Money Continues to Roll Into this Year's Statewide Election

Sep 12, 2017

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer announces a new partnership with the Democratic National Committee and several immigrant rights groups at a press conference in Falls Church.
Credit Michael Pope

Election 2017 may end up being one of the most expensive races in Virginia history. This week, Democrats are receiving a major infusion of cash.

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Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer is putting his money where his mouth is, investing in a new partnership with a handful of groups advocating for immigrant rights. Steyer says the alliance will a run a get-out-the-vote operation highly focused on how Republicans are approaching the issue of immigration.

“Republicans are using thinly veiled racist attacks on Latino’s suggesting immigrants are equivalent to criminals.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says the support will help his candidates compete in all parts of Virginia, even parts that are traditionally Republican.

“All of our partners understand that change must come from the bottom up; that we must organize in every ZIP code, that we must bring the voices of every community to bear.”

Republicans say they’ve been to this movie before, back in 2013, when Steyer led an effort known as a “haircut strategy.” The idea was to trim GOP margins by depressing turnout in some of the most conservative parts of the state. That worked, and Democrats swept all three statewide seats. But Republicans say it was a strategy based on tearing down an opponent rather than building up their own candidates.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association