Senate minority leader Dick Saslaw has endorsed Justin Fairfax’s campaign for Lt. Governor. He’s joins in Mamie Locke (the Senate Democratic Caucus Chair) and six other state senators in endorsing Justin’s campaign.
“I am humbled and honored to receive the endorsement of Virginia Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw,” Justin Fairfax said in a written statement. “He has an impressive record of public service to the people of Virginia. I look forward to working with him to create more economic security and opportunity for all Virginians and to protect and defend our rights.”
Endorsements aren’t necessarily a big deal unless the break the mold (a key elected official endorsing a grassroots candidate, etc) or represent a larger trend. In the case of Saslaw’s endorsement, it’s also important to remember that he isn’t always viewed as the best leader by the grassroots community. In this case, however, he represents the growing support Justin’s campaign among elected officials and party leaders.
With that in mind, the timing of the endorsement is also very important. Justin, after all, has overwhelmingly won a series of straw polls in Mt. Vernon and Alexandria and is expected to perform well in Gerry Connolly’s event in Fairfax this weekend. This shows he has an ability to inspire the grassroots activists enough to show up to events and support his campaign — the crowd with which Saslaw struggles to connect.
Taken alone, the straw poll results and endorsements need to be taken with a grain of salt. But when they are both consistently pointing towards a certain candidate and represent a variety of people supporting the campaign, it’s likely more than just a coincidence. For that reason, Saslaw’s endorsement is noteworthy.