Local Democrats Stress Need for Teamwork, Importance of Virginia
By Sarah Steele Wilson
Oct 1, 2012, 13:31
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Some attendees brought signs in support of their candidates
With the November elections just a little over a month away, political campaigns across the country are kicking into high gear. In Virginia, which is expected to be one of the most hotly contested and essential swing states in the 2012 election, that is particularly true.
“There’s a lot of ways to get to 270 electoral votes, but not a whole lot of getting there without getting through Virginia, so the work that you guys do is the most important work that’s being done in the country,” said Don Mark, the Obama campaign’s political director for Virginia speaking to the crowd assembled at the Sunlight-Williams Elks Lodge for the Blue Victory Candidates Meet and Greet on Saturday afternoon.
Hosted by the Hopewell Democratic Committee, the event stressed the important role Virginia will play in the upcoming election and the fact that what will happen in Washington in the next four years will depend on all the races voters will be deciding on at the polls on Nov. 6.
“We want to make sure we get our president back in, but then we want to make sure we give him the support he needs,” said state Del. Rosalyn Dance, D-63rd, as she addressed the crowd.
She explained that a president needs people in the House of Representatives and Senate who will propose and support similar initiatives and policies. Dance said that after Obama won in 2008, Democrats let their party lose important seats in Congress and asked the audience not to let that happen again in 2012.
She urged the audience to support Wayne Powell, who will be running against incumbent Republican Eric Cantor in the 7th District, Ella Ward, who is challenging incumbent Republican Randy Forbes in the 4th District and incumbent Democrat Bobby Scott, who represents the 3rd District.
“They’re the three that we’ve got to work on to make sure that when our president wins, he has a team to work with him,” Dance said.
Ella Ward, who was in Hopewell to meet her supporters, said that a desire to help Obama and pass legislation is part of the reason she is running.
“I am running because we have to make sure that there is an end to the gridlock,” she said. “We have to get bills passed.”
To do that, she said, it would required the continued efforts of campaign volunteers and the votes of people like those seated around tables in the Elks Lodge.
“We are going to be victorious on November the sixth, but I need your help,” she said. “President Obama needs my help and he needs your help. Tim Kaine needs your help. We’ve got to make sure that our President has some support. He can’t do it by himself.”
Mark rallied Virginia volunteers and voters by recalling election night four years ago, when CNN reported at 10:58 p.m. that Obama had won in Virginia, making him the first Democrat to take the state in more than 40 years.
“It was no mistake that two minutes later, he was President Elect Obama, and that’s going to happen again this year,” Mark said.
He thanked all those present for volunteering and said that because of the hard work of people like them, the campaign has now knocked on more doors in Virginia than in any other state.
“We have a chance to decide how the election is going to go, here in Virginia,” he said.
He urged the audience not to grow complacent in the final weeks before the election, asking them to wake up thinking about what they can do to help re-elect the President and provide him with support in Congress.
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Wayne Walton, Ann Walton, Elizabeth Kelly, Ella Ward, and Jimmy Dailey gather at the Elks Lodge on Saturday during a meet and greet with candidates
Virginia have been subjected to a barrage of political ads launched by both parties and have begun to tune them out, Mark said. He said those ads, which can be ignored or put on mute, will not influence the election as much as conversations between friends and family.
“What we have found is these conversations people have with their communities and their neighbors are much more powerful than anything that they’ll see on TV,” he said.
Last week, Republican and Tea Party Candidates spent a Saturday afternoon in Scott Park in Prince George County meeting voters and inspiring that base to vote, an act candidates of all political stripes agree is important and crucial to success.
In addition to the House, Senate and Presidential races, Hopewell voters will also face a decision in local elections for members of City Council.
To support their candidates in the election, voters must be properly registered 22 days prior to Nov. 6. Applications can be found online or at local registrar’s offices and libraries and at Department of Motor Vehicles and Armed Forces recruitment offices.