And the “Blue Tide” Keeps on Coming —Congratulations Special-Election Winner Jennifer Boysko! January 13, 2019
The main “story” on 1/08/2019, of course, was Donald’s prime time speech loaded with his usual “lies, damned lies, and ridiculous statistics” about the threat of illegal immigrant “hordes” which forced him to shut down the federal government. The networks shamefully allowed our “Toddler/Demagogue-in-Chief” to again spout his unchanged racist drivel. As Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) aptly stated in response, “American democracy doesn’t work that way. We don’t govern by temper tantrum.” Schumer asked Trump to separate the shutdown from his border debate to re-open the federal government, which has been closed since 12/22/2018. Schumer added, “Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes. This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and direct attention from the turmoil in his administration (dailykos.com, Hunter, 1/08/19).” Exactly.
While Demagogue Donald’s playing the same old same old racist/xenophobic card in prime time does not seem to have convinced anyone beyond his extremist base, another more important event was taking place on this same date. In nearby VA, Democrats kept 2018’s “Blue Tide” rolling with their first 2019 victory. In the special election called to fill the vacancy in the Old Dominion’s 33rd State Senate District (SD), Democrat Jennifer Boysko (52) handily defeated her GOP rival Joe May (81). This election had been set to fill the vacancy left when 33rd SD Democrat Jennifer Wexton won the 10th Congressional District by easily defeating GOP incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock in the 11/2018 midterm (Wash. Post, VA Politics, 1/08/19, Sullivan, P., CQ Early 116th Cong. Guide).
“Team Blue” Boysko’s triumph over “Team Red’ May was “y uu ge.” She clobbered May by a 40% margin, 70%-30%. She won nearly every precinct in this Northern VA senate district. In Loudoun County, she took 67% of the vote and did even better in “Bluer” Fairfax County. GOPer May only won a majority of votes in two Loudoun precincts (loudounnow.com, 1/08/19, Wash. Post, Sullivan, results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019). Let’s look at the candidates.
Boysko, a native of Pine Bluff, AR, grew up in AR and AL. Boysko graduated from Roanoke, VA Hollins’ College. From 1989-1990, she worked as a legislative aide for AL’s then Dem. U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, before he joined the GOP in 1994. Boysko also was an aide to Dranesville, VA Supervisor Dem. John Foust from 2008-2013. Since 1996, Boysko has lived in Herndon, VA. Boysko and her husband Glenn have two daughters. Boysko has been a grassroots organizer and community leader. Some of the groups she has volunteered for included Herndon High School, the Herndon Optimists, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, and Reston Interfaith (ballotpedia.com/Jennifer Boysko, jenniferboysko.com, Biography, votesmart.org).
In 2013, Boysko lost a race for the VA House of Delegates (HOD), that state’s lower chamber, by just 32 votes. In 2015, when the GOPer who had defeated her announced his retirement, Boysko, although outspent by her GOP rival, won by 12 points (vpap.org/candidates, wtop.com/virginia/2015/11).
In her 2019 special election race to replace now Cong. Wexton, Boysko emphasized building a strong economy for everyone, addressing gun violence, and standing up for education (Wash. Post, Sullivan, 1/08/19). She also stands for supporting safe and legal abortion and access to contraception. She calls immigration reform “doing the right thing,” and stands for upholding the DREAM Act that allows young people brought here illegally as youngsters to earn citizenship (ballotpedia.org). Hillary Clinton put out a supportive message for progressive Boysko’s special election race (Sullivan, Wash. Post, 1/08/19).
Boysko’s opponent, Joe May, was no political novice. A Broadway, VA native, he currently resides in Leesburg. A 1959 Virginia Tech graduate, May served in the U.S. Army from 1955-1958. In 1977, he founded EIT, a Sterling, VA-based electronics manufacturer. May, who has made a fortune, holds over 20 patents in the fields of electrical and electronic engineering and is a licensed aviator (washingtonpost.com1/19/14, ece.vt.edu, 5/01/09, Nadler, D., leesburgtoday.com, 5/2015, Virginia Tech Daily, 5/02/18). From 2004-2014, or for 20 years, May served in the VA House of Delegates (HOD). May was defeated in the 2013 GOP primary by an individual aligned with the Tea Party who resented his pushing a $3.5 billion transportation law (washingtonpost.com, 6/11/13, Pershing & Whack, washington post.com, Olivo, 12/15/18). In 2013, a GOP mass meeting failed to choose May as its candidate to run in an upcoming special State Senate election. May ran as an independent but came in a poor third to the Democratic winner and the GOP candidate (Caitlin, G., 11/06/13, washingtonpost.com, leesburgtoday.com). May is now a GOPer again who describes himself as a “moderate conservative (loudonnow.com, Nadler, D., 11/18/18, Corder, E.).” Yes, May is not a “tear it down” Tea Partier, but the operative word here is “conservative,” not “moderate.” As opposed to a progressive like Boysko, one will never know just how May will vote on issues involving major government aid for his constituents. May’s use of the “independent” label, to boost his special election candidacy, frankly, is no big deal. He became an independent to get back into the political fray, not because he’s truly “independent.” His being back with “Team Red” is all you need to know.
Why was this race that important where one Democrat replaced another? The Boysko-May special election was a contest in a suburban battleground area near Dulles International Airport. This area has never been a far-left one. Only in recent elections, has this region started favoring strong Democrats. And those Democrats handily won against extremist wackos. In 2016, Hillary beat “deplorable” Donald here by 30 points. In 2017, Dem. Ralph Northam, running for Governor, clobbered Confederate-loving Donald wannabe GOPer Ed Gillespie by 35 points. In 11/2018, this district picked U.S. Senator Tim Kaine over another far- out Confederate fan Corey Stewart by 41 points and also helped Jennifer Wexton easily win her congressional race against NRA lackey and Trump supporter Cong. Barbara Comstock (Olivo, washingtonpost.com, 12/25/18). Many federal workers live in this district and so do many people of diverse races and ethnicities. The VA 33rd Senate District (SD) is no fan of crude Demagogue Donald shutting down the federal government because of his xenophobic attitudes. In the 33rd SD, Trump is clearly a drag to anyone with the “R” after his/her name. The 33rd’s constituents are not interested in hearing a GOPer declare he/she supports “moderate” positions to win. They see up front how the national GOP governs once in power by its aiding and abetting Donald’s misdeeds. Many state VA GOPers also back Donald’s hardline stands. With Donald dominating the GOP, more “moderates” at all legislative levels will be “primaried out” by extremists, which previously happened to May. Even if he is not “primaried out” again, May and others like him will be forced to tow the radical-right party line once elected to keep these voters and their donations. If “moderate” GOPer May can not win in the 33rd SD, “Team Red’s” chances to retake this district and similar ones are not good. “Team Blue” can, therefore, continue to keep these seats and make more political inroads.
Boysko’s victory also continues the “Blue” winning streak at the state levels that started in 2017 after Trump’s inauguration. Since that time, Democrats have flipped at least 44 legislative seats in special elections all over the country. In the 11/2018 midterms, Democrats flipped at least 380 seats, making a total of 424 “Red” to “Blue” local flips. Democrats are almost halfway to recapturing the 968 legislative seats lost while Obama was in the White House, when “Team Blue” was not paying too much attention to this issue. Since the 2018 election, Democrats now have 14 trifectas, or control of the governorship plus both state chambers (dlcc.org, latimes.com, Kos, Fiddler, nytimes.com, 11/08/18, Covert B.). In 11/2019, VA will have all the 140 members of its General Assembly, the House of Delegates and State Senate, up for re-election. Boysko will then be running for a full term of her own, and, hopefully, her chances will be good (wbsv.com, 11/08/18, Sullivan, washingtonpost.com, 11/08/19). In 11/2019, Democrats will need to flip just two state Senate seats to take control of the VA Senate. In 2017, Democrats almost flipped the VA House of Delegates. They stand a good chance of finally doing that in 2019 (Sullivan, washigntonpost.com, ballotopedia.org/Partisan composition of state legislatures). VA could then be added to the “Blue” trifecta column. Remember, state legislatures and their governors often control redistricting. Had Democrats controlled more state legislatures and governorships in 2018, we could have won more than 40 House seats. Democrats also pass progressive measures when they are in control in the states and GOPers enact reactionary laws when they dominate. Democratic legislatures and governors will, additionally, be in the forefront of resisting Donald’s reactionary immigration and environmental measures. State legislatures constitute the “farm teams” for national positions. Cong. Jennifer Wexton came from the VA legislature.
Winning in 11/2019 will not be a “cakewalk.” The GOP will probably field lots of candidates. Republicans will spend oodles of money with their national groups and “Red”-leaning private ones like Koch to keep these state chambers GOP and try to flip others back. Democrats must continue recruiting top candidates for state races as well as for Congress. And finally, again, turn out by our side will be key. Only 16% of the voters turned out for the Boysko-May race, a very poor showing (See Sullivan, washingtonpost.com, 1/08/19). In order to take back more state legislative seats, Democrats must turn out in droves in 2019 VA. “Blue” voters must also come out strong in the 2020 presidential, congressional, and other state contests. Every election counts. Congratulations, Jennifer Boysko! Keep the “Blue Tide” going.