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February 12, 2023  Political Note #540   Virginia House of Delegates Leaners

2023                           General Election

 Can Virginia Democrats regain the majority in the House of Delegates?  Redistricting was completed by two special masters appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court creating a map that looks different from the past.  The Virginia Public Access Project brings some clarity to the unfamiliar map.

The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) rated each of the districts and found 34 were Strongly Democratic, 29 were Strongly Republican.  They found 11 Leaned Democratic, 18 Leaned Republican.  If elections followed the projections, Republicans would win 47 seats; Democrats – 45.

The VPAP thought eight districts were competitive. If all the other districts follow VPAP’s projections, Democrats would need twin six of the eight competitive seats to gain 51 of the 100 House of Delegates.  Remember to help the five competitive Democratic candidates from Len’s Political Note #539.  Josh Thomas(VAHD21), Phil Hernandez (VAHD94), Michael Feggans (VAHD97), Rodney Willett (VAHD58), and Josh Cole (VAHD65).  The June primary will select the Democratic candidate for the other three competitive districts.  There will be another Virginia Note after the primary.

Because life is never simple, we are not done yet.

Will all 11 of the Lean Democratic seats be won by Democrats?

Of the 11 Lean Democratic seats, nine of them do not have a Republican running yet.  Of the two seats that do have a Republican, McAuliffe carried HD 27 by 20 points and HD 55 by 12.  Two Democrats and one Republican are running for HD 55.  After the primary HD 55 will be worth a look. 

Will all 19 of the Lean Republican seats be won by Republicans?

If a Democrat wins one of the three seats described below, the probability of a Democratic House of Delegates gets even greater.  Take a look at three Democrats who could win a Lean Republican seat.  After the primary HD 41 will also be worth a look.

Inc Mike Mullin for Delegate. Virginia House of Delegates District 69.

It doesn’t happen often that an incumbent gets redistricted, loses a favorable population, and stays to fight it out.  Mike Mullin is staying to fight it out even though Youngkin carried the district by 12 points.

The new District 69 is north of Norfolk and is composed of a piece of Mike Mullin’s former District 93, a little bit of the former District 98, and some of Districts 94 and 96.  He was elected four times in District 93, a tough place for a Democrat.  Donald Trump carried his old district by nearly 10 points in 2016.

Mike Mullin was born in Falls Church, grew up in Fairfax, and graduated from Christopher Newport University in Hampton Roads.  His law degree is from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University.  He became an assistant prosecutor in Hampton and was elected to the House of Delegates in a 2016 special election.  He could teach Democrats how to be a law-and-order candidate and Delegate while retaining Democratic values.

A certified gang investigator from his time as a prosecutor, no one questions his law-and-order credentials.  Nevertheless, he is an opponent of the death penalty and an advocate for finding ways to end the school to prison pipeline.  The steps he has taken to stop up that pipeline include ending drivers’ license suspension for unpaid fees and fines, raising the felony threshold to $1,000, decriminalizing some marijuana offenses, and providing additional protections for 14 and 15 year old defendants.  He achieved a reform of the criminal discovery process, expansion of deferral options for some misdemeanors, greater parole opportunities for some defendants, and a provision that allows jurors to be told about possible penalties for crimes defendants are being tried for.

Help return Mike Mullin to the House of Delegates. His Republican opponent, County Supervisor Chad Green, started 2023 with more than $60,000 in the bank and is another unthoughtful conservative arguing for lower taxes. He claims the Green New Deal (which exists only as an idea) has increased the price of electricity, claims law enforcement is under attack by the “woke mob,” and insists that school bureaucrats are “pushing liberal nonsense to our kids.”   He is anti-abortion and opposes to any regulation of guns.

Mike Mullin is important not only because of the kind of Democrat he is and not only because, in this closely divided legislature, every Democratic vote counts. He is important because Democrats need moderates as well as progressives.

Mike Mullin started 2023 with only $33,000.  He needs resources.  Help him with that.


Leonard Lacey for Delegate.  Virginia House of Delegates District 64

South of Washington, DC, just north of Fredericksburg, the new District 64 would have given Republican Youngkin a fourteen-point margin. The district has its diversity.  It is 60% white, 20% Black, 12% multi-racial. Leonard Lacey has a lot of independent and Republican votes to attract if he is going to win this seat.  On the other hand, he has a lot going for him.

Think of Leonard Lacey as a kind of renaissance man.  He spent 33 years as a State Cop.  That should let him pass any law-and-order test voters might set for him.  Born in Alabama, he moved to Virginia more than 50 years ago.  Some people and some places set a high bar for a person being a local; 50 years should be enough.   In 1988, he studied at the Fredericksburg Bible Institute as he thought of becoming a religious leader.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Mary Washington, a post baccalaureate certificate in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth and a Master’s Degree in Preaching from the Richmond Virginia Seminary.  If the constituents in District 64 value a man of religion, Leonard Lacey should suit them.  In 2001, he earned the honorific of Bishop founding the United Faith Christian Ministry.  Not so much on his own, but through his late wife, he has some public education credentials.  Director of Student Management and Alternative programs for the Prince William schools, the District named a media center in her memory.

His opponent represents both an opportunity and a huge problem to overcome.  Paul Milde is the President of a local construction firm that focuses on finishes for interiors.  A former county supervisor, he lost his last election.  That he is an extreme right Republican may have been a factor in the loss.  His candidacy’s purpose is to “fight woke liberals.” He intends to “get politics out of our classrooms and protect our Founding Fathers’ legacy, [to] stand up for innocent life [and to] enforce our immigration laws.”  He is putting his money into this campaign.  VPAP reports he had nearly $600,000 in May, 2021.  Of that amount $500,000 came from other committees he controlled. Since he ran for election in 2021, he has probably spent some of that money.  How much is unclear, because he has not reported since.

Leonard Lacey had $50,000 at the beginning of 2023. That is not enough.  He could change things around with resources.  He does not a half million dollars.  He needs enough to supppot a local campaign.  Help Leonard Lacey get elected.


 Max Sawicky for Delegate.     Virginia House of Delegates District 30

District 30 is in northern Virginia, west of Washington, and a prosperous conservative district. Its demographics are nearly 75% white, just under 10% Asian.

 Youngkin carried the district by 13.5%.  Incumbent Dave LaRock, a hard right politician and an election denier is running for the State Senate.

Max Sawicky won’t know his Republican opponent until after the June primary.  One of the candidates, Geary Higgins, is a former Loudoun County Supervisor, and Vice President of Labor Relations for the National Association of Electrical Contractors. Max Sawicky’s analysis of Geary Higgins as a candidate appears on his website. Read it.  The other Republican, Caleb Max, describes himself as a “serial entrepreneur.” After attending Covenant College, a school for biblically oriented men according to their website, he completed his degree at George Mason.  His entrepreneurship has been local – a deli, a landscape business.  His interests have been international – opposing Chinese Communism.

Max Sawicky is unconventional. He has a BA from Rutgers, an MA and PhD from Maryland and lists himself as having been the Resident Curmudgeon at the Economic Policy Institute from 1990 to 2007.   He has worked in the Office of State and Local Finance of the US Treasury Department, a federal legislative Office of Government Accountability, and for the US Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Max Sawicky could make a case for. himself in this conservative district as a life-long critic of government programs.  That is not going to happen.  He is a member of the Democratic Socialists. He acknowledges that Virginia is not ready for socialism.  He has a clear and simple program that is well short of socialism:

  • Get reproductive rights on the ballot in Virginia
  • Fund public schools and defend them from bigoted, ignorant harassment
  • Legalize marijuana
  • Expand broadband access
  • Promote sustainable energy resources

He describes attacks on transsexuals as a kind of gateway drug to bias against Muslims, Jews, African Americans, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, and immigrants.

Some years, he would rather be disruptive than be elected.  Not this year. He is a genuine candidate and knows that he could be the difference between a Republican and Democratic House of Delegates.  Help Max Sawicky get elected Delegate.

The following Districts will be considered after the June primary.

House of Delegates District 57 – Competitive District

House of Delegates District 84 – Competitive District

House of Delegates District 82 – Competitive District

House of Delegates District 55 — Lean Democratic District

House of Delegates District 41 – Lean Republican District



February 21 and April 4

Virginia Fourth Congressional District Special Election on February 21

Jennifer McClellan is running to replace the only current vacancy in the US Congress – Virginia’s Four Congressional District. A state senator representing the 9th Senate district, she is the child of a civil rights activist and a university professor. She ran Terry’s McAuliffe’s transition team when he was elected governor in 2013, is vice chair of the Virginia Democratic Party and of the legislature’s Black Caucus.  She is the favorite to defeat Pastor and Navy veteran Leon Benjamin, Sr.   See Len’s Political Note #527.

New Hampshire Special Election on February 21

House District 8, Rochester Ward 4

Incumbent Chuck Grassie is running because of a rarity.  In November, he and former mayor Republican David Walker tied.  Because New Hampshire’s House of Representatives is so large, you would not expect that a single seat would matter much.  This election in February will matter.  Republicans have a narrow majority – 201-198.  Make it a little narrower (201-199) by helping to reelect Chuck Grassie.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Multiparty Primary on February 21 followed by a General Election on April 4

Janet Protasiewicz is running for the Wisconsin Supreme Court.  Her win in the February 21st primary and the April 4th General Election would flip the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 4-3 Republican to 4-3 Democrat with enormous implications for issues such as abortion and redistricting.  This is an open seat because a Republican Justice retired.  The election is in the spring rather than November because Wisconsin strives to limit partisanship in judicial elections. See Len’s Political Note #528

Wisconsin Primary on February 21 followed by a Special Election on April 4

Jody Habush Sinykin is running in the special election for Wisconsin’s State Senate District 08.  She is also running to prevent Republicans from having two thirds of the seats in the Wisconsin State Senate.  If the current State Senator for the District were not retiring, Republicans would have 22 of the 33 State Senate seats.  See Len’s Political Note #529