Vanguard's president apologizes to RPV, Jay Jones unionizes his campaign, and there is a new tool to monitor redistricting across the country

The latest in Virginia politics.

Vanguard provides more context in a letter to RPV

Joe Williams, the president of Vanguard Field Strategies sent a letter to the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV), Rich Anderson, and other party officials apologizing for the recent actions of an employee. This letter was sent the day after a video surfaced of a Vanguard employee falsely identifying herself as working for RPV when her company was actually working for gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin.

In case you missed the full back story, read it here.

“As company President, I  sincerely apologize for the incident that occurred yesterday morning with one of my field staffers,” Williams wrote. “That incident is not up to the standard of the company, and certainly not the [Youngkin] campaign. All of our staff were pulled from the field today to engage in an intensive re-training to ensure nothing like this happens again. I personally am approving each staffer to re-enter the field to reassure that each has an expert delivery of our script as well as firm understanding of the convention and delegate process.”

The form that Vanguard employees are distributing is the generic, RPV convention delegate filing form. It is completely normal for campaigns to collect these prior to the convention. The only reason this became an issue at all is because the Vanguard employee on Wednesday identified herself as working for the state party, instead of Youngkin, and it was caught on video.

“Vanguard takes full responsibility for this individual’s failure to adhere to Vanguard’s training guidelines, and we immediately recalled her from the field upon seeing this video,” Williams continued in the letter to Anderson. “It was this individual’s first day and this was one of the first homes she visited. She was the only individual trained by Vanguard yesterday morning and she has resigned her position. Yesterday, she visited 23 homes and collected 5 forms, and our team has already contacted those voters to ensure they have peace of mind that their form will be handled properly. Vanguard is redoubling our training efforts to ensure our team is properly identifying themselves as representatives of the Youngkin campaign and properly explaining the convention process to  Republicans who say they want to vote. 

This letter was also a direct reply to Chris Marston, who is the general counsel for RPV and the compliance lawyer for another gubernatorial candidate, Pete Snyder.

In the letter to Vanguard, Marston asked Williams to immediately provide their employees with training to correctly identify themselves when talking to voters. “On behalf of RPV, I must insist that you immediately direct anyone working on behalf of your company to properly identify themselves and make no representation or suggestion, direct or indirect, that they represent RPV,” Marston wrote. “I would also appreciate it if your script for canvassers included an appropriate explanation of the credentialing and voting process for the convention. Specifically, that  forms must be submitted to local GOP Committees for certification, that certified  delegates may vote at assigned polling locations on May 8 between 9 am and 4 pm, and  that additional information about the convention and assigned polling locations is  available at http://virginia.gop.”


Jay Jones’ Attorney General Campaign Staff Votes to Unionize

This morning, Delegate Jay Jones announced that his campaign staff officially voted to form a union. The Jones campaign is the first Attorney General’s campaign to unionize in Virginia’s history. The staff of the Jones campaign will be represented by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 666.

“Organizing for fair pay, worker protections, and job stability is something that every worker should be able to do, and I’m proud that our campaign staff took it upon themselves to do just that,” said Delegate Jay Jones. “I have long said that Virginia can only be the best state in the country to do business if it is the best state for workers, and political campaigns should strive to live their professed values and abide by the same principles that they advocate for in governance. I’ve always been supportive of the labor movement and workers' right to organize, and I’m happy that our campaign staff chose to do the same. I thank IBEW 666 for representing our workers.”

“Our staff are the backbone of this organization, and I look forward to negotiating in good faith with them,” said campaign manager Samson Signori. “Fair compensation, good benefits, and a thriving work environment are vital to a successful operation. We thank IBEW for organizing and our staff for taking this initiative.”


Redistricting Timeline Alert Map

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project created a new tool to highlight the impact of the delay on congressional and state legislative redistricting in all fifty states. “The delay creates unprecedented pressure on state legislatures and commissions as they try to complete redistricting in time for the 2022 elections. Our Timeline Alert Map shows which states need urgent attention and intervention.”

More info from the project: “We designed our tool as an alert system, indicating which states have major conflicts that require intervention, and which states should experience little to no procedural impact from the census delay. We designated five alert levels: (1) severe, for impossible constitutional deadlines; (2) high, for impossible non-constitutional deadlines; (3) elevated, for other significant concerns, such as the possibility of delayed primaries; (4) guarded, for moderate concerns, such as the need for a special session; and (5) low, for no immediate concerns.

"Our Timeline Alert Map can be used to identify broad trends, and the state-specific pages offer further granularity on particular states. For example, there are eleven states marked as “severe” for state legislative redistricting, meaning that they have deadlines written into their state constitutions that come before September 30, 2021. These eleven states have shown different responses to the census delay: lawmakers in Oregon are discussing a wide range of possible actions, from seeking a court extension to drawing maps with alternative data sources. Meanwhile, state staffers in Iowa currently have no stated plan for how to proceed.”

View the tool


Former Hopewell mayor says she wants the Democratic nomination for Hopewell's House seat - Progress Index

by Bill Atkinson

Jasmine E. Gore, who up until last January was Hopewell's mayor, posted on her Facebook page Sunday that she is in the midst of gathering 125 signatures on an online petition she needs in order to file for candidacy. As of Tuesday night, she said she is 30 signatures shy of that goal, and the deadline to file is March 25.

Right now, Gore is the only announced Democratic candidate for the seat, which is held now by Republican Carrie E. Coyner of Chesterfield County. The 62nd District includes all of Hopewell, and portions of Chesterfield and Prince George counties.

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12th District race is on: GOP formally nominates Ballard, Hurst responds - Roanoke Times

By Tonia Moxley

Jason Ballard, 42, was officially named the Republican candidate on Monday, according to a news release. No other candidates filed challenges by the noon deadline.

The 12th District includes Radford and parts Montgomery, Pulaski and Giles counties. The seat is currently held by Del. Chris Hurst, D-Blacksburg. The 33-year-old former TV reporter unseated Republican Joseph Yost in 2017, two years before a “blue tide” of Democrats would win control of the statehouse and governor’s office.

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Southwest Virginia big winner in recent round of state funding for broadband - Roanoke Times

by Amy Friedenberger

The biggest winner was the Mount Rogers region, which received $7.8 million for Point Broadband to extend its broadband network in Smyth, Washington and Wythe counties and the town of Damascus to serve 5,301 locations.

Gigabeam will receive nearly $920,000 to provide fixed wireless broadband to 1,292 locations in Montgomery County, and Briscnet will construct the same type of service to 1,996 spots in Franklin County using $1.1 million in state funds. Localities contribute matching funds.

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Va. colleges sometimes let athletes quarantine for shorter periods than other students - Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Eric Kolenich

The University of Virginia men’s basketball team is scheduled to fly to Indianapolis for the NCAA tournament on Friday, seven days after many of its players entered quarantine.

Under the Atlantic Coast Conference’s guidelines, UVA has only a small window to finish its quarantine before its round-of-64 game against Ohio University begins Saturday night.

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