A recent anecdote in The New Yorker caught our attention:
When James Comey took over as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in 2002 . . . he summoned his young prosecutors for a pep talk . . . Addressing this ferociously competitive cohort, Comey asked, “Who here has never had an acquittal or a hung jury?” Several go-getters, proud of their unblemished records, raised their hands.
But Comey, with his trademark altar-boy probity, had a surprise for them. “You are members of what we like to call the Chickenshit Club,” he said.
Obviously, like many Americans, we have complicated feelings about Comey. But are we members of the club he describes too? We ask because too many of us in politics are risk averse. We invest in a narrow set of races and then brag about our winning records. We ignore rural districts and overlook unconventional candidates. This narrow map approach has been tried and failed: Donald Trump is President; Republicans control congress; Republicans have 34 of 50 governor’s seats and control both chambers in 32 states, including 17 with veto-proof majorities.
Now is the time to expand the map — and our conception of where our leaders come from. Virginia is the place to start.
Virginia state elections are on November 7th. The Arena PAC is supporting 11 candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates in two critical areas: messaging and organizing. Many of these candidates have been overlooked, either because of their background or because of perceived winnability of their district. As part of this work, we’ve funded the addition of 17 organizers across these races and one statewide organizing director. We’ve also partnered with Avalanche Strategy and WIN Media to produce video ads for six of these candidates and with Mobilize America to translate these ads into voter and volunteer action.
All of these candidates are running for seats currently held by Republicans. According to the Cook Political Report, three of these races are “toss up” or “probable Democratic,” and three are “Democratic reach.” The remaining five are “tidal wave” districts — meaning Democratic victories in those districts would be historic.
Now is the time to be bold. Join us. Let’s expand the map.
Arena PAC Virginia House of Delegates Candidates
- Hala Ayala, District 51
- Sheila Bynum-Coleman, District 62
- Jennifer Carroll Foy, District 2
- Rebecca Colaw, District 64
- Veronica Coleman, District 84
- Kelly Fowler, District 21
- Wendy Gooditis, District 10
- Elizabeth Guzman, District 31
- Kellen Squire, District 58
- Donte Tanner, District 40
- Tia Walbridge, District 33