Virginia Democrats survived a “Red Wave” but more mainstream-packaged Republicans that can keep Trump at arm’s length are pulling the Commonwealth backward.
The best path to move forward is to evaluate what happened and what can be done to prepare better in 2023 and 2024.
Although Virginia Democrats won 6 of the 11 House Seats in 2022, the loss in the 2nd Congressional District appears to be one of the key tipping point seats that will cost Democrats the Majority in the U.S. House and our candidate under-performed pre-election forecasts.
As of today, according to Politico only 3 Democratic incumbents in Biden Districts lost: Elaine Luria (VA-2) as well as the DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-17) who likely was over-extended and Tom Malinowski (NJ-7) running against the son of the popular moderate former Governor of New Jersey.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t even close as Biden won the new 2nd District by 2 but Congresswoman Luria lost the District by 4 which is a more significant decline (-6) than in the 7th Congressional District which Biden won by 6 points and Congresswoman Spanberger won by 4 points (-2).
You can look at the numbers when you compare Virginia Congressional Election Results (Washington Post) in 2022 with the 2020 Presidential Election Results by Congressional District (Daily Kos Analysis).
Congresswoman Luria’s messaging strategy for discussing her participation in the January 6th Committee might have put her in a more difficult situation than other Democrats but her campaign could also have benefited from the support of a greater influx of experienced Democratic campaign operatives, organizers and volunteers from around the state.
The first step to moving forward is conducting a full de-brief of how the Democratic Party of Virginia, local committees and campaigns performed in 2022 and what changes are recommended for 2023 and 2024.
The National Democratic Training Committee (an independent organization from the Democratic National Committee) is hosting several sessions to discuss how to conduct Campaign and Party De-Briefs this month that can offer a blueprint on how to get started.
This includes an Expert Q&A with NDTC Founder Kelly Dietrich as well as trainings on “Running An Effective Political Campaign De-Brief” and “Running an Effective Campaign Debrief for Your Democratic Party”. Among the supporting materials for these trainings are “How To Conduct A Campaign De-Brief” and “Creating A Positive Team Culture.”
In Virginia, I recommend hosting hybrid de-briefs in-person and via zoom for Democrats starting in the 2nd District followed by a tour of every congressional district in the commonwealth to ensure that we’re prepared to compete in more State Senate and Delegate districts in 2023 and statewide for our Presidential and U.S. Senate election in 2024.
As part of these de-brief events, adequate time should be reserved for listening to the perspectives of local party officials and members as well as campaign staff and volunteers. And it is critical that these events should be forums for connecting, innovating and collaborating not opportunities for blaming, defensiveness or retribution.
If the Democratic Party wants to serve as a “big tent” coalition that is committed to move forward democratic values it needs to embrace listening to a diverse collection of voices and building an inclusive movement that reflects a broad spectrum of constituencies in the commonwealth.
This process should NOT serve as an opportunity to shoot the messengers because those voices usually represent the organizers who know their communities best.
If you would like to be part of a dialogue on how to learn lessons from 2022 and how to use them to move forward in 2023 and 2024 please join me on Mondays at my “Keep Virginia Blue” War Room meetings. You can follow the links at https://linktr.ee/KeepVABlueCrew for updates.
ABOUT JIM MCBRIDE:
“Keep Virginia Blue” and “Blue Victory 2022” Event Host Jim McBride is a Grassroots Community Leader focused on mobilizing grassroots networks from DC/MD/VA and beyond to win battleground districts for Democrats.
Jim is a member of Virginia Grassroots Coalition and the Fairfax County Democratic Committee who ran for Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia in 2022.
He previously served as a DNC & Biden-Harris Community Leader and Communications Director of the DC/MD/VA Grassroots Coordinating Committee. He also took the role as the 1st Volunteer Database Coodinator for Virginia For Obama during the 2008 Primary while in the position of Vice Chair of Arlington Democrat’s Precinct Operations and founded Generation Obama-DC/MD/VA Chapter while in the position of President of Arlington Young Democrats in 2007.
Jim has over three decades of communications and political experience including managing the communications department of the International Association of Fire Fighters and working with award-winning public relations firms. He earned a a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communication from Ithaca College in 1996.