May 5, 2017 Press Releases and Announcements

Va. GOP Admits Only Way They Can Win in 2017 is to “Fundamentally Alter the Electorate”

by Katie Baker

Key Points:

  • In memo to donors, the Republican Party of Virginia acknowledges that it is so out-of-touch with working Virginians that it can’t win statewide races in 2017 without “fundamentally alter[ing] the electorate."
  • As Democratic energy surges in rural areas, GOP takes for granted the support of unregistered rural voters.

RICHMOND, Va. –  In a memo to high-dollar donors, the Republican Party of Virginia acknowledged that it is so out of touch with working Virginians that the only way their candidates can win statewide is to “fundamentally alter the electorate.”

The memo was published by the Washington Post on the same day that the majority of Republicans in Virginia’s Congressional delegation voted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing the health care of 3.4 million Virginians with pre-existing conditions. In the memo, Republicans revealed that their strategy is to register and turn out at least 100,000 of 200,000 unregistered voters that the party has identified in the Shenandoah Valley, Southside, and Southwest Virginia.

The memo warns that, “an 8th straight statewide loss by Republicans in the Commonwealth would mark the end of Virginia being viewed as a swing state” and that “the Commonwealth’s future as non-Democrat state is on the ballot this November.” It concluded that “the stakes for the Commonwealth are incredibly crucial and if our Party is not able to fundamentally alter the electorate through voter registration, 2017 will be the last year Virginia is mentioned as ‘Tossup’ for the foreseeable future.”

“The Republican Party is so disconnected from working Virginians that they freely admit that the only way they can win is to ‘fundamentally alter the electorate,’” said Democratic Party of Virginia spokeswoman Katie Baker. “That strategy is consistent with their repeated attempts to block redistricting reform, as rigging the maps through gerrymandering accomplishes the same end: the fundamental alteration of the electorate. Furthermore, it’s presumptuous for the Republican Party to take for granted the support of unregistered rural voters. Donald Trump has turned his back on rural Virginians, but we’re not going to. We are the party of hardworking people fighting for hardworking people, and we will work to earn the support of voters in every corner of the Commonwealth.”

Following President Trump’s proposal to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, Trump’s budget director acknowledged that the president “probably didn’t know what” the entity, which invests in economic development projects in the region, did. In response, the Roanoke Times has published editorials entitled “Trump backhands Appalachia” and “Trump’s budget director doesn’t understand the Appalachian economy.”

Meanwhile, Virginia Democrats this year have seen an unprecedented amount of energy in rural areas. As of today, Democrats have candidates committed to run in 87 of 100 House of Delegates districts, including many in rural areas that have gone unchallenged for years. DPVA also celebrated its commitment to rural Virginia during its Rural Retreat in Roanoke, hosted by the party’s Rural Caucus in April.