People For the American Way (PFAW) – a left-of-center pressure group – credited Latino voters in Virginia for the November 3 victory of Democrat Jeremy McPike, who gained a seat in the Virginia state senate for District 29. The senate district consists of a narrow swath of Prince William County that encompasses the city of Manassas and the site of the famed Battle of Bull Run that occurred during the first year of the Civil War.
PFAW said in a statement that Latinos represent more than 25 percent of the population of Senate District 29. Before the election, PFAW ran radio advertisements in Spanish in Northern Virginia that encouraged voters to “take a stand against Donald Trump’s and the Republican Party’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies by turning out to vote for Democrats in Virginia.”
Dolores Huerta – an ally of the late civil rights advocate Cesar Chavez and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association – participated in animating the Latino community to vote. Huerta – a member of the PFAW board – was joined by McPike, as well as PFAW members and volunteers in the effort.
"Democrat Jeremy McPike is exactly the candidate Virginians and Latinos need representing us in the State Senate. He deserves the support of Virginia voters for his commitment to empower hard-working everyday Americans, advocate for DREAMers, and promote safe communities for children. I proudly support and endorse Jeremy McPike for State Senate in District 29 and urge Virginia voters to cast a ballot for Jeremy on November 3rd,” said Huerta as quoted on McPike’s campaign website.
Michael Keegan of PFAW made a statement saying “Republicans nationwide must understand that Americans won’t stand for the anti-immigrant Republican Party. The toxic rhetoric of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio is already having an effect at the ballot box. Republicans would be wise to abandon their strategy of attacking Latinos and bashing immigrants and their families.”
Americans for Reponsible Solutions PAC, founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut husband Mark Kelly, was credited with getting McPike elected. Giffords was shot by a deranged man while she gave a speech in Arizona. Shot in the head, she struggled to survive but eventually became a strong advocate for increased gun controls. On her website, it is claimed that she is a gunowner.
According to a statement on the ARS website, it claimed that the PAC “took on the gun lobby right in its own backyard and won” for the third election in a row. ARS Executive Director Hayley Zachary said “…once again, we saw that a candidate can run and win on their support for commonsense gun violence prevention policies like background checks.”
As part of the campaign, ARS sent out four pieces of mail to a universe of 7,868 persuasion voters and three pieces of GOTV mail to a universe of 5,015 households. ARS also credited what it called a “digital persuasion program” that included banner, mobile, Facebook and Twitter advertising, as well as video pre-roll advertising. ARS also worked on a coordinated field program in Senate District 29, and “collected 4,098 IDs at voters’ doors.”
The Washington Post also endorsed him. And Planned Parenthood Federation of Virginia also expressed happiness upon McPike's election.
McPike has served for 16 years as a volunteer fireman and EMT in Dale City VA, and works in nearby Alexandria as Director of General Services. He is an advocate of raising the minimum wage, while he also advocates stricter gun controls. On his website, says under the rubric of “Reducing gun violence”:
As a first responder, Jeremy has seen the devastation of gun violence up close. That's why he's committed to advancing commonsense gun safety measures, like universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and blocking domestic abusers’ access to firearms.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.