Former Vice Mayor Meredith Richards, former Albemarle party Chairman William B. Harvey and liberal/progressive blogger Waldo Jaquith all said Tuesday that they may seek some future political office but have decided not to run in a June 14 Democratic primary to try to succeed Del. Mitchell Van Yahres, D-Charlottesville.
I have to confess that I'm most disappointed that Waldo Jaquith has decided not to throw his hat in the ring. Waldo, the founder of Virginia Family Values PAC, is not only my favorite Virginia blogger, but he's a progressive who has demonstrated time and again that he has the courage, convictions, and creativity to be an effective leader, both in the party and in the community. I know Waldo's got a number of irons in the fire, from classes to upcoming nuptials to his latest grand plan to rebuild the party, and I can't blame him for his decision that now is not the right time...but still. A girl can dream. (UPDATE: Our friend Lowell at Raising Kaine, definitely not a girl, also asks, "Where's Waldo?")
One depressing note in this article is the reason cited by Meredith Richards, who I've heard was an early Dean supporter, in not running for the seat:
Richards said the assessment by Van Yahres that the House of Delegates has become a hostile and partisan environment for some Democrats helped shape her decision not to seek the 57th District seat.
“It’s terribly partisan,” Richards said of the GOP-controlled House. “I think it would be very difficult for a freshman female Democrat to accomplish what I would like to accomplish there.”
All the more reason for a freshman female Democrat, or any progressive Democrat, to dig in and change things. Nothing's going to change if we retreat and wait for the House to become a nicer, less partisan, less difficult place for Democrats right now. (I know, easy for me to say since I currently live in a district with a safe Democratic incumbent...but still. The idea that a woman would choose not to run because the House is hostile to Democratic women just kills me.)
The one officially declared candidate in the race is for the Democratic nomination in the 57th is David Toscano, former mayor and former member of the Charlottesville City Council, who has reportedly already raised $30,000. Of Toscano, our friend Waldo is quoted as saying that he likes Toscano “just fine … but he’s not my dream progressive, which is to say that he’s not Mitch. But who is?”
Sigh. Who is, indeed. Still, progressive Democrats around the state are watching and hoping the voters in the 57th can come close, by choosing a leader who, like Mitch, has the courage and conviction to stand up against right-wing extremism and policies that hurt Virginia families and communities, even when the current climate is hostile to social justice, decency, and investment in families and community. Our great Charlottesville DFA Meetup is sure to weigh in on this race in the coming months - if you live in the area, please drop by the first Wednesday of every month.
UPDATE: (for Kathy)
Ready and waiting to be opened...