It’s been widely known that Sam Rasoul was going to run for Lt. Governor in 2021, but he officially launched his campaign this morning. The Democrat from Roanoke is one of the more progressive members of the House of Delegates and could provide some regional balance to a statewide ticket since he’s from Southwest Virginia.
With Virginia being a state with extremely lax campaign finance laws that places no limits on donations made to candidates for state and local office, there’s been a lot of discussion about the influence money has in the state’s elections. In recent years, this has resulted in many candidates committing to not taking contributions from Dominion Energy since it’s a state regulated company. This has been a noteworthy trend since Dominion has been one of the largest contributors to candidates.
Del. Rasoul has taken it a step further by making a “commitment to not take any PAC money.” He continued by saying he’s “committed to only accepting cash contributions from individual donors because I believe it’s the only way we can create a truly transparent government that is responsive to the needs of working Virginians.”
“People want to be able to vote for leaders who aren’t beholden to special interests,” the delegate added while pointing out he had a goal of getting 500 individual donors by Friday. “If a politician is taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel industry groups or pharmaceutical companies, it’s hard to believe they are actually going to represent my interests. We’re taking all the special interest money out of the equation. No PACs, only people.”
Del. Rasoul’s entering a relatively crowded field of candidates in the Democratic primary that includes fellow delegates Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman in addition to Sean Perryman (the president of the Fairfax County NAACP) and Paul Goldman. It’ll therefore be interesting to see if only accepting donations from individuals will hinder his ability to garner attention in a climate where even popular “election experts” like Rachel Bitecofer are ignorant enough about what’s going on in Virginia state politics that they thought there was only one person running for Lt. Governor.
However the primary turns out, Sam Rasoul’s announcement this morning helps emphasize how Virginia has elections every year and we’re already seeing candidates hitting the campaign trail for 2021.