Virginia has elections in odd years rather than even years. Their state house and state senate are controlled by Republicans — but just by a few seats. Further, some of the most powerful state legislators are corporatists who are holding back progressive priorities. Indivisible Baltimore has decided to support Yasmine Taeb‘s primary against the 39-year incumbent conservative Dick Saslaw by organizing several canvass trips to her Alexandra-area district to knock on doors.
Saslaw has stymied progressive efforts to push an anti-corporate agenda in the state, voting against bills that would lead to substantive regulation of the state’s two electric monopolies, and speaking out against campaign finance reform and increased ethics and transparency regulations. Yasmine Taeb, an American-Muslim human rights lawyer who immigrated to the United States from Iran as a child, launched her primary challenge to Saslaw in September — and she’s going after his ties to Dominion Energy, Virginia’s biggest private-industry political donor. The company gives heavily to both Democrats and Republicans, but Saslaw is its top recipient in the General Assembly and one of its biggest advocates in Richmond.
Taeb, who is the first Muslim woman elected to the Democratic National Committee, moved into the 35th District only last year, and her first foray into politics was in 2014, when she made a failed bid for the Virginia House of Delegates. She’s running on a platform that includes a $15 minimum wage, no corporate PAC donations, and “Medicare for All.” But she’s also focused on stemming Dominion’s influence in the state, fighting to stop the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.
UPDATE: Yasmine Taeb fell just 3.4 points shy of winning her race on Tuesday, a difference of a few hundred votes. This was a hair’s breadth from a shocking upset of an incumbent who had not faced a primary challenger since 1979. For more information see:
Huffington Post: “Top Virginia Democrat Survives Strong Progressive Challenge“