The Democratic Party of Virginia held its annual fundraiser on Saturday, raising more than $425,000 from nearly 1,800 attendees.
The Blue Commonwealth Gala featured appearances from two presidential candidates, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), as well as several state figures.
The fundraiser comes less than one week after the state’s primaries determined which Democrats will appear on the ballot this November, when all 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for grabs.
Buttigieg, who was endorsed by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Del. Mark Keam (D-Fairfax) last week, was the headliner. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Buttigieg said that Democrats will change the national conversation during a difficult time, both in Virginia and across the country.
“As a Democrat from a red state, I believe we need to stand together and demonstrate that there is no place in this country where Democrats can’t win. Not one state and not one commonwealth,” Buttigieg said.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va) spoke about the party’s success in 2017, when it flipped 15 state House seats. She urged attendees to continue supporting candidates with their time, energy and money.
“In 2019 we are going to do it again. We are going to win the House of Delegates and we are going to win the state Senate,” Spanberger said.
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va), who represents the Virginia Beach area, honored the 12 victims of the city’s recent mass shooting. She added that “We should let this tragedy define us, for in our darkest hour we see hope.”
She also called on state legislators to address the state’s gun laws, saying that any lawmakers who “don’t want to have those difficult conversations” don’t deserve to represent Virginians.
State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-Prince William), both of whom are rumored to be planning runs for governor in 2021, were also in attendance, as was former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Photo © Gage Skidmore