Labor Day celebrations took a turn for Democrats in Williamsburg as a cadre of high profile politicians and candidates rolled into a campaign office off Mt. Vernon Avenue.
Gov. Ralph Northam, Attorney General Mark Herring, 1st Congressional District candidate Vangie Williams, State Sen. Monty Mason and Delegate Mike Mullin came to rally the crowd of party faithful to re-elect Sen. Tim Kaine and elect Williams to Congress.
“Events like this are important. … because it helps remind volunteers that one of the most effective ways to increase voter turnout is by knocking on doors, talking to voters,” Herring said. “There’s no substitute for that person-to-person, neighbor-to-neighbor, voter-to-voter contact.”
About 130 people turned out for the event, at the Williamsburg Coordinated Campaign Office, headlined by Northam.
“We need to remind ourselves that these elections have tremendous, tremendous consequences,” Northam said before taking a dig at insider politics at the capital. “If you don’t think so, then look at this culture of corruption over Washington D.C.”
Northam focused on the regular Democratic high points: education, healthcare, Medicaid expansion and statewide high-speed internet.
While his remarks lasted about 10 minutes, Northam set the stage for Williams to talk about her race against Congressman Rob Wittman in the 1st Congressional District.
“When we vote,” Williams said.
“We win,” the crowd roared back.
Williams introduced herself as a mother, a wife and a federal contractor with decades of experience, but more importantly, she framed herself next to a cardboard cut-out of Kaine.
Democrats see an opportunity to leverage Kaine’s popularity with the base and campaign war chest as a way to increase popular support for Democratic candidates statewide.
As of late June, Kaine’s campaign had slightly more than $6 million tucked away that can be used to fund candidates up and down the ticket, according to Federal Election Commission data.
Kaine’s opponent, Republican Senate candidate Corey Stewart, had about $143,000 on hand, according to Federal Election Commission data for the same filing period.
While Kaine was not at the event, the cardboard cut-out of him loomed near the speakers as a stand-in.
For Northam, the election quite simply an opportunity for voters to weigh in on the state of America — the decision is as much in Republican hands as Democratic hands, Northam said before encouraging Democrats to work with Republicans to change Congress.
“We’re all a team, we’re all under one tent,” Northam said. “There are people out there who may be looking for a new political home. I don’t blame them. We should welcome them under our tent in 2018.”
Election day is on Nov. 6. To register to vote, follow this web address: elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal/index.html or visit your local general registrar.
The deadline to register to vote or update a voter registration is Oct. 15.
The deadline to request a mailed absentee ballot is Oct. 30 and the request by the local registrar by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30.
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Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329 or on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.