Democratic Gubernatorial Endorsements Reveal Key Policies of Progressive Advocacy in Virginia


Progressive non-profit Clean Virginia announced its endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Carrol Foy, backed by a pledge of $500,000 from the group’s PAC. Clean Virginia, known for its anti-utility advocacy, features a pledge for politicians to declare they will not accept campaign money from or own stock in Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power.

“Her sweeping anti-corruption and climate plans and track record align with Clean Virginia’s goals and mission. We believe she is the best candidate in this critical race to determine the Commonwealth’s future and are ready to fight hard for her to be our next governor,” Clean Virginia Executive Director Brennan Gilmore said in a press release.

Four out of five of the Democratic candidates for governor have signed the pledge. Although his name is not on the list, Terry McAuliffe has also said he will not accept any more money from the utility, according to The Virginia Mercury. That’s a problem for Dominion Energy, which has traditionally donated heavily to candidates from both parties, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. Although the PAC is funded by Democratic donor Michael Bills, Clean Virginia does donate to some Republicans as well – with about 2.4 percent of its donations going to Republican candidates for the General Assembly.

Clean Virginia isn’t the only organization supporting Democratic candidates, and the types of organizations supporting the candidates reveal key policies for Virginia Democrats in 2021.

CASA in Action has spent $95,610 to support Democratic candidates, including $29,639 to support Carrol Foy. The organization is focused on supporting politicians who enact policies to support immigrants and communities of color. Care in Action is a non-profit working to support domestic workers; the organization has endorsed gubernatorial candidate Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and lobbied in Virginia for minimum wage increases and expanding applicability to certain classes of workers. The New Virginia Majority has given $1.6 million to Democratic candidates since 2015, with a goal focused on building policy around working-class people of color. The organization has also endorsed McClellan.

Terry McAuliffe boasts endorsements from several unions, including major union the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), but his campaign mainly touts support from major national, state, and local Democrats.

“Terry has a strong record of standing up for workers and he has the bold vision to push Virginia forward. He knows this is not a time to tinker around the edges, but a time to go big and be bold. Virginians can count on him to deliver real progress as the next governor,” Executive Director of AFSCME District Council 20 Robert Hollingsworth said in an announcement.

Our Revolution PAC, spun off from Bernie Sander’s 2016 campaign fundraising efforts, announced its endorsement of Lee Carter this week, saying it is supporting candidates with a commitment to working people, the environment, and opposition to racism.

“Lee’s conviction to represent the ‘have nots’ more than corporate donors is what Our Revolution Virginia embraces and endorses,” the organization said in a press release obtained by Blue Virginia.

Organizations focused on women candidates have also jumped in to support candidates. Run Sister Run has endorsed Carrol Foy, while Fund Her is supporting McClellan.

According to the Augusta Free Press, Fund Her President Valerie McGinty said, “Senator McClellan has a proven track record of leadership and advocacy for the Commonwealth. Her grounded approach, wealth of experience, and fresh perspective gives her the lens needed to continue moving the Commonwealth forward.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected]




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