Look at the recent Daily Bits on the website. The August Political Summary, Dual Loyalty Duel, American Loyalty

Four VA HD candidates: Joshua Cole, Sheila Bynum-Coleman, Nancy Guy, Phil Hernandez; two SD candidates Missy Cotter Smasel and John Bell

Joshua Cole                            VA HD 28

Sheila Bynum-Coleman        VA HD 66

Nancy Guy                              VA HD 83

Phil Hernandez                     VA HD 100

Missy Cotter Smasel             VA SD 08

John Bell                                 VA SD  13

Back to Virginia.

In November, 2019, Virginia will elect a new state legislature. Delegates to the House of Delegates are elected every two years. Senators are elected every four years.

Republicans control the House of Delegates 51-49. Flip a net of one Republican seat. Republicans and Democrats will have to create a power sharing agreement. Flip a net of two Republican seats, Democrats will control the House.

Republicans control the State Senate 21-19. Flip a net of one Republican seat and, with the support of the Democratic Lt. Governor, Democrats will control the State Senate. Flip a net of two Republican seats and, without needing the Democratic Lt. Governor, Democrats will control the State Senate.

Democrats understand the importance of gaining control of state legislatures. From a distance, it is a challenge to know which district seats are vulnerable, which Democratic candidates to support, who to give money to, who to volunteer for. One easy way is to support the Democratic Party’s national entity focused on state and local elections: the DLCC. There are a slew of other organizations worth supporting, some of which provide advice about individual candidates to support: Everystate, Flippable, Run for Something, The Arena, NDRC, Future Now, Sister District, Flip-A-District, Win Virginia. Look them up.   See who you like.

These candidates are recommended by Daily Kos. They are crucial, Republican held seats Democrats can flip. Give them some money if you can. If you are close enough to volunteer, consider helping. Remember. This election is in November, 2019.

Joshua Cole VA HD 28 https://jgcole.org/

An African American in a 70% white district. Stafford, VA is 40 miles south of Washington DC. Commuter territory. A terrible commute, but commuter territory, nonetheless.

Joshua Cole could win it this time. He lost by 73 votes last time. He could have won. Courts would not review voting irregularities. He’s a local. He’s young. He’s a 2009 graduate of North Stafford High School.

Joshua Cole been there. He was a page in the legislature before he entered high school. He was a page for Governor Mark Warner before he graduated from high school. Before he ran for office in 2017, he was a staff assistant to the Clerk of the Virginia State Senate. After 2017, he served as chief of staff for Delegate Convirs-Fowler. He’s been there.

Joshua Cole can talk with the enemy (let’s say, opponent). He attended Liberty University for a while (Jerry Falwell’s). Not a student, Joshua Cole did not finish his degree. He has been ordained and has been an assistant pastor.

He faces a divided Republican Party. The Republicans in HD 28 can’t seem talk to each other. His opponent narrowly won the nomination defeating the incumbent in a primary. The incumbent, Bob Thomas, was the narrow victor against Joshua Cole. Thomas was excoriated for his vote supporting Medicaid expansion for Virginia – apparently a violation of Republican principles. The primary winner, Paul Milde III, said he understood when Democrats attacked him for his drug arrest, conviction, and jail term 25 years ago or for his failure to pay taxes. Milde III was indignant about being attacked for these indiscretions by a Republican. After all, Bob Thomas didn’t attack him like that in the 2017 primary,

Sheila Bynum-Coleman VA HD 66 https://www.sheilafordelegate.com/

She also ran and lost in 2017. Another close race – 52-48. In VA HD 62. A district that Trump won by 5 points. Not expected to win in 2017, she did better than expected.

The stakes are big stakes this time. A 75% white district. A Richmond suburb. Redistricted. The seat is almost 20% African American now. It is leaning Democratic now. It is represented by the Republican Speaker of the House.

Sheila Bynum-Coleman is a mom who made good. Five kids. Her politics are personal One child was shot on the streets. Recovered, fortunately. Another with special needs is part of her story. Sheila Bynum-Coleman tried to speak with the incumbent, Kirk Cox, about services for her child with special needs. Cox apparently didn’t have time for her. He would not have had time for her about gun safety either.

The incumbent is a busy man. He is an important guy. He is Speaker of the House of Delegates. He has been a leader in opposing LBGT rights, a leader in opposing gun safety legislation, a leader in opposing Medicaid expansion. He kept the first two off the floor for votes. Fifteen Republicans flipped on Medicaid. He lost on that.

Sheila Bynum-Coleman is important in her own way. She built herself a business – real estate and construction, insurance, car rental. She consults about starting and operating businesses. She has also built political connections. There was no primary for the Democratic nomination. She was the choice to take on Cox.

Nancy Guy VA HD 83 http://guyfordelegate.com/

This district is in Virginia Beach. A Navy town. Nancy Guy is from a Navy family. She starts out every description of herself that way. Think of her life in a four segments. Think of this candidacy as a fifth.

  • 1) Student. Local Virginia Beach public schools. College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa. JD from the University of Virginia
  • 2) Married to an attorney, they both practiced law in Charlotte, NC.
  • 3) Returned home in 1992. He practiced law in Norfolk, VA. She raised children, cared for her elderly parents, managed the family home health care company, turned herself into an educational consultant, was elected to the school board.
  • 4) Breast cancer. In 2012. Shut down the health care business, stopped her consulting, stayed with the school board. Got healthy. Focused on charitable works, several of them religious, all of them focused on helping those in need.
  • 5) Candidate for the House of Delegates.   An extension of her charitable orientation and her interest in education. Running against Chris Stolle – doctor (OB-GYN), ex-marine, a delegate for ten years. “A” rating from the NRA, advocate for mandatory fetus ultrasounds for women seeking an abortion, denier of climate change. He stresses the importance of being thoughtful, avoiding partisan rancor. He sounds calming. He won’t be easy to defeat.

Phil Hernandez VA HD 100 https://philforvirginia.com/

First in his family to go to college. He went to William and Mary with a Gates Millenium Scholarship. You’ve got to love his dual major – Government and Jazz. Took time out to study at Oxford. Probably not studying jazz there. Went on to study law at the University of California – Berkeley.

Phil Hernandez has been out of school for three whole years. He’s been married for four. He was an associate at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein – a San Francisco based firm. Went on to be a staff attorney for the National Employment Law Center housed in New York.

He returned home to Hampton Roads. He is running in the redistricted HD 100. The District has become light blue.  Which is certainly not the case for the incumbent, Rod Bloxom. Bloxom is the kind of representative who announces a town hall, then closes it to anyone who disagrees with him. Since the nearby Virginia Beach shooting (dismayingly described as the worst mass shooting in the US in 2019) gun safety is a particularly sensitive issue in the area. Bloxom has acknowledged. The event was intended to be a rally.

Missy Cotter Smasal VA SD 08 https://www.missyforsenate.com/issues/ (See Political Note #220 — https://lenspoliticalnotes.com )

John Bell VA SD 13   https://voteforjohnbell.com/

John Bell is already a politician. He was elected the Delegate for District 87 of the Assembly in 2015. An popular politician, he announced for the State Senate before the incumbent, one of the most conservative delegates, announced his retirement.

John Bell is a welcome candidate for this Loudon County district which is close to Virginia’s northern tip. Hillary Clinton carried the district in 2016. Governor Ralph Northam carried the district in 2017. No wonder the incumbent dropped out.

John Bell is ex military, like so many Virginia politicians. He was Air Force, but didn’t fly planes. He was an enlisted man and a financial guy. The air force claims he saved the country millions of dollars. Like anyone in his role, he watched money carefully. He was also clever. No one who was solely a penny pincher could be as popular as he was.

John Bell was among the Democrats who pressed for Medicaid reform and other progressive positions in the closely divided, but Republican controlled Delegate Assembly. The most memorable event in his tenure was a personal tragedy. His son, one of his five children, became addicted to opioids for pain relief after an injury in an automobile crash. Like many addicted to opioids, he moved on to heroin, then died of an overdose. The death generated an outpouring of support for him and his realtor wife from Delegates and other Virginia politicians.

With his election to the Senate, John Bell should create some happier memories.

Don’t forget the special Congressional elections on September 10 in North Carolina. Give them some last minute help.

Allen Thomas         NC 03            Local who became wealthy in the tech industry, returned to become mayor of Greenville.

Dan McCready       NC 09            A combat vet in Iraq, a successful entrepreneur in solar energy, returned home to Charlotte.

Other State Legislative races.  Consider supporting the state parties in these states where there are November, 2019 legislative races.

Louisiana https://louisianademocrats.org/  While John Bel Edwards, the incumbent Democratic Governor works to hold his seat, Democrats in the Louisiana House are in the minority 59 Republicans, 35 Democrats, 3 Independents, and 7 vacancies.  Democrats in the Louisiana State Senate are in the minority 25 Republicans, 14 Democrats.  Help whittle away at that gap between Republicans and Democrats.

Mississippi https://www.mississippidemocrats.org/  While the Democratic Attorney General works to get elected governor, Democrats in the Mississippi House are in the minority 72 Republicans, 46 Democrats, 4 Vacancies.  Democrats in the Mississippi State Senate are in the minority 33 Republicans, 19 Democrats.  Help whittle away at that gap between Republicans and Democrats.

New Jersey Only the General Assembly is up for election in 2019.  Democrats hold an insurmountable majority of seats:  54-26.