Rashid: We Have to Choose Someone Who Can Win in November

By Qasim Rashid

May 3, 2021

Qasim makes the case for why you should vote for Sam Rasoul in the lieutenant governor’s race.

The Democratic Party has a slate of well-qualified candidates running for lieutenant governor. Delegate Sam Rasoul is the best among them, and here’s why you should consider rewarding him with your vote on or before June 8.

While many elections are plagued by having to choose “the lesser of two evils,” I believe we’re in a fortunate position of getting to choose from the best of several goods. Perhaps this is why polling shows most Virginians are still undecided on who to select. The Virginia lieutenant governor serves a critical responsibility, not only as President of the Senate, but also as a driver of policy with their relationships, influence, and advocacy.

Here’s Why You Should Pick Sam Rasoul

We must also select someone who is going to win in the November general election. That someone must have statewide recognition and appeal, a statewide organized campaign, and a proven track record of serving the people above all else. Especially if you are yet undecided, or even if you think you’ve made a decision but are opening to hearing a different perspective, here’s why in a slate of strong candidates, Delegate Sam Rasoul is undoubtedly the best candidate for lieutenant governor.

I’ll start with Sam’s proven track record of serving the people above all else—and that begins with campaign finances. I’ve long said that whoever funds a candidate when they’re running for office is who the candidate will answer to while in office. Sam is the only candidate in the race that has rejected all corporate donations and all PAC donations.

I’ve spoken to progressive PAC directors who shared they tried to send Sam a check for his campaign, and he rejected it. So who is funding Sam’s campaign? We the People—exclusively. You won’t find Dominion money in Sam’s coffers, nor dark money checks from unknown PACs. Sam is 100% people funded—and the results already speak for themselves. With nearly $1.3 million raised, he’s nearly doubled every other candidate in the race. People fund Sam’s campaign because they know Sam serves the people. But this is who Sam has always been.

‘The Most Years of Policy Experience’

First elected to the House of Delegates in 2014, Delegate Sam Rasoul also has the most years of policy experience in Virginia politics of any candidate in the race. Just as importantly, he’s leveraged his extensive public service experience to unite. At a time of incredibly divisive politics, Sam has not voted party line with Democrats, but voted his conscience and worked on coalition building.

He’s a respected public servant in progressive and conservative circles alike. Likewise, and unique among the candidates for lieutenant governor, having lived his entire life in rural Virginia, Sam recognizes the critical need to ensure rural Virginians have meaningful statewide representation in Richmond. With his nomination and election, they will for the first time in a long time. Whether it’s advocating for broadband, expanding healthcare in rural Virginia, or raising the living wage to uplift all Virginians—Sam has led the way for years.

And in doing so, Sam has statewide appeal and has built an incredible statewide organization to win in June and in November. He’s built this statewide organization not just in the last year of campaigning, by remaining consistent to his values and principles of service since his election in 2014. Despite being in the House minority until 2019, Delegate Rasoul’s record over the past eight sessions has remained unwaveringly progressive.

He ignited the Virginia Green New Deal to combat the climate crisis devastating our globe, nation, and Commonwealth. He advocated for marijuana decriminalization before anyone else, helping it finally pass these last two sessions. And he fought for a $15/hour living wage well before the idea was popular. The recent statewide raise to $9.80/hour as we march to $15/hour is the fruit of the labor put in by Sam Rasoul.

‘Truth, Love & Grit’

Sam’s “Truth, Love, & Grit” slogan is less about words and more about action. He spoke truth to power even when he wasn’t in power. He truly loves serving his fellow Virginians, and the positive reputation he has among liberals and conservatives, rural and urban, Black and white, wealthy and low income, demonstrates that.

And he fights with grit. It would be easy to accept Dominion money, PAC money, and corporate money—but he fights for the people and wants to show it is only the people that he will ever serve. This is why nominating Sam Rasoul for lieutenant governor on June 8 is our best chance to ensure we elect a Democrat to the office in November. In a strong Democratic field, Sam is the strongest candidate to ensure Virginia continues to move forward with public servants who live to serve the people and only We the People.

Qasim Rashid is a human rights lawyer, author, and Truman National Security Project Fellow. Follow him on Twitter @QasimRashid.

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