Accomack County & Northampton County Democratic Committees
The May 1st ACDC Meeting was attended by Jonah Scharf, Lynwood Lewis, Larry Brantley, Debra J. Wharton, Gregory Temple, Kathy Boyd, Margaret Andrews, Diane Minor, Laurie Chamberlain, Parker Dooley, Al McKegg, Lisa LaMontagne, Bob Toner, Mary Holden, Maureen Dooley, C. Renata Major, Alice W. Rogers, and Marcia Fields.
Lynwood Lewis. Jonah Scharf, Lynwood Lewis's campaign manager, was introduced. He is moving to Accomack to work on the upcoming Lewis campaign. The campaign kickoff will be May 9 at the Island House. Senator Lewis reported on current legislative issues affecting the Eastern Shore. The amended budget includes $117 million to freeze tuition at state schools. Other issues include the Housing Trust Fund, Broadband, and $600K for Ob-Gyn at Riverside in Onley. Such care has not been affordable, with many rural areas left out. $2.5 million is expected investment from more rocket launches at Wallops, which spurs economic growth. $200K has been allocated to Chincoteague for sand migration, necessitated by rising sea levels. A study by the Corps of Engineers is expected. Redistricting is also an issue, and a reform bill needs to pass the legislature to be on the ballot. This is the last chance to amend the 2020 census forms. Debra Wharton mentioned ending suspension of for non-payment of funds.
Other topics are sea level rise, Coastal Resilience Fund for remediation, regional greenhouse gas initiative, funding of SOLs, elder abuse registry, tracking poultry factory use of water. Next year we hope to budget $200-$300K for saltwater intrusion., teacher pay raises, minimum wage raise phase-in, school infrastructure, Pre-K improvements, gun safety - red-flag laws, background checks, no excuse absentee voting. It is highly unusual that this district is represented by someone from the Eastern Shore due to population; from 2013 to 2015 there were four elections. Turning the VA House Democratic is a huge priority; there are four Senate seats targeted by Democratic caucus, a top kick-up opportunity. The challenges are always funds. This is an off-year state legislative election and turnout is expected to be low.
VAN Report. Margaret Andrews reported on Committee access to the Voter Activation Network (VAN) database which has extensive information on registered voters in Accomack County including contact information, voting and registration history. There is interest in using VAN better, in particular, taking advantage of supplemental voter characteristics provided to the VAN by the Democratic National Committee. Voter targeting has improved with the use of statistical models that impute probable characteristics of voters. In periods when absentee balloting is available, the VAN identifies voters who have requested and retuned absentee ballots. Otherwise voting history, identifies only the act of voting in a particular election (or primary) and whether an absentee ballot was used. Republicans are also using this technology. One shortcoming of our past use of the the VAN relates to how canvassing data is captured. Most of the ACDC canvassing information from the 2018 election went to the Elaine Luria campaign account, and was not entered into the ACDC account. As a result we don’t have access to it. Canvassing data entry into the VAN, according to Parker, is more easily doable with a mobile app. He also mentioned that data entry of activist codes, e.g. who took yard signs, should be encouraged and that Kobe Brenner is our VAN contact. Jonah Scharf reminded everyone of VAN phone numbers, which can be pulled for cold-calling for greater grass-roots support.
Campaign Activity Update. Lisa LaMontagne reported that there will be two more meet and greets for Phil Hernandez in May. May 8, at the Duncans in Greenbush, from 4:00-6:00 pm; on May 18, at the Ramos-Kohn home in N. Accomack County, and on May 19 at the Temples' home in Onancock. Recently there have been small groups with in-depth discussions. Phil will host round tables in June after school lets out so that teachers can participate, about Eastern Shore resilience in the face of coastal issues. Maureen, who can also advise, and Lisa, who suggested using several media outlets to get the word out, will take part.
Electoral Board Activities Report. Marcie Fields spoke on behalf of the Accomack Board of Elections. She mentioned a House bill which would increase the size of the Electoral Board; absentee voting for 2020 would be allowed for 7 days prior to the election; allow centralized or satellite offices; and provide for the security of the ballot. Absentee balloting for 2019 will still require an excuse be given. Maureen suggested the Board of Supervisors fund the satellite voting sites, for a better turnout . Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Reneta Major stated that the new board is an issue. Debra reported that the 2018 ballot's second page was frequently missed by voters and e are looking at ways to improve it. Parker pointed out that there are implicit/explicit biases in the way the ballots appear, and thus a need to challenge the wording of ballot measures
General Comments and Discussion. Parker Dooley commented that groundwater management has been an issue for at least 30 years. Jonah said there will be no Lewis campaign office on the Shore as of now. Maureen Dooley reported on Terry Malarkey's plans for a branch of UVA here on the shore, and Parker stated that it would not be competitive with ESCC but would complement their programs. The university would be like the one in Wise, VA, which was created in the 1950's. Diane Minor asked about voter suppression and criminal justice reform and mentioned raising the felony threshhold to $1,000. Larry Brantley mentioned the coke, “crack” and opioid epidemic, and suggested looking at death tolls as part of the intervention initiative. Parker thought that big issues would be economic, namely forgiveness of student debt. Janet Howe, a delegate from Northern VA, wants to soften the economic blow of educational expenses on kids.
The July ACDC Meeting will be at 6 pm on July 3rd at the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Building, 19056 Parkway Road, Melfa, VA 23410. Click here for map to meeting address. The committee normally meets on the First Wednesday of each Month @ 6 pm. Check out the ACDC website and the Facebook Page.
You might also be interested in the monthly meeting of Drinking Liberally in Onancock. Their regular July meeting has not been announced yet. It will be at 7:00pm in the Boardroom at the Charlotte Hotel, 7 North Street, VA 23417 in beautiful downtown Onancock. They'll have their usual "Open Mic" at 8:00pm for announcements, discussion, postcard/letter writing, or what-you-will. For further information or to RSVP, please contact Terry Malarkey.
Accomack County Committee minutes prepared by Laurie Chamberlin. Thank you!
The May Meeting of the NCDC was attended by members Sandra Beerends, Ruth Boettcher, Beth Calder, JoAnn Clark, JoAnne Fitchett, Paul Gammell, Dawn Goldstine, Linda Goldstine, J. T. Holland, Arlene Joynes, Barbara O’Hare, Ginger Olson, Willie Randall, Linda Schulz, Susan Stinson, Bob Toner, and Lynda Whitehead. It featured several guest speakers, listed below.
Bill O’Hare—Why the 2020 Census is Important to the Eastern Shore, Virginia, and the Nation. Mr. O’Hare explained in detail how the necessary data will be collected; the process will begin in March of 2020 and should be completed by the end of July. He explained that if we don’t get a fair count, we won’t get our fair share of resources, especially in poorer areas. Mr. O’Hare told us that experts agree that including a citizenship question on the questionnaire will suppress participation in the count. Because a vast number of pieces of paper need to be printed to complete the census, a definitive answer to whether the citizenship question will be included needs to be determined by the end of June. (Including the citizenship question will increase the cost and will lower the quality of the data response.)
Phil Hernandez, Candidate for Virginia House of Delegates, introduced his campaign manager, Elana Schrager, and his finance director, Henry O’Neal. Phil hopes to add a field director in June. He has been adopted by Sister District, a group of volunteers around the U.S. who monitor close races and is receiving growing support from outside the District.
Willie Randall, Candidate for Virginia Senate. Willie said that his campaign is about transformation and added that there are vast differences between the two candidates. He said his campaign is about leadership and facing issues of our time. He has a staff of about 10-15 people.
Jessie Williams, Chief of Staff for Incumbent State Senator Lynwood Lewis. Jessie said that she is extremely proud to be working with someone with so much integrity. She mentioned several issues on which Senator Lewis has stood out; for example, he is the foremost voice on sea level rise and has developed the Coastal Resiliency Fund.
Outreach, Voter Registration, Absentee Voting. Bob Toner reported that he and his team registered four new voters at the “Celebrate Us” event in Parksley on May 5. Volunteers were Sara Coleman (Phil Hernandez’ wife), Ann Lion (Phil’s mother-in-law), Ruth Boettcher and Beth Calder (two outstanding NCDC’ers). The Juneteenth Celebration will be held on Saturday, June 15, at the Exmore Town Park from noon until 4 p.m. Bob circulated a sign-up sheet for volunteers for this event. He also announced the creation of neighborhood voter canvassing teams of two to work on Saturdays in June (other than the 15th) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Volunteer Recruitment and Coordination. Beth Calder, head of this newly created committee, said that she has been using the database that David Phillips had created to find names of those who had volunteered in the past and those who are likely to do so again in the future.
Chair’s Report . Linda Schulz reminded everyone that Indivisible ESVA is hosting a brunch on May 18 at 10 a.m. at the Island House Restaurant in Wachapreague. Cost for the brunch is $18. The speaker will be Gene Rossi, former Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and a 2017 Democratic candidate for Virginia Lieutenant Governor.
The July NCDC meeting will be held at 7 pm on June 2nd at the Northampton Social Services Building, 5265 The Hornes, Eastville, VA 23347. Click here for map to meeting address. Normally the NCDC meets on the First Tuesday of each Month @ 7 pm. Check out the NCDC website and the Facebook Page.
Northampton County Committee minutes prepared by JoAnn Clark. Thank you!
There are very few contested races. In Accomack County and there is only one contested race for the constitutional officers. In the Accomack County Treasurer’s race James A. Lilliston of Melfa will face Brandy Custis Childress of Accomac. Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan, Commissioner of Revenue Deborah Midgett and Sheriff Todd Wessells are all uncontested.
In the Accomack County Board of Supervisors races Harris Phillips in District 5 is being challenged by James Rich of Bloxom and in District 7, Miriam "Tina" Riggs and Jackie Phillips both of Cashville are running to fill the vacant seat caused by the retirement of Laura Belle Gordy. In District 3, Vanessa Johnson is running unopposed to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Grayson Chesser. Billy Joe Tarr, Ron Wolff, Paul Muhly, Robert Crockett, Donald Hart and Reneta Major are all unopposed.
In the very first School Board Election in Accomack County, there are nine seats but only two are contested. Incumbent Gary Reese in District 4 is being challenged by Connie C. Burford of Bloxom. In District 7, Janet Martin-Turner of Accomac is being challenged by Thomas “TJ” Johnson III also from Accomac. Jessie Speidel in District 1, Edward F. Taylor in District 2, Lisa C. Johnson in District 3, Camesha Handy in District 5, Paul Bull in District 6, Dr. Ronnie E. Holden in District 8 and Malcom “Pep” White in District 9 are all unopposed.
It’s much the same story in Northampton County. Constitutional Officers Commonwealth’s Attorney Beverly Leatherbury, Sheriff David Doughty, Commissioner of Revenue Charlene Gray and Treasurer Cynthia Bradford are all running unopposed.
Two districts are up for the Board of Supervisors in Northampton. In District 4, Dixon Leatherbury will face David Kabler Sr.. In District 5, Betsy Mapp is running unopposed.
There are three candidates up for the School Board. At large member Charlena Jones, District 4 Jo Ann Molera and District 5 William Skip Oakley are all running unopposed.
We were not able to secure photos of all the local candidates. The photos shown below were recently published by The Eastern Shore Post or WESR Shore Daily News..
Incumbent 6th district Senator Lynwood Lewis will represent the Democrats in November’s General Election. Lewis defeated challenger Willie Randall with nearly72% of the overall vote in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary. Lewis will face a Republican challenger who has yet to announce.
On the Eastern Shore, Lewis defeated Randall in Accomack County 1,190 to 516 votes. In Northampton County, it was a little closer. Lewis had 521 votes, while Randall had 421. In Norfolk, Lewis received 2,534 votes to Randall’s 894 votes. In Matthews County, Lewis won 257 to 45. District wide Lynwood Lewis won with 71.6% of the votes, Randall received 29.4%.
The sixth Senate District includes Accomack and Northampton Counties on the Eastern Shore a large area in Norfolk and Matthews County on the Penninsula and a few precincts in Virginia Beach. 61 % of the 6th district voters live in Norfolk, 22% live in Accomack County, 8% live in Northampton County, 6% live in Matthews County and 3% live in Virginia Beach.
Lewis will face newly-announced Republican Elizabeth Lankford in the November General Election.
State and local candidates from Loudon County and nearby pose for a photo following a candidate forum hosted by the NAACP. From left to right: Loudon County Supervisor Geary Higgins, Republican Senate 13 Candidate, Ibrahim A. Moiz, Loudoun County Board Of Supervisors Sterling District Candidate (D); Koran Saines Loudoun County Board Of Supervisors Sterling District Candidate (D); Suhas Subramayam, Democrat Delegate 87th Candidate; Johanna Gusman, Democrat Delegate 87th Candidate; Akshay Nhamidipati, Democrat Delegate 87th Candidate; Nicole Merlene, Democrat Senate 33 Candidate; Hassan Ahmad, Democrat Delegate 87th Candidate; Justin P. Hannah, Loudoun County Sheriff (D) Candidate; Chris Harrison, Loudoun County Sheriff (D) Candidate; A representative for Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-33); A representative for Representative for Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-33); Loudoun County Supervisor Ron Meyer Jr., Republican Senate 13 Candidate
A Loudoun County forum had 11 Democratic candidates for public office in attendance last week, and of that group, only one was a white man. So it goes for the Democratic party in Virginia, wherein women and minorities have risen to elected office and leadership positions at historic pace amid a growing swell of women and minority candidates seeking statewide office.
Johanna Guzman, one of four Democratic contenders for the 87th House district participating in Thursday’s Loudoun Country Primary Candidate Forum, said the diversity of the candidates is “wonderful and to be celebrated.
Del. Ibraheem Samirah (D-86), who attended the forum, said the diversity on stage and across all levels of state governance “signals what is to come with fairer representation and also what is needed to advance our democracy forward.” Samirah, who is 27 years old, is the second Muslim ever elected to the Virginia General Assembly.
According to the 2010 census, Virginia is 69 percent white, 19 percent black, 6 percent Asian, and 6 percent of another ethnic background. The Commonwealth is 51 percent female and 49 percent male. But the population of the General Assembly has historically been dominated by older white men, clearly out of sync with the state demographics.
Demographics of the 2019 Virginia House of Delegate candidates
All 140 General Assembly Members are up for re-election in 2019. In the competition for the House of Delegates, the Democratic candidate pool looks a lot more like Virginia than the Republican field. In an analysis of all state House candidates, including primary contestants, incumbents and candidates running unopposed, The Dogwood found Democratic candidates closely represented the demographics of Virginia, while the Republican field remained dominated by white male candidates.
Men (48) and woman (48) are equally represented on the Democratic side, whereas 79 percent of Republican House candidates are men. Twenty-three percent of Democratic candidates are black versus 4 percent of Republicans. Democrats have eight women of color on the ballot; Republicans have none.
Adding to a historically diverse Democratic caucus
Though women and minorities still lack equal representation in Virginia’s statehouse, the General Assembly already looks much different than it did a few years ago due to a wave of Democratic women and minorities who ran and organized in the wake of the 2016 elections. The current body includes a record 37 women, members who are openly gay and a transgender woman — Democratic Del. Danica Roem of Manassas. In 2017, Democrats flipped 15 House of Delegates seats “previously held by white male Republicans,” Virginia House Democrats Communications Director Kathryn Gilley said. Women, people of color and younger candidates flipped most of those seats, she said. The surge brought Democrats within two votes of the Republican majority, 51 to 49.
The 2017 Democratic class then moved many women and minorities into leadership positions, appointing Del. Eileen Filler-Corn of Fairfax County as the House minority leader — the first woman in 400 years to hold the post — and Del. Charniele Herring (D-46) as caucus chair — the first woman of color ever to chair a caucus in Virginia. A black woman, Sen. Mamie Locke of Henrico, also helms the Senate Democratic Caucus. And the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, which includes members of the House and Senate, swelled to 21 members — all Democrats — including 11 women.
Forty-five percent of current House Democrats are women, and half of them are women of color. In a January floor speech commemorating the history of women in the legislature, Del. Vivian E. Watts (D-Fairfax), the longest-serving woman in the House, said: “We didn’t crack the ceiling; we shattered it.” Forty-five percent of the current House caucus is also non-white; one-quarter are under the age of 40 and 8 percent are openly LGBT+.
“Our greater numbers have helped us achieve successes like Medicaid expansion,” Gilley said, “however, both chambers are still controlled by Republicans. So we’re still seeing a lot of the bills put forth by women and people of color held up by our Republican majority.”
Democrats need to pick up two seats in both chambers to win the majority. In 2018, at the federal level, Democrats flipped three House seats previously held by white Republican incumbents, including two men, replacing them with three freshman woman — Reps. Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria, and Jennifer Wexton.
What’s driving women and minorities into statewide office
Gilley said the emergence of women and minority candidates happened organically, partially in response to the election of Republican President Donald Trump. Women and minorities “didn’t see that they were being represented in the executive branch of the federal level, and so they started running to provide representation at the state level,” Gilley said.
Outside groups like Emerge Virginia played a role, too. Emerge recruits and trains women candidates that want to run for office — its alumnae include Roem, Spanberger, and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-2).
And in May, Del. Marcia Price (D-95) launched Rising Power, a PAC to lift women of color into positions of power. “We know that with more women of color in state and local office, we’ll see better policy solutions for issues that disproportionately impact our communities like maternal health, equal pay, and criminal justice,” the PAC said in a statement at its launch party.
No woman of color has ever been elected to statewide office in Virginia. But Carroll Foy, a member of the Black Caucus, recently launched a PAC, signaling a possible statewide run.
“Virginia is in a much better place when it’s most marginalized are representing all Virginians, benefiting everyone’s life in the process,” Samirah said. “Virginians have much to celebrate of our state democracy, today, and more so going forward.” (Source: https://vadogwood.com/news/women-and-minorities-could-get-bo%E2%80%8Bost-in-historically-diverse-democratic-caucus/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email)
Challenges threatening the upcoming 2020 census could put more than 4 million people at risk of being undercounted in next year's national head count, according to new projections by the Urban Institute.
The nonpartisan think tank found that the danger of an inaccurate census could hit some of the country's most difficult to count populations the hardest. Based on the institute's analysis, the 2020 census could lead to the worst undercount of black and Latino and Latina people in the U.S. since 1990.
"Miscounts of this magnitude will have real consequences for the next decade, including how we fund programs for children and invest in our infrastructure," says Diana Elliott, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute who co-wrote the report released Tuesday.
Nationally, black residents could be undercounted by as much as 3.68%. "That doesn't sound terribly high, but when you realize that that's 1.7 million people, that's a lot of people to be missed in the overall count," Elliott explains.