NextGen America and Emily's List fighting to flip Virginia blue
By Keya Vakil
June 25, 2019

NextGen America will spend $1 million to register at least 12,000 millennial voters in Virginia as part of its push to flip control of the General Assembly to Democrats in November.

The Washington Post reports that NextGen, founded by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, will conduct voter outreach in 11 mostly Republican-controlled districts and aim to reach voters between ages 18 and 35 with messages focused on gun safety reform, reproductive rights and climate change.

Emily’s List and Priorities USA, both of which are national political action committees, are also getting in the mix and will spend a combined $600,000 in Virginia to back female candidates who support abortion rights. 

Virginia is the only state with competitive state legislative elections this year, as Republicans hold a three-seat edge in the House and a one seat majority in the Senate, with one vacant seat in each chamber.

With all 140 seats in the General Assembly up for grabs and a Democratic majority in both houses in sight, liberal groups are going on the offensive. 

Should Democrats win control of both chambers, it would give them control of the General Assembly for the first time since 1995 and give them the right to oversee Virginia’s next redistricting effort in 2021. 

Democrats are coming off a strong election in 2017, when they flipped 15 seats in the House of Delegates, and with the U.S. Supreme Court recently upholding Virginia’s newly drawn district maps, six more Republican-held districts are now in play.

NextGen will focus on engaging young voters in six House of Delegates districts and five Senate districts, including that of House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), who will take on Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman. NextGen will also target the race between extreme anti-abortion conservative Paul Milde and Democrat Joshua Cole, in the Stafford area.

The group will also defend some incumbent Democrats, including Del. Dawn Adams (D-Richmond), who will face off against Republican Garrison Coward.

NextGen has long had a presence in Virginia, spending $13 million on Democratic campaigns over the last six years, according to the Post. They also have 19 full-time staffers and 1,500 volunteers in the state.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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