With the presidential election being called over the weekend, Virginia’s leaders have been expressing their support of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris. While I highlighted some of the statements folks had already been making, I also wanted to highlight the video Elizabeth Guzman posted on twitter.
While the sentiment Del. Guzman expressed has been shared by many other elected officials, I wanted to highlight her remarks as a reminder of how Virginia has an active race for statewide offices coming up in 2021. On the Democratic side, we’ve already seen strong candidates like Guzman, Hala Ayla, and Sean Perryman enter the Lt. Governor race and providing a diverse field of folks running for statewide office. Women of color such as Jennifer McClellan and Jennifer Carroll Foy have also entered the gubernatorial race.
If you’re actively following the social media accounts of leading figures in Virginia politics, however, you probably noticed that there are some Republicans trying to completely dismiss the statewide campaigns of people of color and women. In a thread that ran dozens of tweets long, Rachel Bitcofer, a GOP consultant, completely ignored the people of color who’ve entered the race for statewide offices and claimed the only hope for Democrats is Terry McAuliffe.
As if that weren’t bad enough, she went on to suggest progressives shouldn’t criticize her because she was involved with the Lincoln Project. Understandably, there was significant backlash from active Virginia politicos after her long winded rant that wasn’t based on actual facts.
“If you can’t tweet about VA politics without erasing black women, getting gov candidates wrong, [and] claiming to be saving America, then maybe you shouldn’t be tweeting about VA politics,” David Broder of SEIU said.
Ben Tribbett added “I’ve been blocked by Rachel Bitcofer for awhile now, but glad to see everyone else is finally getting to see her idiocy showing.”
Even after Bitcofer finally admitted she didn’t even know what office Mark Herring was running for, she claimed he “snuck” his decision in without her being aware of it. She went on to insist this meant another white man was going to win the nomination and never even mention several prominent women of color running for governor. On top of that, she proceeded to block anybody who called her out on this.
While one Republican operative’s lengthy rant on social media isn’t the end all be all, it does help to illustrate the tremendous work that still needs to be done. If someone who claims to be in the know and makes a living in the world of politics doesn’t even know who’s running for statewide office, after all, then it’s very likely many voters aren’t familiar with the candidates. It also emphasizes the battle to end the assumption that only straight white male politicians should be discussed as leading contenders for elected office.