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041921           Political Note #379  Seven Vulnerable Virginia Delegates: Gooditis, Cole, Helmer, Willett, Tyler, Guy, and Askew

2021               General Election

Wendy Gooditis                Josh Cole                  Dan Helmer                 Rodney Willett

Roslyn Tyler                    Nancy Guy                 Alex Askew

Take state elections seriously.  What happens in each state is important in and of itself and for how Congress is districted and, therefore, elected.  Virginia has a Democratic Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General.  Both US Senators are Democrats. The state officials are up for election in 2021. The Virginia Senate, which is up for election every four years, but not in 2021, has a 21-19 Democratic majority.  The House of Delegates, which is up for election every two years, has a 55-45 Democratic majority.  That majority will be tested in November, 2021.

VirginiaGrassroots identifies seven vulnerable Democrats

  • HD10 Wendy Gooditis elected in 2019 with 52% of the vote
  • HD 28 Josh Cole elected in 2019 with 52% of the vote
  • HD 40 Dan Helmer elected in 2019 with 52% of the vote
  • HD 73 Rodney Willett elected in 2019 with 52% of the vote
  • HD 75 Roslyn Tyler elected in 2019 with 51% of the vote
  • HD 83 Nancy Guy elected in 2019 with less than 50% of the vote
  • HD 85 Alex Askew elected in 2019 with less than 52% of the vote

Don’t wait.  These seven incumbents have less than seven months to protect their seats..  Help them now.

HD 10 Wendy Gooditis is the incumbent Delegate in District 10.  She was a competitive equestrian and has demonstrated an ability to develop positive relationships with diverse people.   For a period of time, she homeschooled her children.  She had trained at Shenandoah University to be a teacher and wanted to teach her kids.  While homeschooling, she made connections with evangelical and conservative homeschooling parents.  They shared ideas about their teaching, supported each other, and did not quarrel about religion or politics.  She didn’t homeschool for long.  She taught school and then made more money in real estate.  She is an equestrian, though no aristocrat and came close to a spot in the Olympics. Her experience includes non-Olympic horse riding.  As an undergraduate at Rutgers, she was a member of the volunteer student mounted police.

Wendy Gooditis has run and won twice to represent HD 10.  In 2017 and 2019 she defeated Randy Minchew.  Her opponent in 2021 is a staffer for Virginia’s Associated Builders and Contractors.  75% of HD10 is white. 10% is African American.  HD10 is mostly in Loudon County and has demographics resembling this prosperous area near the northern tip of Virginia.  Loudon County’s median household income is more than $130,000.  The District’s election of a Democrat is a sign of the political direction of American suburbs and the political direction of Virginia. Let’s sustain that direction in a post-Trump world.

HD 28 Joshua Cole is the incumbent Delegate in District 28.  He is a rare Democrat to attend Liberty University.  He grew up in Stafford County, lives in Fredericksburg which is in Stafford County, is the President of the Stafford County NAACP, and is an Associate Pastor at Union Bell Baptist in South Stafford.  He has been persistent in his efforts to be elected to the House of Delegates.  He ran for this seat south of Alexandria along Route 95 in 2017, but lost by 73 votes. Had he been elected, he would have been Virginia’s youngest ever elected Delegate. He knew his way around the legislature before he was elected.  After his 2017 loss, he served as a staff member and ultimately chief of staff to Democratic Delegate Kelly Fowler. Long before that, he served as a Page in the House of Delegates.

Joshua Cole ran again in 2019, winning the election with 51.8% of the vote.  He became one of a few African American Virginians representing a predominantly white district. HD28 is 70% white, 20% African American, and 10% Hispanic.    His opponent is an elementary school teacher and wife of a marine.  His principal issues in the legislature have included raising the minimum wage, tuition free community college, increased access to health care, and care for the environment – addressing climate change and pollution.  Help him sustain his efforts.

HD 40 Dan Helmer is the incumbent Delegate in District 40.  A graduate of West Point, he won a Rhodes Scholarship and earned a Master’s Degree at Oxford.  He served in both Afghanistan and South Korea.  Now in the Reserves, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel.  In 2018, he ran and lost in the Democratic Primary for the 10th Congressional District, earning widespread recognition through a You Tube piece that went viral.

Dan Helmer used the recognition from 2018 to campaign, in 2019, for HD 40. He refused PAC money, supported the Governor’s proposals for gun safety, and raised just under $730,000 – more than any previous candidate for Delegate. Almost 80% of the district is in Fairfax County, just west of Washington.  The median household income in the County is $122,000.  He’ll need to raise a lot of  money again in 2021.  Help him do that.

HD 73 Rodney Willett is the incumbent Delegate in District 73.  He grew up in a family of teachers, went to William and Mary and then William and Mary Law School.  While in law school, he helped found a family endowment (not his own family) that supported student public service work.  His law practice focused on representing local governments.  His familiarity with government helped him create a public/private online information partnership which made him money.  He extended his entrepreneurial interest into health care.  He ran for Delegate in 2019 and defeated the incumbent.  She is running to get her seat back in 2021.

Rodney Willett won in 2019 by a 4.5% margin.  Virtually all of HD 73 is in Henrico County, immediately northwest of Richmond (There is a tiny slice of Richmond in the district.) Henrico County’s rural traditions are so great, despite its current suburban character, there is not a single incorporated city or town in the county.  The county is slightly more than 50% white, slightly less than 30% African-American, and slightly less than 10% Asian.  The median household income is about $68,000.  The 2021 election will be a real contest.  The former incumbent is a familiar figure and will run a tough race.  These races keep getting more expensive.  Help him win again in 2021.

HD 75 Roslyn Tyler is the incumbent Delegate in District 75. She was born and grew up in this district on the eastern end of Virginia’s southern border.  She graduated from Greensville County High School, got a bachelor’s degrees and Master’s Degree from Virginia State, an historically black university, and another degree from Old Dominion University.  She worked as a physical therapist and served for eleven years, beginning at age 24, as a member of the Sussex County Board of Supervisors.  She was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2005 and has been reelected ever since. She chairs the education committee and is an influential figure.  Republicans are growing stronger in the district.  She won in 2019, getting only 51% of the vote.

Roslyn Tyler’s rural district includes segments of seven small cities or counties.  The largest part of the district, 26%, is in Southampton County.  22.5% is in Brunswick.  Sussex County, Greensville County, and Franklin City are each more than 10% of the district. The district is majority African American – 55% Black, 40% white. Its voting patterns are changing.   Look at the votes for Governor Northam.  In 2013, running for Lt. Governor, he won District 75 64% to 36%.  In 2017, running for Governor, he won the District 52% to 47%.  Roslyn Tyler needs some help.  You’ll have to work a little to give her support.  If you want to donate to her campaign, you’ll need to mail her a check at her district office (which is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm).  The address is 423 South Main Street, Emporia VA 23847.

Nancy Guy is the incumbent Delegate in District 83.  She grew up in Virginia Beach and, after living and practicing law with her husband in Charlotte, NC, she and her family returned there. She was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the College of William and Mary and got a law degree from the University of Virginia.  Her husband continued to practice law, but as part of a firm in Norfolk, VA.  In Virginia Beach, she was active in the community, elected to the school board, managed a real estate partnership, and ran an education consulting firm.

Disaster struck in the form of cancer in 2012.  After her recovery, Nancy Guy closed the partnership to focus on family and community affairs. She didn’t slow down much.  She served on the Boards of WHRO, an intermediate education service agency, and the Virginia Education Foundation. In addition, she has been an elder at the Bayside Presbyterian Church.    She was elected Delegate in 2019 by 41 votes.  The close election did not make her shy in the legislature.  She served on the education committee and on additional education Boards.  She maintained her commitment to the environment as a member of the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee and was appointed to the multi-state Chesapeake Bay Commission.  Help keep her in the House of Delegates.

Alex Askew is the incumbent Delegate in District 85.  He was born in Virginia Beach and raised there by his mother —  a teacher.   He graduated from the Historically Black Hampton University and immersed himself in politics.  He was involved in the Barack Obama 2012 campaign and the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign. He ran in the 2014 special election for HD90, but lost in the primary to Joe Lindsay. He served as a Staff Chief in the House of Delegates, drafting proposed legislation.   He is also a local youth tutor at the New Jerusalem Ministries of which he is a member.

Alex Askew was elected to the House of Delegates in 2019.  He ran to replace Democratic Delegate Cheryl Turpin who, herself, ran for the Virginia Senate but lost by less than 1%.  He was elected to the House of Delegates with 51.6% of the vote.  Like Joshua Cole, he is an African American representing a majority white district. His Republican opponent spent five years managing the Pregnancy Center of Tidewater – “a Christ centered organization reaching out to women and families facing unplanned pregnancies.”   HD85 is 2/3 white and 1/5 African-American.  In the House of Delegates, Alex Askew successfully advocated for expanding workers compensation for firefighters, testing the water for lead in all public schools and day care programs, and creating a dedicated source of funds for Hampton Roads Transit.  He will continue to be an important Democratic contributor if we can get him reelected.

These seven incumbent Delegates are worth your support.  Every year these elections get more expensive because the importance of state legislators becomes more apparent.  In 2019, candidates who had the resources lent money to themselves –$100,000, even $500,000.  Look at these candidates.  See who you like.  Give the candidate you like the most some support.  Give the other candidates some support, too.


Vulnerable Incumbents in Virginia’s House of Delegates

District 10 – Wendy Gooditis

District 28 – Joshua Cole

District 40 – Dan Helmer

District 73  – Rodney Willett

District 75  – Roslyn Tyler, District Office 423 South Main Street, Emporia VA 23847.

District 83 – Nancy Guy.

District 85 – Alex Askew

Organizations to support

 Blue Virginia  A newspaper that covers Virginia politics from a Democratic perspective

Democratic Party of Virginia  The state Democratic Party organization.

31st Street Swing Left  Focused for the moment on Virginia’s upcoming election, but Virginia-based with a national political orientation.

Virginia Grassroots  Focused on electing Democrats in Virginia

Three Cautions while donating through Act Blue (most Democratic candidates use Act Blue for online donations)

  1. Take care to only hit the donate button only once. If you hit it a second time, you could be charged for two donations instead of one.
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  3. Watch for your receipt. If the receipt indicates a donation different from your intention, reply to Act Blue via the receipt right away.  They will fix your donation.  They only want you to donate what you intend to donate.

A Competitive Special Congressional Election Primary Coming Up in a Few Days

The TX 06 multi-party primary is on May 1.  Jana Lynne Sanchez could use every bit of help you can provide.  Getting a Democrat into the run off creates the possibility of adding to the slim Democratic majority in the current Congress and creates momentum for retaining and even expanding a Democratic majority in the next Congress. Add to Jana Lynne Sanchez’ resources

 A Special Interest of Mine

If you live in Part A of the district, please support and vote for Rebecca Weintraub in the June 23 Democratic Primary.   If you know people who live in the district, please encourage them to vote for her,  New York City has its own small town politics.  Many of the readers of Lenspoliticalnotes are New Yorkers.  Some may live in or know people in Part A of Assembly District 76 (roughly east of 3rd Avenue and south of 79th Street to and including Roosevelt Island).

We and the other Democratic Club in District 76 are supporting Rebecca Weintraub’s candidacy to be one of four leaders of the 76th Assembly District — the female leader of Part A of Assembly District 76.  District Leaders are a kind of liaison between political parties and the community.  You can learn more about her at her Website or at Twitter @RSWinNYC or at Instagram /RSW_in_NYC or at Facebook /VoteRebeccatraub.  In her non-political life, she is Vice President of a public relations firm, mother of Benjamin, and wife of Evan.  In her political life, she has been an active member of our club, a leader in an innovative effort collecting video responses from NYC candidates for public office used to assess who to endorse and who to vote for.