Run for Something, a political action committee that supports young Democrats seeking state and local office.
“How’s everybody doing?” Mr. Frost, 26, asked a crowd of about 200 people, in which more than one brightly colored Telfar bag could be spotted. A number of attendees, including Mr. Frost, were members of Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012.
In an interview after his speech, Mr. Frost said that “a cool thing about our generation is that we’re super-open to whatever fashion and whatever creativity people bring to the table.” Much of his professional wardrobe consists of suits, but he has worn bomber jackets and Dr. Martens shoes at more casual events, he said, as well as T-shirts on the campaign trail.
“I feel like there’s a direct connection between Doc Martens, and a certain style, and progressive young people,” Mr. Frost said.
The pics in this story are so fun!
This is fun: Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb worked a quick lunchtime shift at a local restaurant to promote grants for restaurants that pay tipped workers $15 an hour.
CA Sen. Aisha Wahab has successfully made California the first state to pass a ban on caste discrimination.
Columbus (IN) City Councilor Grace Kestler, who has a disability, is inspiring others within her community to get involved with local government.
MT Rep. Zooey Zephyr has been named to the Time 100 Next list. We love to see it.
MI Sen. Mallory McMorrow talked with Slate about one of our favorite topics: The gerontocracy.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re raising money for an incredible group of Hispanic & Latinx candidates. One donation gets split evenly across the board — while the candidates may only get a few cents of a $5 donation, knowing you’ve got their back is equally as important.
And of course, we’re rooting for our folks running for higher office:
In GA, Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson has filed to run for a U.S. House seat that could be redrawn to favor Democrats.
In spite of all the headlines, Sarah McBride’s campaign for U.S. House in Delaware is not about her gender identity — it’s about the issues that matter to her neighbors.
In Berkeley, CA, city councilmember Rigel Robinson is running for mayor!
Joe Vogel, one of multiple RFS alum running for Congress in Maryland, talked with El Tiempo Latino about how roots as an Uruguayan immigrant and his effort to speak for other Latinos.
In some related reading, broken down by topic…
Reverse coattails will make the difference not just in the presidential but in Senate races too — read up how Montana Democrats are going to lower the number of uncontested elections in order to chip away at GOP margins.
On why our Clerk Work program to elect pro-democracy leaders to local offices is so important:
Rural counties are being targeted by anti-democracy activists to roll back reforms that strengthen election infrastructure; the only thing standing in their way are local elected officials.
The real fear for 2024 is “insider threats to the system.”
And forever keeping an eye on school boards and book bans:
The Katy school district in Texas literally banned Dr. Seuss. (Remember when this was a thing the right accused Democrats of doing?? Now they’re actually doing it.)
The New Hampshire State Board of Education approved the addition of a PragerU series into school programming — the same PragerU that is also incorporated into Florida schools that is wildly biased, racist, and meant to be conservative propaganda.
We’ll be announcing an exciting new school board program in the next few weeks — if you’d like a sneak preview, just reply to this email.
Thank you for being part of this team. We’re so grateful for your support.
P.S. Shana tova to those who observe!
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