AS 2018 DRAWS TO A CLOSE,
We want to begin by saying thank you! Thank you to the many, many Rappahannock County Democrats who stepped up over the weeks and months to turn out support for Leslie Cockburn for Congress and Tim Kaine for Senate. Because of your determination, hard work, and boundless enthusiasm, our field operations and approach to outreach have forever been transformed, with radical improvements and growth in all aspects of organizing.
Together, we made significant strides over past elections. Our achievements included:
- Organizing and hosting a successful caucus on April 14, with over 180 participants
- Attendance at the 5th District convention in Farmville on May 5 by the Rappahannock delegation, with several other Rappahannock Democrats in attendance
- Regular monthly meetings with a host of speakers, including Tristan Shields, April Moore, and Leslie Cockburn, and regular updates from campaign representatives
- Largest turnout in recent history (or as far back as we remember!) at the Amissville Fireman’s Parade on June 28, with many energetic walkers and sign-carriers in blue RCDC polo shirts accompanying our “float”
- Four postcard parties coordinated by Cathy Zimmerman at her home and the Headmaster’s Pub, with more than 1000 postcards mailed to Rappahannock voters
- 200+ yard signs and several dozen highway signs distributed by Ross O’Donoghue and Hank Gorfein
- Terrific turnout at the first Candidates’ Forum at the Theatre in Little Washington on August 8, with a crowd overwhelmingly supportive of Leslie Cockburn. Many Madison and Fauquier Dems also attended
- Multiple fund-raising parties and campaign events, including a birthday reception for Leslie Cockburn on September 8 at Little Eldon Farm that raised more than $15,000; a lunch for Tim Kaine on September 14 at the Headmaster’s Pub; and a Rally in the Valley on September 29 at Mountainview Farm, featuring music from Smiggy and Friends and the Cockburn campaign band, After Jack
- Many letters appearing week after week in the Rappahannock News in support of Democratic candidates and policies, coordinated by Eve Brooks
- A vast increase in our get-out-the-vote efforts. We started knocking on doors in July. More than 1,000 homes visited by canvassers, with many new canvassers joining the action.
- Massive data entry efforts to update voter records, based on our extensive canvassing, using the miniVAN app, overseen by Bob Burney
- Set up of a campaign office at Clark Surveying in Huntly to coordinate with the Cockburn and Kaine campaigns. At the height of GOTV weekend, over 200 volunteers came through the office from as far away as Maryland and DC
- Diligent phone banking efforts using the Vote Builder app
- A robust social media effort. We added scores of new followers on Facebook over the past several months, built up our MailChimp list, and updated and improved our website, www.RappDems.org.
- Full-day staffing at all the six polling stations in Rappahannock County, with signs, sample ballots, and literature.
Did we move the needle? Decidedly, yes. With 1,837 votes for Leslie Cockburn in Rappahannock County, we increased our voter turnout 20 percent from the 2014 mid-term election. The point spread between Leslie and her opponent was the smallest in decades. Leslie outperformed Democratic Senate incumbent Tim Kaine in Rappahannock and the 5th District over his Republican opponent, Corey Stewart, an outspoken Trump supporter and white nationalist. We solidified our Democratic hold in key areas: Flint Hill, Sperryville and the absentee votes.
This is just the beginning. We’ve established a strong foundation for future Get Out the Vote efforts. We’ve developed strong working relationships with neighboring Democratic committees, and with increasingly effective Indivisible and resistance groups, including our own Rapp Resist, and those in Fauquier, Madison, Culpeper and Greene counties. We have big plans not only to continue increasing Democratic turnout, but also to win over independent voters and even conservative hearts and minds!
In 2019, Rappahannock will be involved in two races for State Legislature: the 18th District of the House of Delegates to unseat Republican Michael Webert, and the 26th Senate District to unseat Mark Obenshain.
- In the 18th, two candidates have announced: Laura Galante of Marshall VA, and Tristan Shields of Rixeyville. In January or February the district committee will vote on whether to hold a caucus or a primary to pick a nominee. You can find out more about both candidates at:
https://galantefordelegate.com and https://tristanshields.com/
- In the 26th, April Moore is stepping up as the Democratic challenger. She ran against Obenshain in 2015, so she will be a seasoned opponent.
We’re looking forward to working with you to flip the House of Delegates and the Senate! This is a crucial effort. With control of the House, we’ll be in a position, after the 2020 Census, to re-draw gerrymandered districts like the 5th in 2021.
Have a wonderful holiday, enjoy your family and friends, and let’s get together again on January 12 for the first RCDC meeting of 2019!
Mary-Sherman Willis, Chair
Ross O’Donoghue, Vice Chair
Bob Burney, Secretary
Bruce Sloane, Treasurer