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November 8, 2010 Published in Choice 2010, Other News

Moran, Rousselot Vie For Virginia Democratic Party Chair

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Former Virginia State Delegate, Brian Moran. (Photo: Regan Kireilis)

On Dec. 4, Virginia’s Democrats will elect a new Party chair. On Thursday, former Arlington Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot announced his candidacy and today, former Virginia Delegate Alexandrian Brian Moran threw his hat into the ring.

“I write to you to express my intent to run for Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia,” Moran said in a letter to DPVA members. “When my good friend Dickie Cranwell announced he was going to retire as Chairman, I thought back to the time I served with him in the House of Delegates. Joining the House as a freshman Delegate in 1996, I was fortunate to serve in the Democratic majority under Majority Leader Cranwell. His dedication and service to the Democratic Party of Virginia has been truly remarkable, giving decades of his life for the greater good.
After Dickie left the House in 2001, we experienced the worst losses Democrats in Virginia had ever seen. Partisan redistricting and losses at the ballot box reduced our numbers to 34, leaving us without many of our
long-serving leaders. It was a tough time to be a Democrat in Virginia.

“When you’re dealt a significant blow, it’s not about how you fall but how you get back up. I ran for House Caucus Chair during a time that was tough to be a Democrat. But I knew that if we could come together to build a winning strategy, a stronger community of Democratic leaders and grassroots activists across the state, and a clear mission for the party, we would be able to take back the House.
Over the course of three elections, we came together and fought our way back. I was proud of the work we did, and after the 2007 elections, we got within striking distance of our mission to take back the House.

“Democrats 
managed to win in areas where critics didn’t think we could – Loudoun, Virginia Beach, Prince William and Lynchburg. These gains didn’t happen overnight. They only occurred with strong candidates, strategic thinking, statewide teamwork and a lot of old-fashioned shoe leather.
I am ready to take that challenge on again.
Last week, our party lost races that reminded me of those early days in the House of Delegates. We lost great public servants in a wave that swept the country. Congressmen Boucher, Perriello and Nye have my respect and
admiration. They have done incredible work in their time in Congress, and I am looking forward to their continuing roles in our party. We also saw strong runs from the future of our party in candidates like Krystal Ball, Rick Waugh, Wynne LeGrow and Jeff Barnett. In a better year, any one of these  candidates could have won. Unfortunately, these losses are distinct reminders that we need to come together as a state party to make sure this
sort of red wave never sweeps Virginia again.

“With a great strategy, a strong community and hard work, we will be able re-elect Jim Webb and President Barack Obama. We can take back the seats we lost on November 2nd while re-electing Gerry Connolly, Bobby Scott and my brother, Jim Moran. I will work with Senators Dick Saslaw and Mary Margaret Whipple to keep and expand our majority in the State Senate. I will work together with Delegates Ward Armstrong and Ken Plum to take the majority in the House of Delegates and, with all of us pitching in, we can win back the Governor’s Mansion.
These may seem like lofty goals to some, but with successful candidate recruitment, strong messaging, working with the grassroots, local committees and fundraising, I know these are all within our reach.

“As a former Caucus Chairman I have a proven record of successful fundraising, recruiting and supporting candidates throughout Virginia from Scott County to Virginia Beach. I have been traveling Virginia since 2002 working with local chairs, volunteers and grassroots activists, as well as donors. I know Southwest Virginia doesn’t end in Roanoke and each community has their own unique challenges and strengths.

“Our success will depend on our continued passion and commitment to our democratic ideals. Starting now, the Democratic Party of Virginia needs to go on the offensive. I know what it is like to take on the Republican Party.
Now is the time for us to fight back.
I hope you’ll join me in this fight as your Chairman of the Democratic
Party of Virginia,” Moran’s letter said.

Rousselot outlined the next DPVA Chair’s priorities on his website. “The next DPVA Chair should focus on statewide Democratic strategies—i.e., DPVA’s focus should be on maximizing the ability of Democratic candidates to win statewide races in Virginia. Statewide races captivate and motivate our base, meaning that by focusing statewide, DPVA also will be maximizing opportunities to win in Virginia Senate, House of Delegates and local races,” the website said. “DPVA exists to help elect Democratic candidates in Virginia—from the school house to the White House. But, DPVA should never be tied too closely to any single Democratic elected official or candidate. Instead, DPVA should be an independent force for building the Democratic Party in Virginia, drawing on the wisdom and experience of all Democrats from our Democratic elected officials to the grassroots.

Former Arlington Democratic Committee Chair Peter Rousselot and family. (Courtesy Photo)

“DPVA should play a leadership role in continuously presenting and reinforcing a positive Democratic message and criticizing damaging Republican proposals. To maximize the prospects of fully energizing the Virginia Democratic base, these positive and negative messages need to have both a national and a state component. Virginia Democrats need to have a clear and concise set of motivating principles for which they stand, and those principles and messages need to be highly visible and promoted throughout the Commonwealth.

“DPVA should take effective steps to insure that DPVA’s message points are being provided to Congressional District Democratic Committees and to local Democratic committees. These committees are our boots on the ground, and a coordinated message will not be effective unless these committees have the tools they need to communicate DPVA’s message.

“DPVA’s next Chair should take a personal and pro-active role to help maximize the performance of ALL local Democratic committees in Virginia by leading in the development of committee-specific plans to move each local committee to the next level. This means that DPVA ought to have a 134 city/county committee strategy to cover all localities in Virginia. In implementing this strategy, the Chair would work with DPVA’s Political Director and a series of regional organizers hired and paid for by DPVA.

“The Chair should continue to look for ways in which we can all work together to advance our Democratic goals, understanding that agreement will not always be possible, but that the relationship is too valuable to remain in disrepair,” Rousselot’s website said.