Thursday's political news, the rise of the Independent voter, Youngkin backs Chase for suing Republican party

Here are the latest updates from Virginia politics for today.

Welcome to Thursday. Stay safe in this winter weather today.


The Next Great Migration: The Rise of the Independent Voter - Open Primaries Education Fund

by Jeremy Gruber and John Opdycke

  • Thirty states combine voter registration with political party registration. Twenty states have nonpartisan voter registration.

  • We analyzed the data in the thirty partisan voter registration states. We found party membership declining in almost every state, with independent voters currently constituting the largest or second largest group of registered voters in half the states in the country. With current rates of growth, that will soon include every state.

  • Political scientists, analysts and pundits have dismissed this trend because they have focused solely on how independent voters vote.

  • We demonstrate that the rise of independent voters is significant. Registered independent voters are subjected to legal, political and administrative bias and exclusion. We demonstrate that independents are afforded second-class status because they do not choose to enroll in a private political party, and that this matrix of legal/administrative restrictions harms these voters as well as our democratic process.

  • We suggest three interrelated structural electoral reforms to account for the rise of independent voters.

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Glenn Youngkin backs Amanda Chase for suing state party - Progress Index

by Bill Atkinson

State Sen. Amanda Chase has found an unlikely ally in her legal fight against state Republican leaders over the process of nominating the statewide ticket for the November election. It's one of her competitors for the GOP gubernatorial nod.

During an appearance Tuesday morning on Charlottesville radio station WCHV, former investment firm executive Glenn Youngkin said he could "sympathize" with Chase regarding the Republican Party of Virginia's State Central Committee, which voted last December to select the ticket via convention, but has delayed a vote on how to hold the convention in accordance with COVID-19 pandemic protocols for public gathering. In doing so, Youngkin became the first of Chase's challengers to comment on her lawsuit, which is expected to be heard Friday in a Richmond Circuit courtroom.

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Lee Carter's staff unionizes, providing another development in the race between him and Carroll Foy to earn progressive support

The campaign staff for Del. Lee Carter (D-Manassas) announced on Wednesday that they have formed a union. This is another development in the race as his campaign is seeking to run to the left of the rest of the other Democratic field.

Josh Stanfield, Carter’s campaign manager said it was important for healthcare reasons. “For me,” Stanfield texted, “it’s all about healthcare and making sure the campaign covers 100% of insurance costs for workers.”

For Carter it is simple, he thinks that every employee should be in a union. "I believe that every job should be a good, union job,” he said on Wednesday. “That includes jobs on my campaigns. It's not enough for candidates to just say they support working people's right to organize, I actually walk the walk."

Carter is running against a slate of several other Democrats seeking the nomination, that list includes Sen. Jennifer McClellan (Richmond), former-Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (Prince William), former Governor Terry McAuliffe, and current Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

Carter and Carroll Foy are both vying for progressive and union support in this race. Carroll Foy recently secured the Steamfitters Union Local 602, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Joint Council 55, and Teamsters Local 730 endorsements. Carter recently received an endorsement from the Richmond branch of Bernie Sanders’ ‘Our Revolution’ PAC.

Carter has also tried to differentiate himself from Carroll Foy on donation history.

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DPVA Releases Primary Debate Schedule For Gubernatorial and Attorney General Debates

The five Democratic candidates that are running for governor - Jennifer Carroll Foy, Lee Carter, Justin Fairfax, Terry McAuliffe, and Jennifer McClellan - will participate in the following four debates ahead of the primary election that is taking place in June: 

  • April 6, hosted by WTVR 

  • May 6, hosted by WCYB

  • May 20, hosted by WRC-TV

  • June 1, hosted by WVEC 

The two Democratic candidates for attorney general - Jay Jones and Mark Herring - will participate in the following debates: 

  • April 24, hosted by WTVR

  • May 5, hosted by WJLA 

"Virginians in every corner of the Commonwealth deserve to hear directly from the candidate in open debates about the most important issues we face. We're excited that candidates have committed to these debates and we're working hard to make sure they're broadcast to as many people as possible. DPVA is committed to making these events are both safe and accessible, and we look forward to announcing more details on future debates soon," said DPVA Chair Susan Swecker. 


Amalgamated Transit Union Endorses Jennifer Carroll Foy for Virginia Governor

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the largest union representing transit workers in the state, endorsed Jennifer Carroll Foy in the Democratic primary for Governor in Virginia.

“Jennifer Carroll Foy has been a true champion of working people throughout her career. She will fight to rebuild the middle class, bolster public transit, restore the rights of labor, and help Virginia recover from this devastating pandemic,” said ATU International President John Costa. “As one of the first Black women to graduate from the Virginia Military Institute and serving as a public defender, we know Jennifer Carroll Foy will be a Governor for all Virginians.”


Governor Northam Unveils Statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration System

Governor Ralph Northam announced on Wednesday that Virginians can pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine either online at vaccinate.virginia.gov, or by calling 877-VAX-IN-VA. Northam’s announcement said that the Commonwealth’s new, centralized system allows individuals to easily pre-register for the free vaccine, confirm that they are on the waitlist, and learn more about Virginia’s vaccination program.

“Virginians have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, and these new tools will help them get answers, get pre-registered, and most importantly, get vaccinated,” said Governor Northam. “While our vaccine supply remains limited, we are doing everything we can to acquire more doses and put shots into the arms of eligible individuals in a safe, efficient, and equitable manner. I thank everyone for staying patient and continuing to follow public health guidance so we can mitigate the spread of this dangerous virus.”

According to Northam, Virginia’s new website and call center are designed to streamline vaccine pre-registration by bringing disparate processes from local health departments together under one unified system. Virginians who previously pre-registered for the vaccine through their local health district do not need to sign up again, however many people who were pre-registered say they are unable to find any details on the website.

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