Democratic State Senator Morrissey Key to Virginia Republican Legislative Policy Wins, Including Fetal Pain Abortion Ban

Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond) is set to be one of the most important legislators in the 2022 General Assembly session. The Virginia Senate has 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans, meaning that with just one Democratic senator swinging on a vote, Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears, a Republican, will cast a tie-breaking vote. Morrissey is a pro-life Democrat, and although he may be a standard Democrat on many issues, he occasionally finds common ground with Republicans.

“I don’t believe that being pro-life is something that is just in the orbit of Republicans,” Morrissey told The Virginia Star. “And let’s be clear: I’m not being disrespectful towards those that are pro-choice. It is my choice to be pro-life. It’s how I feel, and I’ve never wavered from that since the moment I came into the General Assembly.”

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Commission Passes School Upgrade Funding Recommendations to Virginia General Assembly

Virginia’s Commission on School Construction and Modernization recommended actions for the General Assembly and the Governor to take to help fund upgrades and new construction in schools.

A June report to the Commission found that 41 percent of school divisions are at or above capacity, and 29 percent are nearing capacity. More than half of school buildings are over 50 years old, and divisions in Western Virginia, Southwest, and Southside have the oldest buildings with a median age of 58 years.

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Paul Goldman Files Motion for Injunction to Block Certification of Virginia House Races for Two-Year Terms

Democratic operative Paul Goldman is asking a federal court to issue a temporary injunction blocking the State Board of Elections from issuing Certificates of Election in the House of Delegates certifying that the winners have the right to a two-year term. Goldman’s motion is part of his ongoing lawsuit arguing that the recent elections were unconstitutional, since they were held on old district lines due to redistricting delays. Goldman filed his suit before the election. He said he didn’t receive support from Democrats, and that Attorney General Mark Herring slow-walked the process. Herring’s office is defending state elections officials in the suit.

“They have specifically avoided dealing with this. Herring could have issued an opinion during the election. They could have had the Supreme Court do a ruling. They didn’t do it. Why? Because the Democrats were trying to get a two-year term,” Goldman told The Virginia Star. “Now this same argument can be used by the Republicans.”

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Virginia Governor-Elect Youngkin’s Top Campaign Promises in Education, COVID-19, Economics, Law Enforcement, and Elections Policy

Glenn Youngkin in crowd during a rally

Glenn Youngkin will be Virginia’s next governor, part of a near-complete Republican takeover of Virginia’s government. In 2022, Republicans will be governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor. They will also likely hold a two-seat majority in the House of Delegates, although two close races may go to recounts. However, they will not hold the Senate, where Democrats have a 21-to-19 majority. Still, if one Democratic senator flips on a vote, that would create a tie that lieutenant governor-elect Winsome Sears would break. Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), who House Republicans nominated for Speaker, has said that Republicans do have a mandate, but he is also aware of the need to work across the aisle with the Senate.

All that gives political novice Youngkin strong Republican support to launch efforts to fulfill his campaign promises, but also sets him up for serious challenges to get his policies across the finish line. Still, Virginia governors have extensive power to set policy and funding priorities, and Youngkin will also have executive authority, which will allow him to fulfill some key promises without legislative buy-in.

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Preparing to Take Power, Newly Elected Virginia Gov. Youngkin Announces His Transition Team

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin announced his transition steering committee and advisors on Wednesday. The group includes Republican legislators, Republican Party of Virginia officials, and the three previous Republican governors of Virginia. Former Democratic Governor Doug Wilder is also on the list; he aimed several attacks at opponent former Governor Terry McAuliffe during the campaign without ever endorsing Youngkin. The list also includes Sentara Chief of Staff Aubrey Layne, who was a cabinet official to both Governor Ralph Northam and McAuliffe.

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Grassroots Kills Richmond Casino Despite Nearly $2 Million in Campaign Spending

Richmond voters decided against the One Casino + Resort proposal 51.44 percent to 48.56 percent of votes in Tuesdays’ referendum, according to unofficial results at The Virginia Public Access Project. That’s despite $1.9 million in funding for the campaign, and major endorsements including Mayor Levar Stoney, rapper Missy Elliott, and actor Jamie Foxx. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe endorsed the casino, and his opponent governor-elect Glenn Youngkin approved of the proposal. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) was the only major figure to speak against the proposal.

“They had everything you could want. Massive endorsements from everybody, all the big shots,” Paul Goldman said.

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Republicans Flip Seven Seats and the Virginia House Majority

Virginia Republicans retook the House of Delegates by protecting their incumbents and flipping seven seats, giving them a 52-48 majority, according to unofficial election results. Those flips included some predictable results. Otto Wachsmann defeated Delegate Roslyn Tyler (D-Sussex). Republicans won in four out of five competitive Virginia Beach races. Mike Cherry protected Republican control of outgoing Delegate Kirk Cox’s (R-Colonial Heights) district.

Republicans also pulled off some surprises. A.C. Cordoza has apparently defeated Delegate Martha Mugler (D-Hampton) 49.68 percent to 48.70 percent — a nail biting result since mail-in ballots can still come in.

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Youngkin: Trump Not Coming to Virginia Before Election

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe is campaigning for reelection with the help of national Democrats, even the currently-unpopular President Joe Biden, but GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin says he wants to keep the race focused on Virginia. Youngkin is largely avoiding the in-state presence of national Republicans, and he highlighted the contrast between the two campaign strategies in comments about his bus tour. On Thursday, Youngkin said that former President Donald Trump would not visit Virginia before the election.

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Money Keeps Pouring into Virginia’s Gubernatorial Race

Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates together raised $28.3 million in the first three weeks of October. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe raised $12.9 million, with $1.9 million cash on hand. GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin raised $15.4 million, with nearly $7.9 million cash on hand at the end of the reporting period, according to The Virginia Public Access Project. Youngkin’s fundraising includes another $3.5 million in self-loans, for a total $20 million that he has loaned himself throughout the campaign.

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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate McAuliffe Endorses Richmond Casino Proposal

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has endorsed the ONE Casino + Resort proposal that Richmond voters are currently considering.

“I mean, think about what’s going to happen here in Richmond,” McAuliffe said in a Twitter video Thursday. “Construction: 3,000 jobs. 15,000 permanent jobs. $50 million in revenue that will help schools, hospitals, everything else. I’m so excited.”

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Virginia Lawsuit to Force Multiple House of Delegates Elections in a Row Survives Challenge from the Attorney General

A lawsuit that could force House of Delegates candidates to run multiple years in a row had a win Tuesday. Paul Goldman’s lawsuit lists multiple Virginia officials and agencies as defendants, but the Office of the Attorney General argued that they were protected by sovereign immunity. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Judge David Novak ruled that while defendants including Governor Ralph Northam are protected, the lawsuit can proceed against the State Board of Elections and Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Christopher Piper.

“That’s fine with me because I’ve still got four defendants left, you only need one,” Goldman told The Virginia Star.

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Senator Kaine Votes Against Richmond Casino

Richmond voters are currently deciding if the ONE Casino +Resort proposal will be approved or not, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) has said that he voted against the proposal.

“Senator Kaine voted on Monday, September 20. He voted against the casino proposal. He believes there are better ways to enhance economic development in Richmond,” Kaine’s office said in a statement.

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Former Virginia Democratic Chairman Says McAuliffe’s Missed Signature Gave Him Unfair Primary Advantage

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe failed to sign paperwork to declare his candidacy; the GOP is using the issue to try to disqualify McAuliffe. That outcome is possible but unlikely, according to former Virginia Democratic Chairman Paul Goldman. Goldman is focused on the date the paperwork was filed — March 8. That day, at noon, was the first day candidates could file for the Democratic primary, and the first candidate to file gets to be listed first on the ballot.

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Virginia General Assembly Kills Bill to Require Equal Educational Opportunities Across All Schools

After passing in the Senate 34 to one, Senator Bill Stanley’s (R-Franklin County) constitutional amendment to require equitable educational opportunities in all Virginia schools was killed by the House of Delegates Privileges and Elections Committee. Virginia’s constitution requires that free school be provided for all school-aged children. Stanley’s bill SJ 275 would have added a requirement that those schools include “equitable educational opportunities” for all school-aged children.

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Virginia Lawsuit Reduces Threshold — Only 2,000 Signatures Needed to Get on 2021 Ballot

Statewide candidates for the Democratic primary and independents for the 2021 Virginia general election now only have to get 2,000 signatures, which can be collected electronically, and they only need to get 50 from each congressional district. The change is the result of a settlement after gubernatorial candidate Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas) and Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Paul Goldman sued Virginia elections officials arguing that during COVID-19, asking candidates to send teams out across the state collecting in-person signatures was a recipe for problems.

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Virginia Police Increasing Sobriety Checkpoints and Patrols During the Holidays

Virginia is again ramping up its Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign, a program aimed at reducing drunk driving through increased police activity and sobriety checkpoints. Through December 8, 2020, there were 253 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Virginia, up from 249 in the same period in 2019, according to a press release from Governor Ralph Northam’s office.

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Democratic Lieutenant Governor Candidate Digs Up the 2019 Virginia Democratic Scandals

Paul Goldman, candidate in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, slammed likely gubernatorial candidate former Governor Terry McAuliffe in a Monday press release. Goldman censured McAuliffe and establishment Democrats for calling for Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D) to resign in 2019 without due process after allegations of sexual abuse involving Fairfax, who is running for governor in 2021.

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Glenn Davis is Determined to Make Second Run at Virginia Lieutenant Governor a Success

Virginia State Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) says he wants to restore the Commonwealth as a bastion of business and help bring increased equity to education throughout the state if elected as lieutenant governor in 2021.

Davis, 47, announced his second run for the position back in September and was the first Republican candidate to enter the 2021 Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election, which will take place next November.

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Delegate Sam Rasoul Announces Run for Lieutenant Governor, Joins Crowded List of Hopefuls

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.

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Lance Allen Wants to Bring a Fresh Approach to Virginia Politics as Lt. Gov.

Virginia lieutenant governor candidate Lance Allen is determined to bring a new approach to state-level politics in the Commonwealth and offer Virginians with something that has been lacking: a politician who will listen to their problems. 

Allen formally announced his entrance into the 2021 Virginia lieutenant gubernatorial election back in August, joining a handful of other Republican hopefuls in a pursuit to become the second-highest-ranking government official in the state. 

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney Wins Re-election

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has won another term in office with 38.07 percent of voters, just ahead of the 35.72 percent of voters he won in 2016, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) and the City of Richmond. That upper-30s range is also the percent of support the mayor had in recent 2020 polls. In his first term, the mayor faced challenges including poor graduation rates in Richmond schools, controversy over his coliseum project, COVID-19 health and economic concerns, and questions of racial equity around policing and Confederate monuments. Those issues still face the mayor as he enters a second term.

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Sean Perryman: It’s Time For a New Generation of Leaders to Emerge

Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidate Sean Perryman does not want to use the position as a stepping stone or to be just another cog in the political machine. Instead, he is aiming to lead the Commonwealth by solving key issues currently facing the majority of Virginians.

“Sometimes people look at lieutenant governor as a role where if you sit quietly and don’t offend anyone then you can become governor. I have no interest in that,” Perryman said in an interview with The Virginia Star. “I am going to be very vocal on a set of policies and values that we should be championing, and let the chips fall where they may. I am not going to stifle myself or take a position to further political ambitions, I am going to do what I think is right.”

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Richmond Mayoral Underdog Griffin Attacks Gray in Mailer

Mayoral candidate Justin Griffin recently sent out mailers arguing for a link between opponent candidate Kim Gray and Richmond For All (RFA), Governor Ralph Northam, and Louis Salomonsky. Griffin only got three percent in the most recent poll, well behind his nearest competitor Alexsis Rodgers who got 15 percent, Kim Gray, who got 16 percent, and incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney, who got 36 percent.

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Follow The Money: Who Is Investing in the Richmond Mayor’s Race?

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has passed the $916,255 he raised in 2016 campaign, hitting $1.07 million in 2020 by raising $302,294 in the first three weeks of October, according to data from The Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Alexsis Rodgers has now raised $415,760 in total, despite beginning her race in June. Kim Gray has raised $391,502.

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Lieutenant Governor’s Race Crowded with Hopefuls for Future Governor

Ten candidates have officially announced runs for the 2021 Virginia Lieutenant Governor (LG) primaries, and more are reported to be eyeing the seat. According to the Virginia Constitution, the LG’s primary role is the president of the Senate; however, he has no vote unless the Senate is tied.

Candidate and former Democratic Party of Virginia Chair Paul Goldman told The Virginia Star, “People are going to say, ‘If I get to be lieutenant governor, I’ll be the next governor in four years. That’s what they’re thinking. That’s what they’ve always thought.'”

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Follow the Richmond Money: Mayor’s Race Wide Open

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney blew away challengers Alexsis Rodgers and Kim Gray with September campaign fundraising. Data from The Virginia Public Access Project shows Stoney’s campaign reported $224,602, Rodgers reported $98,283, and Gray reported $83,455.

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Latest Poll: Gray Drops to 16 Percent, Stoney Stays Stable

Kim Gray’s support has plunged from 33 percent to 16 percent, just ahead of Alexsis Rodgers at 15 percent, according to a new poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney stayed solid at 36 percent. Justin Griffin dropped to 3 percent, and Tracey McLean got 1 percent. 30 percent of Richmond’s voters are undecided about the mayoral election.

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Large Numbers of Early Voters Might Not Change Final Election Results

It looked like the release of a new iPhone. Across Virginia, hundreds of people lined up outside polling places on the first day of early voting on Friday. The Virginia Public Access Project is reporting that already, over 600,000 more Virginians have requested mail-in ballots than in 2016. However, political pundits warn that large increases in early voting might not affect final results that much.

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It’s About the Incumbent: Five Richmond Mayor Candidates Debate in Zoom Forum

Candidates for the Richmond mayor’s race took turns establishing their policy priorities and attacking the incumbent in the Southside Mayoral Forum held on Tuesday via Zoom. The candidates answered questions focused on economic and political priorities and better road and parks infrastructure.

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Lawsuit Filed Over Ballot Language in Ongoing Battle Over Amendment 1 Redistricting

Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidate Paul Goldman filed a lawsuit Thursday against the State Board of Elections in the ongoing controversy over Amendment 1 redistricting. The suit says that the ballot question on the amendment uses misleading language to unfairly skew voter perception.

Goldman says people will assume they have a fair summary before them. However, he argues this is not the case.

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Virginia Increasing DUI Enforcement with Annual Checkpoint Strikeforce Campaign

Virginia law enforcement agencies have increased DUI enforcement efforts as part of the 19th annual Checkpoint Strikeforce Campaign.

The campaign began on August 26, and will last until Labor Day. It will be resumed periodically during specific holidays. The state and its partners are using a combination of ad campaigns, advance notification, increased patrols, and physical checkpoints to deter drunk driving.

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