Democratic Party of Virginia

Democratic Party of Virginia
Chairman Brian J. Moran
House leader Ward Armstrong Minority leader, Kenneth R. Plum Caucus leader
Senate leader Charles J. Colgan President Pro Tempore, Richard L. Saslaw Majority Leader, Mary Margaret Whipple Caucus Leader
Founded 1924 (1924)
Headquarters 1710 E. Franklin St.
Richmond, Virginia 23223
Ideology Center
Modern Liberalism
Fiscal Conservatism
Economic liberalism
National affiliation Democratic Party
Unofficial colors Blue
Political position Fiscal: Centre-left
Social: Center-left
Seats in the US Senate
2 / 2
Seats in the US House
3 / 11
Seats in the VA Senate
22 / 40
Seats in the VA House
39 / 100
VA statewide offices held
0 / 3

The Democratic Party of Virginia is based in Richmond in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[1] It is affiliated with the national Democratic Party of the United States. The organization is governed by a State Party Plan,[2] which guarantees an open and fair candidate selection process. Although the party has members and elected officials throughout the state, it draws its highest number of votes from the Tidewater area and suburban Washington, D.C.

Historically, the Democratic Party has dominated Virginia politics. Of the 39 governors directly elected by Virginia voters, 34 have been Democrats and five have been Republicans. However, in the 1990s the Republican Party made gains.


Current elected officials

The Virginia Democratic Party holds a majority in the Virginia Senate, controls both of the state's U.S. Senate seats and holds three of the state's 11 U.S. House seats.

Members of Congress

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives

Statewide offices

  • None

Current leadership

Leading Virginia democrats Douglas Wilder, Jim Webb, Tim Kaine, and Mark Warner with Barack Obama

The Hon. Brian J. Moran, who had previously served as a Delegate, was elected Party Chairman on December 4, 2010.[3] Leigh Anne Collier is Executive Director.

Legislative initiatives

The 2008 State Party Platform was adopted at the June 14, 2008 State Convention.[4] The key topics covered by the Platform are:

  • Restoring Economic Security for Virginia's Families
    • Protecting Homeowners
    • Protecting Workers
    • Support for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship
    • Improving Trade Policies
    • Support for Training and Re-training
  • Ensuring Affordable, Quality Health Care for All
    • Support for Expanding Help to the Poor and Uninsured
    • Protecting Social Security
  • Preserving Virginia's World-Class Public Education System
    • Fulfilling the Promise of No Child Left Behind
    • Support for Job Training and Continuing Education
    • Support for Teachers
    • Meeting Funding Responsibilities
    • Support for a Well-Rounded Curriculum
    • Support for Early Childhood Education
    • Support Full Funding for Higher Education
  • Preserving Virginia's Natural Resources
    • Support for Tackling the Threats of Climate Change
    • Support for a New Energy Policy
    • Support for Access to Safe Drinking Water
    • Support for Clean Rivers, Streams, and the Chesapeake Bay
    • Support for Preserving Open Space
    • Support for Outdoor Activities
  • Celebrating Diversity & Community
    • Affirmation of Equal Rights for Women, Civil Rights for All
    • Faith in Action
    • Support for People with Disabilities
    • Opposition to Discrimination
    • Support for Domestic Partnership Benefits
  • Ensuring Fair Elections
    • Support for Redistricting Reform
    • Support for Ex-Felons' Rights to Vote
    • Support for Consecutive Gubernatorial Terms
  • Keeping Citizens Safe and Secure
    • Support for Our Troops
    • Support the Right to Bear Arms
    • Support Fighting Terrorism
  • Finding Solutions to Transportation Needs
    • Encourage Use of Alternative Modes of Transit
    • Support Responsible Growth

The Democratic agenda is also reflected in Governor Tim Kaine's legislative initiatives:[5]


Governor Kaine worked with the General Assembly to fund new investments in Virginia’s transportation network, including investments in public transit.

The new law authorizes up to $600 million for transportation in locally imposed taxes and fees in Virginia’s two most congested areas – Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads – while dedicating equally significant funding to statewide projects. The bill requires all new funding dedicated to transportation will be used only for transportation.

New laws better regulate subdivision streets that are accepted into the state maintenance system, and improve accountability in transportation management by creating the Transportation Accountability Commission.

Tax relief

The Democrats won a significant tax cut for Virginia’s working families, taking over 140,000 low-income Virginians off of the tax rolls.

The Governor also negotiated important business tax reforms, preventing imposition of the business, professional, and occupational license (BPOL) tax on motor fuels tax payments and making taxation of machinery and tools used by manufacturers more consistent.

The Governor’s proposed constitutional amendment allowing local property tax relief for homeowners also passed the 2007 General Assembly and will be introduced for its second passage in the 2008 session.

Historically, the Democratic members of the State Legislature have pressed for a repeal or reduction of sales taxes on groceries.


Through his budget amendments, Governor Kaine secured the state's share of a 3% salary increase for teachers and other public school employees. The Governor also won funding for a Start Strong pilot program to test ways to expand the availability of pre-kindergarten programs, as well as funding to expand the Early Reading Intervention program targeted at first and second grade students.

The Governor has also proposed that high-quality pre-school be available for 4-year-olds throughout the state.[6]

Health care

Governor Kaine established a bipartisan Health Reform Commission to address those healthcare issues in Virginia that will require long-term strategies. He also took concrete steps in 2007 to expand access to prenatal healthcare; improve the quality of care for the elderly; and help encourage healthier living through childhood obesity programs and better wellness support for state employees.

The enacted health care package also included an improved emphasis on women and minority health.

Public safety

In further support of those Virginians who serve their state and their nation, Governor Kaine secured funding for room/board and textbook assistance for spouses and children of Virginians killed or severely disabled in service; increased pay and retirement benefits for law enforcement and corrections officers; and improved employment protections for National Guard and Reserve members.


In continued support for Virginia's commitment to a clean Chesapeake Bay, Governor Kaine worked with the legislature to authorize $250 million in bonds to help localities upgrade sewage treatment plants throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

A sales tax holiday was enacted for Energy Star approved products.[7]

Current events

Although it is difficult to measure total fundraising contributions because money is donated to political action committees as well as directly to the parties, public records show that in 2007, the Virginia Republican Party received $3,376,215 compared with $8,245,806 for the Democrats.[8]

Historic Partisan Makeup of the Virginia House of Delegates

In 2006, a budget deadlock between the Republican-controlled House of Delegates and the Republican-controlled Senate resulted in the legislative session extending far beyond its normal term as well as a special session. In general, the Democrats favored a progressive income tax and sought to eliminate the sales tax on groceries.

In 2007, the need to fund $1 billion per year for pressing transportation projects resulted in another impasse between the House of Delegates and Senate. Rather than approve additional tax increases, the final Republican plan, which was enacted into law, resulted in new abusive driving fees of up to $3,000 which are assessed against Virginia residents in addition to the historic fines assessed on out-of-state drivers convicted of the same driving law violations. The Republican plan also called for issuing general obligation bonds which Democrats claim will reduce funding of non-transportation needs in future years. In general, the Democrats opposed the abusive driving fees. On 2007-08-23, the Republican leaders of the House and Senate responded to public opposition of the new fees by promising to moderate them in the 2008 legislative session.[9]

Historic Partisan Makeup of the Virginia State Senate

Leading up to the November 2007 elections, where all of the House of Delegates and Senate seats were up for reelection, Democrats highlighted the Republicans' inability to lead the legislature. In response, the Republicans focused on illegal immigration and unveiled a proposal to prohibit illegal immigrants from attending public colleges and requiring sheriffs to check people's immingation status before releasing them from jail.[10] As a result, Democrats in 2007 regained control of the State Senate and narrowed the Republican majority in the House of Delegates to 7 or 8 seats.[11]

In February 2009, the Republicans sought to exploit an internal dispute within the Senate Democratic caucus over the appointment of judges in Norfork to regain control of certain Senate committee chairmanships. The Republicans filed a report to change these chairmanships to Republican hands expecting one Democratic Senator to support them, thereby creating a 20-20 tie and allowing Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, a Republican to break the tie. However, Republican Party Chair Jeffrey Frederick reported via Twitter that Republicans were close to luring a Democrat in the Virginia Senate into entering a power sharing agreement.[12] Because the Democrats were tipped off to the potential defection, they were able to prevent this from taking place.[13]

In a special session of the legislature held on April 8, 2009 to consider extending unemployment insurance benefits in order to implement the federal stimulus package, the Republicans voted along party lines, 53 to 46 in the House of Delegates to defeat the proposal.[14] Two Republican delegates from high unemployment districts voted in favor of Kaine's proposal.

Derecognition of College Democrats

On May 15, 2009, vice president of student affairs, Mark Hine, sent an e-mail to the president of LU's College Democrats, Brian O'nill Diaz, revoking the university's recognition of the club. "The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine," Hine's e-mail stated, citing the party's positions on abortion, same-sex marriage, hate crimes, "the LGBT agenda," and "socialism" as justification for the dissolution. While the club can still meet on campus, it cannot use the university's name or receive reserve university facilities.[15] Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Governor Tim Kaine and gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe, Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds called on the college to rescind the ban.[16][17] Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert McDonnell stated that he "personally disagrees" with Liberty's decision, but that because it is a private school, its leaders can make their own decisions.[16] When the club formed in 2008, Republicans on campus were generally supportive.[18] Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., subsequently stated that The University had not banned Democrats from campus. Nor had the club been banned from meeting. And that neither the University or its officials said that a person cannot be a Christian and a Democrat.[19] The head of the College Democrats, Brian O'nill Diaz, was quoted as saying he was baffled by the administration's decision, "I want to be able to share the love of Christ, but I guess I can't do that on campus because I'm a Democrat as well."[20]

2008 budget battle

For the first time in the Kaine Administration, the Governor's 2008-10 budget faced a legislature with each chamber controlled by a different party. The priority items in the budget were: a Pre-Kindergarten initiative, improvements to child services, an expansion of health care access, investments in higher education, and improvements for mental health.[21] The Republicans fought the new spending, instead emphasizing the need to confine spending to "core" programs. By the time the regular session ended on March 8, no agreement had been reached. However, the parties had reached a compromise on March 12, with a final budget expected to be adopted on March 13.[22]

Reportedly, the final budget is set at $77 billion with $296 million to be withdrawn from the state's reserve fund to make up a revenue shortfall in the current year. Democratic leaders from the Senate persuaded House Republicans to drop a prohibition on funding Planned Parenthood of Virginia, which performs abortions, and groups that conduct stem cell research.[22]

As of January 2009, Democrats hold both of Virginia's two seats in the U.S. Senate, 6 of 11 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, a majority in the State Senate and a minority in the Virginia House of Delegates. Additionally, a Democrat serves as Virginia's Governor.

2009 statewide elections


On June 9, 2009, Creigh Deeds defeated former Delegate Brian Moran and former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe in the primary, and became the Democratic candidate for Governor. He was defeated by Republican Robert F. McDonnell the following November.[23]

Democratic Primary

Candidate Vote Percentage
R. Creigh Deeds 158,854 49.76%
Terry McAuliffe 84,387 26.43%
Brian J. Moran 75,936 23.79%

General Election

Candidate Vote Percentage
R. Creigh Deeds 877,533 41.27%
Robert F. McDonnell 1,149,091 58.73%

Lieutenant Governor

The following candidates announced for the Democratic Lieutenant Governor nomination:Jody M. Wagner, Jon Bowerbank, Michael Signer and Pat Edmondson.[24] Bowerbank and Edmondson subsequently withdrew. Wagner won the primary:[25]

Democratic Primary

Candidate Votes Percentage
Jody M. Wagner 212,363 74.21%
A. Michael Signer 60,958 21.30%
Jon I. Bowerbank 12,824 4.48%

General Election

Candidate Votes Percentage
Jody M. Wagner 838,288 43.41%
William T. Bolling 1,092,810 56.59%

Attorney General

Del. Stephen C. Shannon is the only announced candidate. State Sen. John S. Edwards is considering the race,[24] although he may be seeking a federal judge appointment instead.

Control of House of Delegates

Both parties are focusing on which party will control the House of Delegates — following the Democrats taking back the Senate in 2007. All 100 House seats are elected in 2009 for a two-year term, and the Republicans currently have a majority of 6 seats, and there are 15 Republican districts that President Obama carried in the 2008 election. Two of the most visible are Del. David B. Albo (R) who faces a second challenge from Democrat Greg Werkheiser, and Del. Ward Armstrong.[26] In a special election held to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Brian Moran, Democrat Charniele Herring defeated Repbulcian Joe Murray by 16 votes. However, the Republicans blocked seating Herring at the start of the session pending a recount of the vote.[26]

2010 special elections

On January 12, 2010, in a special election for the 37th State Senate district, Democrat Dave W. Marsden beat Republican Steve M. Hunt by a 327 vote margin.[27] In the 8th State Senate district, Republican Jeff L. McWaters beat Democrat William W. "Bill" Fleming by a vote of 78-21%.[28]

On March 2, 2010, Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn defeated Republican Kerry D. Bolognese in a special election for the 41st House of Delegates district in Fairfax County to fill Marsden's seat,[29] by 37 votes, out of 11,528 cast.[30][31] She was sworn in on March 3, 2010 after her opponent dropped his plans to request a recount.[32]

See also


  1. ^ "Contact." Democratic Party of Virginia. Retrieved on May 13, 2010.
  2. ^ Democratic Party of Virginia | Party Rules
  3. ^ kumar, Anita (December 5, 2010). "Democrats in Virginia tap Brian Moran to lead party". Washington Post: p. C1. 
  4. ^ Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  5. ^ Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  6. ^ Governor Tim Kaine: Issues and Initiatives
  7. ^
  8. ^ Retrieved 2008-02-14.
  9. ^ B. Lewis "GOP Plan: Moderate Abusive Driving Fees" Associated Press Retrieved 2007-09-04
  10. ^ T. Craig, "Democratic Gains Predicted in Va. Assembly" Washington Post p. A1 2007-09-02.
  11. ^ Retrieved 2007-11-07.
  12. ^ Big news coming out of Senate: Twitter by Frederick
  13. ^ Not Larry Sabato: Social Media Saves Senate For Democrats
  14. ^ Kumar, Anita (April 9, 2009). "Assembly Rejects $125 Million for Expanded Jobless Benefits". Washington Post: p. B5. 
  15. ^ Reed, Ray (2009-05-21). "LU pulls plug on Democratic club". Retrieved 2009-05-21. 
  16. ^ a b Kumar, Anita (May 23, 2009). "Liberty U. Drops Democratic Club". Washington Post: p. B1. 
  17. ^ Reed, Ray. "Kaine calls on LU to reconsider Democratic club ban." Lynchburg News-Advance, May 22, 2009.
  18. ^ "" Fight for Change, May 25, 2009.
  19. ^ Falwell, Jerry (2009-05-24). "Media's misrepresentation of club controversy". Liberty University. 
  20. ^ Skalka, Jennifer. McAuliffe Jumps Into Liberty U/Young Dems Battle, National Journal, Hotline OnCall, May 22, 2009
  21. ^ Retrieved 2008-03-13.
  22. ^ a b Tim Craig, "Va. Lawmakers Seek End to Budget Clash", Washington Post, Retrieved 2008-03-13.
  23. ^ Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  24. ^ a b Craig, Tim (Feb. 5, 2009). "Dinner Serves Up a Platter of Political Questions". Washington Post: p. Alexandria 4. 
  25. ^ Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  26. ^ a b Tim Craig and Anita Kumar (Jan. 20, 2009). "Despite Pledge, Va. Legislators Bickering". Washington Post: p. B1. 
  27. ^ "2010 January Special - SOV 37 Unofficial Results". Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  28. ^ "2010 January Special - SOV 8 Unofficial Results". Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  29. ^ "CandidatesList-Results". Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  30. ^ "Dems win VA Special Election". 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  31. ^ "March 2010 House of Delegates Special Election Unofficial Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  32. ^ "Filler-Corn sworn in to Va. House Seat". Washington Post: p. B2. March 4, 2010. 

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