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The Virginia Democrats ship a message to Statehouse candidates: Progressives aren’t required to use

The Virginia Department of Elections, led by Democratic Chairman Robert Brink, disqualified three progressive House of Delegates candidates for this cycle: Dr. Michael Jones, Matt Rogers and Cydny Neville. All three are colored people, and each ran against a long-time incumbent in a deep blue neighborhood. The State Board routinely granted extensions to candidates to resolve paperwork issues during a 10-day grace period permitted by Virginia law. In fact, it was only last year that Brink allowed several candidates – including two Republicans – to fix their records.

One of those Republicans, Nick Frietas, made the same mistake two years in a row. Another GOP candidate, uprising Bob Good, missed the deadline entirely. As early as 2020, Brink argued not to grant these men an extension would be expensive and "draconian".

"This would run counter to my personal belief that we should give as much access to the ballot as possible and let the voters decide," he said.

That year, however, access to three main candidates was canceled without open consultation or voting by the three-member panel. As a result, incumbents in these democratic districts who have been in office for over 10 years will receive a free ride to the general election. So much for letting the voters decide.

I would like to point out that five Caucasian candidates were also disqualified for mistakes. However, any of these candidates can appear on the ballot during this cycle. How? In Virginia, when a person is the only candidate submitted for their state party in a district, they become a candidate by acclamation regardless of when they completed their filing. As you can imagine, this is a huge boon for established businesses that don't have primary challengers. Only black candidates were disqualified in this cycle.

Several Democratic candidates going through this cycle, including Idris O'Connor, Jennifer Adeli, and Tara OrlandoAll officially asked the electoral department to reverse its decision and treat all candidates equally.

By the way, election papers in Virginia are unnecessarily complicated and seem to be designed to make it as difficult as possible to run for office. There are no less than three forms for the declaration of candidacy required; Everyone is basically just saying that a person wants to run for office. Instructions on a form encourage the prospective candidate to send it to Richmond without providing an address.

One rejected lead candidate, Neville, wanted to run on HD-52 in Prince William County. you According to official sources, she called on March 26 to confirm that she had taken part in the vote. On April 6, after the registration deadline, Councilor Neville was informed that she would not be voting. She found it particularly annoying because a candidate who ran in a special election in January at nearby HD-02 was granted an extension. In fact, the State Board convened an emergency meeting to consider the candidate's request for renewal in this election.

MattRogers.png
Matt Rogers.

Another candidate denied access to ballots, Rogers, ran for HD-47 in Arlington County. Rogers told Daily Kos He was disqualified because the State Board claimed they never received two forms: the Declaration of Economic Interest (SOEI) and the Certificate of Candidate Qualification (CCQ). Rogers, a legal advisor who is very familiar with the required documentation, makes strong claims that he submitted these forms despite saying he may have submitted them too far in advance – months before the deadline.

Meanwhile a FOIA request confirmed that rumors of preferential treatment for certain candidates were justified. In a FOIA document, Virginia Dems political director Shyam Raman asked election officer Paul Sanders to post regularly updated lists tracking which Democratic candidates had submitted their SOEI and CCQ forms.

However, some candidates missed it.

Spreadsheets were also uncovered in the FOIA request that tracked the compliance of each candidate special for the shapes in the heart of Rogers' disqualification. Party officials said The nations Joan Walsh that they did not pursue them.

I was told that there is no such operation; Democratic Party staff had only helped with internal party business, including reviewing nominations. but not with the question of whether candidates have submitted their state-required certificate for candidate qualifications (CCQ) or a declaration of economic interest (SOEI), also known as a declaration of ethics.

The Democratic Party followed up on this information, but the Rogers campaign never came to light. State board officials told Rogers they couldn't inform him because You didn't have his email. This struck Rogers as rather strange as all submissions must include email, phone number and address. Rogers goes into more detail in his own post on Daily Kos, but suffice it to say that he will not be voting this cycle.

Another FOIA request from the NAACP revealed how often extensions were granted in the past.

Back in Virginia Beach, the progressive Liguid announced their candidacy. Soon after, she had a surprising challenger.

Virginia doesn't ask its citizens to register to vote by party affiliation, but Melnyk was an active hardcore Republican in every way. She voted only in GOP primaries from 1996 to 2020. Public finance records too show that she donated to a Republican Political Action Committee still 2018; There is no record of her donating anything to a Democratic PAC or candidate. Indeed Liguid accuses her Fund their current campaign with funds raised from GOP donors.

However, Melnyk and her husband have a solid record of sponsoring Republican candidates. Jason Miyares, a right trumpist vie for the Republican attorney general nomination, proudly listed Melnyk as a supporter.

Melnyk too supported the candidacy of far-right winger and obstetrician Ben Loyolawho thankfully lost to the Democratic candidate last June. Loyola openly questioned Obama's citizenship, called health insurance "socialism" and wanted to eliminate the Ministry of Education. Still, Melnyk was listed on his campaign website than having approved of him.

Melnyk was also recognized by the Virginia Beach Republican Party as one of their best "female leaders."

Kim Melnyk is recognized as a Republican women leader in Virginia Beach.

Melnyk may go to a democratic elementary school, but she doesn't sound very much like a democrat. For example, every democrat should know that the misleadingly named "right to work" laws attack workers 'protection, reduce occupational safety, increase income inequality and weaken workers' voices. That is why corporate interests fight so hard for them.

But during a debate afterwards uncomfortable questions When asked about her strong ties to the Virginia GOP, Melnyk avoided simple questions like this:

No, the correct answer is "I will vote for repeal."

To be fair, Melnyk says she is now a democrat who agrees with democratic values. That's all well and good – welcome to the left! – but it seems strange that the State party should support a newcomer versus the more progressive Liguid, who actually worked hard to elect Democrats.

Virginia Beach Progressives aren't happy. Gary McCollum, member of the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference and former Senate candidate, Put it bluntly: “Gone are the days of telling blacks, people of color and other marginalized communities who their leaders will be. A hasty approval from Ms. Melnyk is not only a relic of old Virginia, but also an injustice for the 84th district voters. "

McCollum has pointed out that progressive color candidates have traditionally not been supported by what he calls "so-called moderate or established elements of the Virginia Democratic Party" and gives examples. The current governor, Ralph Northam, is a former Virginia Beach state senator who supported the sheriff's Republican because of his progressive black challenger. In 2017, a black candidate in Virginia Beach did not receive any money from the House Democratic Caucus but came with himn 742 votes to win. In the elections that followed, when a Caucasian candidate was fighting for the same seat, she received substantial funding.

VA delegate candidate Tracie Liguid
Tracie Liguid.

Although Liguid is an educator, she claims Virginia Beach Education Association president Kelly Walker degraded she and tried to persuade her to drop out of the race in order to point a clear path to Melnyk, the vice chairman of the Virginia Beach School Board. Liquid turned it down, and Walker offered Liguid a position on the union committee, which she immediately turned down. The offer is discussed in emails checked by Daily Kos.

Progressive activists are not the enemy and we don't have radical ideas. We believe in a living wage, the right to organize in unions, to have the rich pay their fair share, to invest in infrastructure, to have access to health care and to treat everyone equally and with dignity. There is nothing radical about it, and our policies are popular.

The GOP is strong enough that there is no need to turn our own voters into enemies, let alone those brave enough to run for office. That's a recipe for ruin. It doesn't take any further than the Florida Democratic Party to see where this strategy takes you. My State party is trying to run its own established protection racket: our leaders are also sabotaging the primary challenges. Damn it, actually Sabotage progressives running for Republican seats. As a result, our state party is in a mess;; Although our state has more Democrats than Republicans, we have a legislature that is more right-wing than Alabama's.

That was not always so. Florida politics was dominated by Democrats for a long time until the 1990s, when they lost control through infighting, which led to apathy among our voters. The Republicans fell, and once in control they spent their time cementing their power through Gerrymander, attacking the suffrage, and piling up the courts. I never thought I would see Florida this red, but then again, I never thought I would see Virginia this blue.

Progressive organizations and candidates have delivered in Virginia, so I urge Democratic heads of state to work with them rather than fight them. Let Florida's mistake be a warning to be heeded.

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