DFA announces end of “direct aid” for Northam in VA gubernatorial race after anti-immigrant comments

This afternoon, following comments backtracking from support for immigrant families, Democracy for America announced that it was no longer doing "any work to directly aid" Democrat Ralph Northam's Virginia campaign for Governor.

DFA never endorsed Northam in the Gubernatorial race, but, as a part of the coordinated campaign, is spearheading a grassroots calling program to mobilize Virginia voters up and down the ballot. In October, following news that Northam staffers had left Lt. Gov. candidate Justin Fairfax off canvass literature, DFA stopped asking voters or collecting data about Northam as a part of that calling program. Today, DFA decided to make this decision public.

Full statement from Charles Chamberlain, DFA's Executive Director, announcing the decision to end any direct support for Northam:

"Ralph Northam's gutless, politically senseless, and morally debased decision yesterday to openly backtrack on his commitment to standing up for immigrant families is a picture-perfect example of why Democracy for America never endorsed him in the primary and focused the entirety of our efforts in Virginia on down-ticket races, like Justin Fairfax's campaign for Lieutenant Governor.  It's also why, today, we're announcing that we will no longer do any work to directly aid Northam's gubernatorial efforts.

"Despite our profound reservations about Northam's commitment to the inclusive populist agenda Democrats need to embrace to win, following the conclusion of Virginia's Democratic primary, we have continued to work alongside the Virginia Democratic Coordinated campaign for our endorsed candidates, raise tens of thousands of dollars in grassroots donations, and make tens of thousands of calls to voters to expand the electorate.  

"Those concerns proved justified when, a few weeks ago, the VA Democratic Coordinated campaign (dominated by Northam operatives) bought literature for canvassers that purposely left off Fairfax, who, if elected, would be just the second Black man to ever serve statewide office in the Commonwealth.  Following that racist action, we decided to remove Northam's name from the tens of thousands of volunteer Get-Out-the-Vote calls our members are making in Virginia, but, for the sake of Democratic comity, we refrained from publicly discussing that decision.

"However, after seeing Northam play directly into the hands of Republicans' racist anti-immigrant rhetoric on sanctuary cities, we refuse to be silent any longer and even remotely complicit in the disastrous, racist, and voter-turnout-depressing campaign Ralph Northam appears intent on running.  

"The fight for racial and economic justice are core Democratic values, not talking points for convenient moments. This isn't some arbitrary purity test either.  Public dithering on basic issues of racial justice, like the need to protect immigrant families targeted by a bigoted Federal government, isn't just morally bankrupt, it's precisely why many Black, brown, and progressive white voters that should make up the base of reliable Democratic voters don't believe Democratic candidates have their backs and sit out elections.

"Let's be really clear: If Ralph Northam wins next Tuesday, it won't be because he publicly backtracked on his commitment to protecting immigrant families, but in spite of it.  And, if he loses, the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of the consultants who urged the campaign to cave on core Democratic values in the face of a virulently racist Republican campaign - and whose obsession with flipping white, Republican-leaning votes and ignoring voters of color has consistently failed.

"As we have from the start, we are committed to supporting DFA's endorsed candidates in Virginia through election day, but we cannot remain silent as an outdated faction of national and state Democratic Party staffers and consultants run the same old, broken, and racist playbook that lost Democrats over 1000 elected offices since 2008 and allowed a bigoted billionaire to squeak into the White House last Fall.  Our country and our party deserve much, much better." -- Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director, Democracy for America

DFA is a member-driven, people-powered progressive PAC with 41,719 members in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one million members nationwide committed to taking on structural racism, income inequality, and money in politics.

In the 2017 election in Virginia, DFA has endorsed Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor, John Bell for Sheriff, and Lashrecse Aird (VA-HD-63), Hala Ayala (VA-HD-51), Lamont Bagby (VA-HD-54), Jeff Bourne (VA-HD-71), Jennifer Boysko (VA-HD-86), Sheila Bynum-Coleman (VA-HD-62), Jennifer Carroll Foy (VA-HD-2), Wendy Gooditis (VA-HD-10), Elizabeth Guzman (VA-HD-31), Chris Hurst (VA-HD-12), Mark Levine (VA-HD-45), Delores McQuinn (VA-HD-70), Marcia Price (VA-HD-95), David Reid (VA-HD-32), Danica Roem (VA-HD-13), Donte Tanner (VA-HD-40), and Jeion Ward (VA-HD-92) for the House of Delegates.

Since its 2004 founding, DFA members have raised and contributed more than $40 million and made more than 11.1 million volunteer calls to help successfully elect 9185 progressive candidates nationwide.

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