Last night, Virginia voters swept out Republican control of the General Assembly and Democratic reformers also swept key local races. These results were the work of countless activists and organizations dedicated to living in a world that embraces key principles including that immigrants have rights, the criminal (in)justice system must be reformed, and workers deserve a living wage.
“Being that both of my parents are immigrants and knowing their struggles, I have put over 2000 miles on my car to talk to voters about the importance of electing pro-immigrant candidates,” said Sasha Campana, a Lead Canvassers on CASA in Action’s Chesterfield team. “I’m proud to say that CASA in Action is the reason I am voting for the first time ever.”
Sasha and her team helped power forward the election of Ghazala Hashmi, who will serve as the first Muslim in the Virginia Senate and whose election was one of the victories that flipped the Senate blue. Other CASA in Action activists worked to successfully defend several Democrats – Hala Ayala, Lee Carter, Elizabeth Guzman, and Danica Roem – first elected in 2017 who were targeted for removal by the GOP. But they were also on the ground to flip seats over to incoming Democrats Josh Cole and Shelly Simonds; some of the victories that produced a House Democratic majority.
Altogether, CASA in Action deployed 75 activists and 4 canvass managers to Chesterfield and Fairfax, Stafford and Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Spotsylvania, Newport News and Prince William. Together, they knocked on more than 109,000 doors and engaged more than 2000 of their friends to vote through calls and texts. The organization also sent digital ads to Latino voters in its targeted districts over 1.1 million times with personal messages in English and Spanish urging people to vote.
While the statewide victories grabbed most headlines, amazing wins were also achieved on a local level. In NOVA, we first spent a primary season ensuring the election of Democrats we could be proud of, then made sure they got elected in the general election. Particularly poignant for CASA in Action members is the Democratic majority in Prince William County, where Democratic Board Chair-Elect Ann Wheeler will replace Corey Stewart; the main architect of the 287g program which transformed county public safety officials into quasi ICE agents. She will be supported by majority Democratic Board with leaders – Victor Angry, Andrea Bailey, Kenny Boddye, and Margaret Angela Franklin – who will each be the first African-Americans in history elected to a full term. In a County where the former Board Chair celebrated the confederacy, a super majority of the Board is now people of color, including the first Latina in history.
CASA in Action also supported the progressive takeover of Fairfax County, where Democrats swept the entire school board and left one mere Republican – barely – on the Board of Supervisors. Fairfax County joined a string of major criminal justice victories by electing Steve Descano Commonwealth Attorney. Steve joins other CASA in Action supported prosecutors Buta Biberaj in Loudoun and Amy Ashworth in Prince William who swept elections last night by promising big commitments to reducing incarceration, supporting drug treatment, and more.
“We may be taking a day or two to celebrate, but we are soon turning to the real work ahead of transforming these electoral victories into legislative victories,” said Luis Angel Aguilar, CASA in Action Virginia Director. “After years spent lobbying a Republican controlled legislature that cared nothing about the priorities of immigrant families, I am hungry to get to work creating real justice for our members.”
With over 100,000 lifetime members, CASA in Action is the largest electoral organization fighting for immigrant rights in the Mid-Atlantic region.