Weekly Recap: VADems outraise Republicans ahead of critical elections, Special Session cost $45k, Scott Taylor’s “rollout”…

Democratic Party of VA
12 min readJul 17, 2019

!WOW! DPVA outraises RPV by 19–1 margin in June; DPVA has 277 to 1 Cash on Hand Advantage on RPV

DPVA raised $692,282, RPV raised $36,385; DPVA cash on hand $526,965 to RPV $1,911

Richmond, VA — Heading into the important 2019 legislative elections, the Democratic Party of Virginia announced a shock and awe dominance of the Republican Party of Virginia in fundraising today.

The DPVA raised $690,282 in June compared to the Republican Party of Virginia’s $36,385…a ratio of 19 to 1.

The DPVA’s $526,965 cash on hand compared to the RPV’s just $1,911….a ratio of 277 to 1.

“After Republicans cut and run from the July 9 special session after just 90 minutes, they were rightfully called ‘morally bankrupt’. Today makes it clear they are also just straight bankrupt. We have the momentum, the message, the resources and we are on the right side of history. November is coming.” — Jake Rubenstein, Democratic Party of Virginia Communications Director.

Virginia Democrats outraise Republicans ahead of critical elections (Washington Post)

RICHMOND — Virginia Democrats raised more money than Republicans over the past three months through state party and leadership committees, despite a string of executive branch scandals that threatened to cast a shadow over pivotal General Assembly races in November.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s political action committee raised $309,707 between April 1 and June 30, according to campaign finance figures compiled Tuesday by the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project.

That is considerably less than what his two immediate predecessors raised at the same points in their terms. Terry McAuliffe (D) raised $1 million in the second quarter of 2015, while Robert F. McDonnell (R) raised $1.5 million in the same period in 2011.

But in all, the Democratic Party and various leadership and legislative committees took in $3.7 million over the quarter, compared with $1.6 million raised by comparable GOP political action committees.

Fundraising figures can be distorted by double-counting that results from transfers between committees, so some people regard cash on hand as a more reliable indicator of financial strength. The Democratic Party and leadership committees had $4.9 million on hand, compared with $3.7 million for Republican PACs. GOP candidates, however, maintained a lead in cash on hand.

Democrats trumpeted the quarterly finance reports as a sign that the party is moving past the scandals that engulfed Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) and Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) in February. The party believes it will have the money it needs to wrest control of the legislature from Republicans in the fall. All 140 seats in the House of Delegates and the Senate will be on the ballot. Republicans are defending a 51–48 advantage in the House and a 20–19 edge in the Senate, with one vacant seat in each chamber.

House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) significantly outraised the governor and other statewide Democrats through two PACs he controls: Colonial Leadership Trust ($508,877) and the House Republican Campaign Committee ($535,098).

The most striking contrast in fundraising was evident in the rival state parties: The Democratic Party of Virginia raised $609,282, compared with $36,385 for the Republican Party of Virginia.

The state GOP “is not just morally bankrupt, they are just straight up bankrupt,” the Democratic Party of Virginia said on Twitter.

The state GOP said the disparity stems from strategic decisions to raise more money through PACs than through the state party. House Republican candidates had slightly more cash on hand ($6.4 million) heading into July than did House Democrats ($6.2 million). Senate Republicans had $4.9 million to Democrats’ $4.5 million.

The state GOP ridiculed some of the Democrats’ donors — “Nothing says progressive values like taking $12,500 from Walmart,” the party tweeted — and invoked the scandals that erupted around three statewide Democrats at the start of a critical election year.

“Your governor is a racist, your LG is an alleged rapist, and your AG is a racist,” the state GOP tweeted at the Democratic Party.

Fundraising by Northam, Fairfax and Herring all but dried up early this year, after Northam and Herring admitted to wearing blackface as young men, and after two women accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting them in separate incidents in the early 2000s — allegations he has denied.

Northam’s ability to resume significant fundraising, and find legislators willing to take money from him, is a sign that the party is moving forward, said Mark Bergman, director of Northam’s PAC.

“We’re all pulling together, and that is significant based on where we were over the winter,” Bergman said, noting that Northam has raised money from more than 500 individual donors and contributed more than $285,000 to fellow Democrats since the scandal broke.

Most Democrats in the legislature called for Northam’s resignation in the immediate aftermath of the scandal, as did McAuliffe, the governor’s political mentor. Northam resisted those demands, and over time, some Democrats said they had been too hasty. Others have stood by calls for Northam’s ouster but say they must work with him as long as he remains governor.

That shift has left them open to attacks from Republicans. The state GOP tweeted the image that nearly ended Northam’s political career when it came to light in February: a photo that appeared on Northam’s page in his 1984 medical school yearbook that showed one person in blackface and another under a Ku Klux Klan hood. “Not morally bankrupt,” the tweet said, sarcastically.

Northam initially apologized, but he changed course the next day during a nationally televised news conference and said he was not in the photo. At the same time, he acknowledged that he had put shoe polish on his cheeks later in 1984 to imitate Michael Jackson in a dance contest.

His campaign finance report indicates that his PAC paid the law firm of Alston & Bird $150,000 to try to determine the identities of the people in the yearbook photo. Bergman said the firm was unable to answer that question but passed on its work to a team at McGuireWoods, which pursued the same question on behalf of Eastern Virginia Medical School. That probe also failed to resolve the question.

“Meanwhile, @GovernorVA spent $150,000 on lawyers . . . wonder why?” the GOP tweeted.

McAuliffe stepped in this year to help raise money for Virginia Democrats, amid fears that the three statewide Democrats would be too hobbled to do so. He raised $258,000 over the quarter and turned nearly all of it over to the state party.

Herring raised $151,215 and Fairfax raised $60,767 but did not transfer it to any candidates or committees. Before February, Herring announced his intention to run for governor in 2021, and Fairfax was widely considered to be eyeing a run. It is unclear if either will move forward.

First day of Virginia’s special session cost nearly $45k (WRIC)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Members of the General Assembly left Richmond without voting on a single gun-control measure during Tuesday’s special legislative session. While the special session was pushed until after November’s elections, the cost for taxpayers on Tuesday was nearly $45,000.

According to Clerk of the House Paul Nardo, the cost for Tuesday’s special session was over $31,000 for House members, based on initial calculations. For the 96 delegates in attendance, the daily per diem rate was $213 per day — adding up to $20,448 — and the one round-trip mileage reimbursement totaled $11,337.84.

Clerk of the Senate, Susan C. Schaar, shared the cost of the special session’s first day for Virginia’s Senate with 8News. According to Schaar, the Senate members per diem totaled $8,106.36 and the total for the round trip mileage reimbursement was $4,798.82.

The overall cost for both chambers for Tuesday totaled $44,691.02.

The abrupt call to adjourn the session until Nov. 18 surprised many lawmakers. Gov. Ralph Northam, who called for the special session after the mass shooting inside a Virginia Beach municipal building, said Virginia expected better of Republicans in the General Assembly.

Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) told 8News Wednesday that taxpayers “didn’t get their money’s worth” from the first day of the special session.

“It’s unfortunate taxpayers didn’t get their money’s worth out of yesterday’s session,” Sen. Saslaw said. “It’s not the first time Virginians got shortchanged but if history is any judge, it won’t be the last.”

Virginia Republicans criticized the special session as “political theater” from the governor. Parker Slaybaugh, the spokesman for House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), told 8News that Tuesday’s session could have been avoided if Northam had decided to call upon his own review panel.

“We’re disappointed that Governor Northam and Virginia Democrats chose to spend taxpayer money to try and distract from the many scandals plaguing Democrats,” Parker Slaybaugh, spokesman for House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), told 8News. “Had Governor Northam simply convened a review panel on his own from the very beginning, we would have not needed to come into session to do it for him.”

Jake Rubenstein, communications director for the Democratic Party of Virginia, called out GOP lawmakers for adjourning the session after only 90 minutes and suggested a way for them to pay back Virginia’s taxpayers.

“Virginia Republicans should pay the citizens of Virginia back the $45,000 cost of the 90 minute special session from the NRA contributions they will get for blocking action on gun violence protection,” Rubenstein told 8News.

Worst. Rollout. Ever: Scott Taylor 2020 Starts Like Scott Taylor 2018 Ended

Scott Taylor’s campaign for United States Senate has started just like his losing 2018 race for Congress: scandal, criminal investigation, and confusion.

In his “rollout” on Monday, Taylor was met with

  • Confirmation from Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Donald Caldwell that he may still be under investigation for fraud for the forgery his campaign committed in 2018.
  • Renewed reporting on his association with indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter, including that he and Hunter exchanged campaign contributions after Hunter was indicted.
  • Coverage of the fact that this is the 5th office Taylor has explored running for in just the last ten years.

And to top it off, Taylor skipped his own introductory press conference in Richmond — possibly because he didn’t want to answer questions on the criminal forgery investigation, the affiliations with Hunter, or why he is running for yet another political office.

Not the way you want to start a political campaign! See below for a taste of Taylor’s disastrous rollout….

Republican Scott Taylor, a former congressman, to challenge Sen. Mark Warner (Washington Post, July 8)

The Democratic Party of Virginia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pointed to Taylor’s record of voting with Trump, the petitions scandal and his connection to indicted congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

In 2018, Hunter was accused of using campaign funds to pay for travel, dinner and drinks with women with whom he had extramarital affairs. Shortly after that, the state party noted, Taylor’s political action committee donated to Hunter’s reelection and accepted a donation from Hunter’s political action committee.

Former U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor announces bid to unseat Sen. Mark Warner (Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 8)

Taylor’s first day as a Senate candidate got off to a rocky start; a 2 p.m. news conference at a Richmond law firm was pushed back until 3:30 p.m., and when reporters arrived they were told it was pushed back to 5 p.m. Then the Taylor campaign sent an email to reporters saying it was canceled because of unexpected travel delays.

Fresh Off Staffer’s Election Fraud Indictment, Scott Taylor Runs For Senate (TPM, July 8)

In May, former Taylor campaign staffer Lauren Creekmore was indicted on two counts of election fraud for her role in a petition forgery scheme that a state judge had earlier called “out and out fraud.”

Taylor’s first known reaction to the alleged signature forgeries, as reported by TPM, was an attempt to bury the story. After a local Democratic volunteer posted online about a forged signature belonging to her former neighbor, who’d moved to Nevada and wasn’t eligible to sign a petition form, Taylor called the Democrat and pressured her to scrub the allegation from the web. After the Creekmore indictment, Taylor, who’s claimed ignorance of his staffers’ activities, threatened defamation lawsuits.

Scott Taylor to challenge Mark Warner for U.S. Senate seat (Virginian-Pilot, July 8)

Taylor’s last run for office was embroiled in controversy when his campaign was accused of falsifying petition signatures to help an independent candidate get on the ballot in the 2nd Congressional District. One of Taylor’s campaign staffers was indicted on two counts of election fraud.

Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Caldwell, who was asked to look into the forgery allegations, wrote in a news release that the “investigation continues into all aspects of potential election improprieties surrounding the petitions filed by (Brown) which have been traced back to people associated with the Taylor campaign.”

Republican Scott Taylor, a former congressman, to challenge Sen. Mark Warner (WP, July 8)

The Democratic Party of Virginia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pointed to Taylor’s record of voting with Trump, the petitions scandal and his connection to indicted congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

In 2018, Hunter was accused of using campaign funds to pay for travel, dinner and drinks with women with whom he had extramarital affairs. Shortly after that, the state party noted, Taylor’s political action committee donated to Hunter’s reelection and accepted a donation from Hunter’s political action committee.

Former GOP rep launches Senate campaign in Virginia (The Hill, July 8)

His reelection campaign faltered after his campaign staffers were accused of forging voter signatures to put a third-party “spoiler” candidate on the ballot. His campaign is currently being investigated by a special prosecutor.

New Take The Majority 2019 Merchandise

Shop the NEW ‘Take the Majority 2019’ designs, now live on the DPVA web-store! Get your coordinated campaign merchandise for election season today by visiting store.vademocrats.org/take-the-majority to shop!

ACLU — Know your rights!

Now more than ever, we want everyone to know: WE HAVE RIGHTS. If ICE agents show up at your door or at your work, know your rights. Conozca sus derechos. -ACLU

To view in multiple languages, visit ACLU’s Twitter.

WATCH: Elizabeth Warren Endorses Delegate Hala Ayala for Re-Election

Upcoming Events

To get your event added to the DPVA website and the newsletter, email digital@vademocrats.org with event details!

7/18 Allyship Summit

7/18 Blue Wave Paint Night

7/18 MCDC Monthly Meeting

7/20 July Mega Canvass with Larry Barnett

7/20 Jon Spear Band at Nelson County Democratic Picnic

7/20 Boards & Commissions Workshop

7/20 Westmoreland Democratic Committee

7/20 Peggy Garland Book Signing & Discussion

7/22 Lancaster Dems Pizza and Politics

7/22 Westmoreland Indivisible Meeting

7/23 Powhatan Democratic Committee Meeting

7/23 Arlington Cares: A Celebration of Volunteerism

7/23 Interracial Conversations

7/23 PWYDs Trivia Night Fundraiser

7/24 Woodbridge Veterans Town Hall

7/27 MCDC Summer Potluck Gathering

7/27 Harrisonburg Democratic Committee Yard Sale

7/28 Dining for Dems at 29 Diner

7/28 Art & Wine Meet & Greet

7/29 Coffee Chat w/ Sri Amudhanar

7/30 LCDC 2020 Democratic Debate Watch Party

7/31 LCDC 2020 Democratic Debate Watch Party

7/31 Democratic Women’s Club of Coastal Virginia Luncheon

8/3 Lee Dems Annual Luau

8/3 Coffee Chat with Buta Biberaj

8/5 Virginia Beach Democratic Committee Meeting

8/6 CCDC August Membership Meeting

8/7 Arlington Dems Monthly Meeting

8/10 Arlington Dems — August Breakfast with Tanya Bradsher

8/11 Coffee Chat with Justin Hannah

8/17 Westmoreland Democratic Committee Meeting

8/31 Roanoke City Democratic Committee Moonshine & Democrats

9/2 Powhatan Democratic Committee Parade Marchers

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Democratic Party of VA

Official Medium account of the Democratic Party of Virginia.