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The Virginia Pilot: Progressive Caucus Forms PAC Print

BY Julian Walker

Created:  Monday, July 25, 2011 11:01AM


The nascent Virginia Progressive Caucus is forming a political action committee to raise cash for General Assembly candidates who share its "values and plan to join" the group if elected.

When it debuted in February, the 21-member caucus listed the "universal right to affordable, quality health care;" a healthy environment through clean energy investments; fair working conditions; reproductive freedom; and sexual orientation and gender identity equality among its principles.

(Local members of the Democratic caucus group include Dels. Robin Abbott, D-Newport News; Mamye BaCote, D-Newport News; Matthew James, D-Portsmouth; and Jeion Ward, D-Hampton.)

"General Assembly elections typically bring extremely low turnout, so a critical factor in winning seats is mobilizing the base," said Del. Patrick Hope, an Arlington County Democrat who founded the PAC. "Democrats in Virginia have failed to do that in many elections because progressive voters have struggled to determine who the candidates were that would really stand up and fight for their values. We hope to see this PAC give voters an additional tool in determining that, as well as providing the financial support to those candidates to help them be elected."

The Progressive Caucus PAC will issue a first round of endorsements in August. Contested party primary elections are scheduled for Aug. 23.

All 140 seats in the General Assembly are up for election this year. Pundits expect Republicans to retain their advantage in the House of Delegates; control of the Senate is at stake for Democrats who hold a slim 22-18 advantage in the chamber.

The Virginia Conservative Caucus does not have a PAC, but individual members of the group contribute to conservative candidates for office, according to caucus co-chair Del. Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge County.

Local lawmakers in that caucus include Dels. John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake; Sal Iaquinto, R-Virginia Beach, Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach; Glenn Oder, R-Newport News; Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach; Ron Villanueva, R-Virginia Beach; and Sens. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake; and Jeff McWaters, R-Virginia Beach.