“It’s been great travelling all over the region running into people like you from my 8th district in Northern Virginia out canvassing for Democrats in places likes Fredericksburg, Charlottesville and Loudoun County,” U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., whose district represents the City of Falls Church, said at an energetic rally Sunday night.
Beyer referred to the vigorous campaigning for the Nov. 6 midterm election coming up in less than a week now. Beyer, and Virginia U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, both Democratic incumbents considered “safe” for re-election Tuesday, raised the enthusiasm level even higher Sunday, especially in the wake of the day’s horrible news of the murders at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Beyer described Kaine as the polar opposite of President Trump for his “character and goodness” and affirmation that “love is the fabric of the universe.” And Kaine was moved deeply, his emotions written on his face, as he spoke of the synagogue killings in Pittsburgh, linking them to the mass killings at Virginia Tech in 2007 when he was governor, and condemning those who “stoke division, anger and violence with trash talk.”
“We have to be focused in this last week for the most important election of our lifetimes,” he said. “We need a Blue Wave of love, character, decency and civility.” He said that President Trump “does not have one trait that would make people tell their children to emulate him. Not one parent in the U.S. would want their child to treat people the way he does.”
On Monday, the Kaine campaign announced that while its candidate would spend most of the last week before the election campaigning in southern Virginia, he would hold his election night campaign party at the Fairview Marriott in greater Falls Church.
Looking to election day Tuesday, both Beyer and Kaine said that the nation will be watching Virginia, where the polls close first and will be sending the results of its elections out across the nation.
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax said that, “after the lights went out in America with the 2016 presidential result,” that it was the rebound by Virginia in its state legislative election a year ago that sparked a new hope for the whole country.
One year out from the presidential election, he pointed out, Virginia picked up 15 state delegate seats, the biggest one-election swing since 1872, with the most votes in the history of the commonwealth, and as a leader of a national lieutenant governors’ association, everywhere he travelled he was met by people who said, “Thank you, Virginia, for giving us hope.”
“Virginia,” he said, “was the match that set the wildfire” that is now on the verge of what many predict will be a huge Democratic surge, giving the party control of the U.S. House and maybe the Senate.
With only four of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats now held by Democrats, party officials are now optimistic that as many as four more seats, all being challenged for by women, might go their way next week.
Jennifer Wexton is poised for an upset win over incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock in the 10th District running from McLean to Loudoun, Abigail Spanberger is in a dead heat with GOP incumbent Dave Brat north of Richmond in the 7th District, Elaine Luna is waging a fierce campaign against Scott Taylor in the Tidewater 2nd, and Leslie Cockburn is ahead against Denver Riggleman in the southwest 5th.
Nationally, women are setting records running against Republicans, including in four districts in New York state, where incumbents in lopsided Republican majority districts are all being seriously challenged by candidates buoyed by robust fundraising. This includes Gretchen Shirley, with the backing of Hillary Clinton, against 13-term conservative Republican Peter King on Long Island.
One of the most closely watched races is one for the U.S. Senate, where Democrat Beto O’Rourke has been running a forceful campaign against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, and an unanticipated factor could prove decisive. There, “Compared to the same time period in 2014, voters under the age of 30 in Texas have increased their turnout by 508 percent, while voters over the age of 65 increased their turnout by 96 percent,” according to Kyle Lierman, former Obama campaign headquarters leader in Falls Church who worked eight years in the Obama White House and is now CEO of the exploding @WhenWeAllVote movement.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, Republican incumbents are feeling the heat, as Brat in the 7th District has invited in former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to campaign for him, a move that former Republican Rep. Joe Scarborough, now a TV pundit, calls part of “one of the dumbest campaigns in modern American history.”
He cited Brat’s unrelenting insistence on associating his opponent, former CIA analyst Spanberger, with Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi. He said, “Whether its western Iowa or Brat’s district in Virginia, voters are saying, hey, we’re not that stupid. We’re just not going to be fooled by stupid campaigning.”
The three polling ocations in the City of Falls Church will be open from 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday. The F.C. Democratic Committee has announced it will host an election night watch party at the Mad Fox Brewing Company restaurant beginning at 7 p.m.