A LETTER TO THE RCDC MEMBERSHIP

April 8, 2020

Dear Rappahannock Democrats,

We missed seeing you at our last monthly get together, cancelled for COVID19. Unfortunately, we will miss you again. Our scheduled general meeting for April 11 is also cancelled to keep everyone distanced and safe, following Governor Ralph Northam’s recommendations. They came not a moment too soon. Sadly, our county reported its first confirmed case this week.

Distanced as we are, we have been busy and want to keep you informed of events in the coming months.

  • County delegates to the district, state, and national Democratic conventions have until April 9 at 5 pm to send in their pre-filing forms to the DPVA (Democratic Party of Virginia).

Based on your votes on Super Tuesday, the county was allotted two delegates for Joe Biden and one for Bernie Sanders. Even though Bernie has dropped out of the race, his delegates will go to the conventions!

  • To be a delegate to the 5th District Convention on May 9 and State Convention on Jun 20, click HERE for the form.
  • To go on to the National Convention in August 17-20 in Milwaukee, click HERE to apply.

NOTE: Compared to other counties in the CD5, Rappahannock has had a great turnout of delegate applications! The DPVA has been accepting them all, for both candidates, to cover the shortfall in other counties.

NOTE: Because of the pandemic, the Party will decide, from moment to moment, whether to hold in-person or virtual conventions. The 5th District Convention will be held virtually. (Those details to come.)

  • To find out more about delegate selection and duties, click HERE.
  • The 5th District Congressional Primary is scheduled for June 9. We are urging you to vote absentee by mail. It’s easy and complies with our distancing practices.
    • I’ve attached Registrar Kim McKiernan’s instructions and the deadlines to apply for and send in absentee ballots for the June Congressional Primary and November General elections.

NOTE: Mail-in voting is going to be crucial this year for getting out the vote! We’re planning phone banks, texts blasts, and socially distanced postcard parties to get the word out, and to help voters get their ballots in. We’ll need your help.

NOTE: We have four terrific candidates to run against Denver Riggleman in November: RD Huffstetler, John Lesinski, Claire Russo, and Cameron Webb. Instead of live forums to let voters meet the candidates, we’re coordinating with other 5th District committees to hold virtual forums in our localities. Ours is tentatively scheduled for May 12 at 6 pm, to be moderated by former candidate Leslie Cockburn. (Details to come.)

  • RCDC fundraising has become one of the casualties of COVID19. Our April 4 Blue State Blue Grass Brunch and auction were cancelled. The Yard Sale in August may be too. While our expenses will go down, our income will too. As the season progresses, we’ll need to buy yard and highway signs, and campaign ads. We appreciate any donations you’re able to make along the way.

We want to thank everyone for your work and support, for stepping up even as our world is upended by this invisible threat wreaking such havoc to ourselves and our democracy. Thanks in particular to Ron Goodman, Tommy Bruce, Larry Wohlers, and Rachel Taylor for representing us as delegates to the State Convention (and beyond!).

Please send your questions and comments at maryswillis@me.com. We want to hear from you! Keep up with our news at www.RappDems.org and on our Facebook page.

Stay safe, stay engaged, and let us bring the light of Democratic competence and compassion into this dark time.

Mary-Sherman Willis

RCDC, Chair

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What’s Next? Important RCDC info

To all Rappahannock Democrats:  

After Super Tuesday, there is still work to do to nominate a Democratic Presidential candidate to rid us of Donald Trump and his entire incompetent apparatus.  

In spite of the chaos and upheavals of the past week, we are charting our course (with guidance from the Democratic Party of Virginia) to safely select delegates to send to the 5th District Nominating Convention on May 9, then on to the State Convention on June 20. From there, VA delegates will go to the National Convention in Milwaukee on July 13 to 16.  

It’s still unclear what form these conventions will take, given the cancellations due to the coronavirus outbreak across the country.    What we do know is that:

  • Rappahannock County has been allotted 2 delegates and one alternate delegate to represent us on May 9.
  • Each delegate may only pledge to either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.
  • We will be holding an unassembled caucus to pick those delegates on Monday April 20 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at the Rappahannock Library. This is like a typical voting experience: you’ll come to the library, present an ID, complete a form certifying that you are a Democrat registered to vote in the county, and fill out a ballot for one of a list of potential delegates. (Click here to open the call for caucus form)
  • To run for delegate, fill out the pre-filing form (Click here to open and download the pre-filing form). You’ll be asked 
    • whether you want to be a delegate or an alternate (to fill in for a delegate unable to go to the convention), and
    • to which candidate you’re pledging. 
  • You must submit the form to the committee by April 13 at 5 pm
    • by mail at: RCDC, PO Box 277, Washington VA 22747
    • by email to chair@RappDems.com
    • in person to an officer of the RCDC.

Delegates will take part in one of the most important Democratic conventions in our history. IT COULD BE YOU!  

Until then, enjoy the spring season in our beautiful county, and look for updates from us as they come along.  

In solidarity,  

Mary-Sherman Willis  and the Rappahannock Democratic Committee

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Our first update of 2020! Reorganization and more!

RCDC reorganization 2020

Saturday January 11 2020 was the RCDC’s first meeting of 2020, and our Biennial Reorganization Caucus. Doors opened at 9 am and over 50 people walked through and joined or renewed their membership for 2020/2021. We had a visit from two of our Democratic candidates for U.S. Congress in the 5th District, Dr. Cameron Webb and Rappahannock resident John Lesinski. Thank you all for an enthusiastic start to the year!

Our newly elected or re-elected Officers are:

Mary-Sherman Willis, Chair
Ross O’Donoghue, Vice Chair
Ken Edwards, Secretary
Bruce Sloane, Treasurer

See our Calendar of Events for 2020—a crucial year to get involved! Come to our monthly meetings on the second Saturday of every month! Get ready to knock on doors, attend a postcard party, make phone calls, get out the vote and ELECT DEMOCRATS! By the way, absentee voting for the March 3 Democratic Presidential Primary begins on Thursday January 16, 2020.

WE NEED YOU!

It’s not too late to become an active member. Print out this form and mail it to RCDC, PO Box 277, Washington VA 22747 

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Call to Caucus to Reorganize the Rappahannock County Democratic Committee!

Come affirm your biennial membership to the RCDC at the Washington Town Hall (485 Gay Street, Washington VA) on January 11, 2020, at 9 a.m.!

Doors will open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 10.00 a.m. We will also be electing the Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Business concludes by 10:45 a.m.  We will adjourn and immediately reconvene for our first meeting of 2020Dr. Cameron Webb, candidate for Democratic nominee for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, will be the speaker.

Dr. Cameron Webb

Download the membership form (CLICK HERE to Download the form), print, and fill it out to bring with you, or mail it to RCDC, P.O. Box 277, Washington VA 22747. (The form must arrive by 5 pm on 1/10/2020.). You can also request a form be mailed to you (CLICK HERE to email RCDC Chair, Mary-Sherman Willis) Forms will also be available at the meeting.

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AN END-OF-YEAR LETTER FROM THE COMMITTEE

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

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