Democratic House of Delegates member Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) announced his bid for the lieutenant governor position earlier this week, officially entering the 2021 race.
Rasoul, who has served as a state legislator since 2014, made the announcement Tuesday morning through a video posted to twitter.
Hope isn't easy, but sometimes light punches through darkness.
Today, I announce my run for Lt. Governor of Virginia to join you in shining hope in every corner.
— Sam Rasoul (@Sam_Rasoul) November 10, 2020
“To me, it’s important [to run] after 2020 has thrown so much at us in so many ways,” Rasoul said in an interview with The Virginia Star. “I think 2021 will need a lot of healing and, for me, it’s just as much about being able to elevate issues I care deeply about, but also bring a different type of politics.”
Rasoul says the campaign is built around his three family values: Always tell the truth, always be kind and never give up. Those values are represented in Rasoul’s campaign slogan of truth, love and grit.
The platform Rasoul will be running on is what he described as the people’s platform: a combination of thousands of ideas from Virginians formed into a set of policies and key issues. To achieve that multilateral platform, Rasoul and his campaign plan to “safely and physically” visit every city and county in Virginia to hear the stories of locals who may be struggling.
“I’m asking people to take a chance on a different approach to politics,” he said. We are not so tribal in nature, but rather forging coalitions to make sure that we’re trying to do what’s best for all of Virginia. I’ve always tried to make sure I do that and my voter history shows it, that we put the needs of the people front and center, and I think that is what people are anxiously looking for.”
Since filing paperwork for the campaign a few weeks ago, Rasoul has already begun visiting localities. Rasoul started in Lee County, the most southwest county in the state, and made stops in northern Virginia as well as Richmond, he said.
When asked if he views the Lt. Gov. position as a stepping stone, Rasoul provided a blunt, but honest answer.
“Clearly the lieutenant governor, more than any position in Virginia, is a stepping stone,” Rasoul told The Star. “So it’s important for people to be forward and truthful about that.
“The reality is though how do we use that position to really try to better the lives of Virginians. So, in addition to presiding over the Senate and casting very important tie-breaking votes, using that platform to ensure that the voice of everyday Virginians is elevated and that’s an important platform.”
Unlike almost every other political campaign, Rasoul does not want to take money from corporate interests or political action committees. Rasoul said he is trying to become the first statewide elected official powered by 100 percent individual donations.
By early Friday morning, the campaign had already received 458 donations, bringing in $26,145, according to Rasoul’s Twitter profile.
Joining Rasoul as candidates in the Democratic primary are Del. Hala Ayala (D-Prince William), Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William), former Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Paul Goldman, lobbyist Xavier Warren as well as attorney and NAACP president Sean Perryman.
According to previous reporting from The Star, Prince William County School Board Chair Babur Lateef and Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan are also seriously considering bids.
Candidates on the Republican ticket are former state delegate Tim Hugo, Del. Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), veteran Lance Allen and lobbyist Puneet Ahluwalia. Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman has been rumored to be entering the race.
Rasoul was the first Muslim legislator elected to the Virginia General Assembly and, if elected in 2021, he would also become the first Muslim lieutenant governor in state history.
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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Skip Plitt – C’ville Photography. CC BY-SA 3.0.