Democratic Socialist Wins Virginia Delegate Seat, Highlighting Party Division
Virginia voters elected Tuesday a Democratic Socialist to the House of Delegates, complicating Democrats’ arguments that its latest statewide victories are a sign that the party is uniting in opposition to President Donald Trump.
Voters in Manassas, Virginia, a Washington, D.C., suburb, elected Democrat Lee Carter over incumbent Republican Del. Jackson Miller, who was also House Majority Whip.
The Democratic Socialists of America tweeted Tuesday night to congratulate Carter on his win.
Carter won the seat in the House of Delegates after the Virginia Democratic Party stopped funding his campaign. The Virginia Democratic Party requires candidates to provide campaigning information to the party but Carter refused. So, the party pulled its money, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported.
Carter also received very little money, if any, from large corporations. Like Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Carter openly criticizes large corporations.
“I’m to the left of [Democrats] on economic policy,” Carter told the Richmond Times Dispatch last month. “I am unabashedly pro-union, pro-worker. I’m openly fighting against the large corporate interests.”
“That’s something that you don’t see a lot of politicians in either party do very much of, and that’s something that Virginia frankly has not seen very much of since the days of Henry Howell,” Carter said, referring to Virginia’s populist state senator and Lt. Governor in the 1960s and 70s.
Carter’s win could further the Democratic Party’s ongoing civil war between the party’s far-left Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren faction and the establishment Clinton faction. Democrats, however, are already using the Virginia governor’s race and New Jersey governor’s race to push the idea that Democrats are more united than recent news reports might indicate.
Virginia has trended bluer over the last several election cycles as the northern Virginia population outside Washington, D.C. has exploded. It goes without saying that New Jersey has trended blue for decades. Given this perpective, together with Carter’s win Tuesday, it’s more difficult for Democrats to argue that their party is uniting against President Trump.