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In Historically Expensive Virginia Election, Winning Candidates Pledge to Prioritize Money-In-Politics Reform

November 8, 2017 | Laura Friedenbach

Washington, D.C. — In an election that broke fundraising records in Virginia, 19 winning candidates endorsed by national money-in-politics group Every Voice pledged to prioritize working with their colleagues at the state capitol to pass policies to strengthen our democracy and reduce the power of big money.

“These elected leaders will work for a future in which billionaires and corporations no longer dominate the financing of Virginia politics,” said David Donnelly, president and CEO of Every Voice. “The eye-popping fundraising numbers this election season are just the latest sign that Virginia’s ‘anything goes’ approach to campaign financing is handing too much power to rich donors. Most voters feel like they don’t have a say in our political system, and now they’ve elected real leaders who will do something about it.”

Every Voice endorsed 19 candidates in both incumbent and competitive seats, and in a clean sweep, every endorsee won their race including Del. John Bell (HD 87), Del. Jennifer Boysko (HD 86), Del. Betsy Carr (HD 69), Jennifer Carroll Foy (HD 02), Karrie Delaney (HD 67), Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (HD 41), Kelly Fowler (HD 21), Del. Patrick Hope (HD 47), Chris Hurst (HD 12), Del. Kaye Kory (HD 38), Del. Michael Mullin (HD 39), Del. Kathleen Murphy (HD 34), David Reid (HD 32), Del. Marcus Simon (HD 53), Del. Rip Sullivan (HD 48), Donte Tanner (HD 40), Kathy Tran (HD 42), Schuyler VanValkenburg (HD 72), and Del. Vivian Watts (HD 39).

Virginia is one of just a handful of states with absolutely zero limits on what wealthy and corporate donors can give to candidates. Each endorsed candidate pledged to prioritize working with their colleagues once elected to oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, support meaningful contribution limits to reduce the power of wealthy corporations and special interests in Virginia’s elections, and pass legislation such as small-donor public financing to give everyday Virginians a bigger voice.

Following a statewide questionnaire from Every Voice, a total of 49 candidates from 45 of the House of Delegate races plus Governor-elect Ralph Northam made the same pledge to prioritize fighting big money. The questionnaire responses of Every Voice’s endorsed candidates can be viewed at EveryVoice.org/Virginia.

Every Voice provided a variety of kinds of support to its endorsed candidates, including message guidance, small donor fundraising advice, volunteer recruitment, social media content, get-out-the-vote work, and research.

Every Voice and its 100,000 active supporters are working around the country to build momentum for policies that amplify the voices of everyday people and reduce the power of big money in politics. The organization recently launched the Every Voice Leads program to elect leaders to all levels of government to forward those goals.

Statements from Every Voice endorsees:  

“I’m a firm believer in making sure our democracy is for everyone — not just the wealthy and powerful. I am a voice for all in the Virginia General Assembly, and a great way to ensure that all elected officials are responsible to their constituents before their donors is to overhaul campaign finance regulations. I’m so honored to be endorsed by Every Voice and look forward to working with them now and in the future to make sure elections are fair for everyone.”
—Del. John Bell (HD 87)

“I’m humbled to receive the endorsement of the organization Every Voice. The influence money has on campaigns and elected officials is terrible. That’s why I’m dedicated to passing comprehensive campaign finance reform that regulates the influence and control rich individuals, special interests, and corporations have on our government. It’s time we elect Delegates that put people before politics, and I’m committed to doing just that.”
—Karrie Delaney (HD 67)

“I’m proud to receive Every Voice’s endorsement of my candidacy, because like them, I strongly believe our government works best when it’s inclusive, transparent, and accountable. We know that reducing the power of big money in our elections empowers the voices of ordinary people in our democracy. I am committed to fighting for comprehensive reforms to do just that.”
—Kelly Fowler (HD 21)

“I’m thrilled to have the support and endorsement of Every Voice. My small House of Delegates campaign could end up with 1 million dollars being spent on each side, with just 20,000 votes cast. That fact, in and of itself, speaks to the importance of groups like Every Voice, which are committed to taking big money out of politics. I’m excited to support efforts to do so when I’m in Richmond.”
—Chris Hurst (HD 12)

I am honored to be endorsed by Every Voice. Their dedication to taking a closer look at money in politics is admirable, and I support their efforts. I am so thankful for all of the grassroots donors who have given to my campaign — they are ordinary people just like you and me.”
—Del. Michael Mullin (HD 39)

“I am so grateful for the support and endorsement from Every Voice. Together, I hope to work towards a future where politicians are not beholden to special interest groups and big money corporations in order to enact change and make a difference in Virginia, and in our nation.”
—David Reid (HD 32)

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of Every Voice. For too long, politicians and candidates for office are consumed with raising money, and that impacts the way they govern and the way they interact with their constituents. As a first-time candidate, I saw this ugly reality for the first time. Politics should be about people, and that’s how I intend to serve if elected Delegate.”
—Donte Tanner (HD 40)

“While over 300 individuals have made low-dollar donations to my most recent campaigns, I regularly contact +1,200 active voters, who most likely have always voted for me and can afford to contribute, but don’t. I believe the most effective way to combat big money in politics is by citizens stepping up and replacing it with many, many small donations.”
—Del. Vivian Watts (HD 39)

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Every Voice is a national organization fighting for a democracy that works for everyone.