• Democratic candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe, was the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. McAuliffe was unable to seek reelection in 2017 due to a state law that bars sitting governors from serving consecutive terms. McAuliffe attended The Catholic University of America and Georgetown University Law Center. A lifelong businessman and entrepreneur, McAuliffe has lived in Fairfax County for more than 20 years with his wife, Dorothy. The couple has raised five children together.

    McAuliffe is centering his campaign on building a strong Virginia economy that works for everyone. He plans to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024, two years ahead of the current schedule. He wants to require employers to provide paid sick days along with paid family and medical leave to all workers. Because Virginia is the 10th most expensive state for childcare in the country, McAuliffe wants to assist families burdened with childcare costs by providing subsidies, funneling federal money to families, and making it easier for people to qualify for assistance.

    McAuliffe plans to invest $2 billion in Virginia’s education system every year so that teachers are paid above the national average, children have access to universal pre-K, and every student can get online. To make college more affordable to students, McAuliffe will offer more financial aid and expand on current Governor Ralph Northam’s program that makes community college free to low- and middle-income students studying in certain fields. McAuliffe also wants to boost enrollment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities by providing free tuition to students who promise to teach for five years in the state’s high-need areas.

    While serving as Governor of Virginia, McAuliffe took action to reduce carbon emissions in the state and received a $120.5 million federal grant to combat the rising sea level on Virginia’s coast. He wants Virginia to reach 100% clean energy by 2035 and make access to clean energy and transportation infrastructure more affordable by providing subsidies for solar usage and public transit construction. McAuliffe also plans to address the racial impacts of climate change by providing funding to communities hit by extreme heat and rising sea levels.

    McAuliffe pushed for Medicaid expansion during his first term and wants to increase access to affordable healthcare by supporting Virginia’s plan to create a state-run health insurance marketplace. He backs lowering prescription drug costs, reducing health insurance premiums, and creating a Medicaid buy-in option for people who make too much to qualify for the program but still can’t afford out-of-pocket costs on the marketplace. When he was governor, McAuliffe vetoed Republican legislation that would have limited abortion access. If reelected, McAuliffe plans to incorporate Roe v. Wade into Virginia’s constitution to guarantee that abortion access is protected.

    McAuliffe is running against multimillionaire Republican Glenn Youngkin, the former president of Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. Youngkin wants to channel the state’s money from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to fund private schools. Youngkin has admitted that he opposes abortion access and will work to dismantle protections for reproductive freedom in the Commonwealth. Youngkin is also against making health coverage more affordable in Virginia.

    McAuliffe is also facing a challenge from activist and educator Princess Blanding, an Independent candidate. Blanding is the sister of Marcus David-Peters, a young Black man who was killed by police in 2018. Blanding wants to hold police accountable by ending qualified immunity and shifting funding away from police departments to invest in community services. She also wants to make health coverage more affordable by creating a public healthcare system.

    Due to his record in providing leadership for the Commonwealth and his support of Virginia working families, the environment, affordable health coverage, and reproductive rights, Terry McAuliffe is the most progressive choice in this race.

    Last updated: 2021-09-15

    Terry McAuliffe

    Democratic candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe, was the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. McAuliffe was unable to seek reelection in 2017 due to a state law that bars sitting governors from serving consecutive terms.

    Terry McAuliffe

    Democratic candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe, was the 72nd Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2014 to 2018. McAuliffe was unable to seek reelection in 2017 due to a state law that bars sitting governors from serving consecutive terms.

  • The daughter of a Salvadorian and North African immigrant father and a Lebanese and Irish mother, Delegate Hala Ayala was one of the first Latina women elected to the House of Delegates, having one her first election to represent the 51st District in 2017. She worked for over 20 years as a cybersecurity specialist and is the single mother of two grown children. If chosen by voters to be the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Ayala will be the first woman and Afro-Latina to do so.

    Affordable access to healthcare is a central focus for Ayala. As a first-time mother, Ayala depended on Medicaid to give her son life-saving care. In 2018, Ayala voted to expand Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians. In 2020, she co-patroned legislation to cap the cost of insulin in the state. In 2021, she voted to make the cost of prescription drugs transparent and to boost Virginia’s capacity to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. She also wants to reduce Black maternal mortality and create a universal paid family and medical leave program in the Commonwealth.

    As a graduate of Prince William County schools, Ayala believes that a well-funded education system is critical to a thriving Commonwealth. In 2021, she voted to increase teachers’ salaries by 5%. She also supported the “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) Fund and Program, which provides free community college to low- and middle-income students who are studying in certain fields. As lieutenant governor, Ayala will prioritize expanding access to pre-K, reducing overcrowding in classrooms, and dedicate more funding to improve school infrastructure.

    Recognizing the climate crisis as a national security threat, Ayala believes the state needs to play a bigger role in addressing the impacts of climate change. She co-patroned the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020, which will eliminate carbon emissions in the Commonwealth by 2050. She also wants to dedicate more funding to communities dealing firsthand with the effects of climate change, believing that solutions to the crisis must be created with racial equity in mind.

    Ayala personally understands how hard it is for families to make ends meet. Her family struggled financially when she was a child, and she worked and raised children while obtaining her degree. In 2020, Ayala voted to raise the state’s minimum wage. She supports making paid family and medical leave available to all Virginia working families. In 2021, she voted to strengthen the rights of tenants and protect them from eviction during the pandemic. She also sponsored legislation to protect workers during the pandemic by requiring employers to provide them with personal protective equipment and hazard pay.

    Ayala is running against former delegate Winsome Sears, a Republican who represented Norfolk in the House of Delegates from 2002 to 2003. Sears owns a plumbing and appliance repair store in Winchester. Sears opposes legislation that would make our communities safer from gun violence. She also supports using public money to fund private schools and wants to create deliberate barriers to voting access that make it more difficult for people to participate in our democracy.

    Due to her support of affordable health coverage, the environment, public education, and Virginia working families, Delegate Hala Ayala is the most progressive choice for lieutenant governor in Virginia.
    Last updated: 2021-09-15

    Hala Ayala

    The daughter of a Salvadorian and North African immigrant father and a Lebanese and Irish mother, Delegate Hala Ayala was one of the first Latina women elected to the House of Delegates, having one her first election to represent the 51st District in 2017.

    Hala Ayala

    The daughter of a Salvadorian and North African immigrant father and a Lebanese and Irish mother, Delegate Hala Ayala was one of the first Latina women elected to the House of Delegates, having one her first election to represent the 51st District in 2017.
  • Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring is seeking his third term in office after having been first elected in 2013. Raised by a single mother in Loudoun County, Herring obtained a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia before earning his law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law. He and his wife of 30 years, Laura, raised two children together.

    Herring has stood up for access to affordable healthcare by fighting off efforts by the Trump administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In 2021, Herring defended the ACA by joining a coalition of 21 attorneys general to argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court against a lawsuit from the Trump administration that would have dismantled the ACA, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and Medicaid expansion.

    Herring is a champion of reproductive rights and abortion access, and has used his office to support a person’s right to decide when and whether to become a parent. He has signed onto several lawsuits that challenge different states’ restrictive abortion laws. He issued an opinion in 2015 to strike down medically unnecessary Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws that shuttered women’s health centers in the Commonwealth. In 2019, he successfully filed an injunction against the Trump administration’s efforts to halt contraceptive coverage in health insurance.

    Herring has worked to keep our communities safe from gun violence by standing up to the gun lobby. In 2020, he defended two common-sense laws passed by the General Assembly aimed at preventing gun violence, the one-handgun-a-month law, and extended background checks. The same year, he also successfully defended a challenge to Virginia’s extreme risk protection law, which keeps guns out of the hands of people who pose a risk to themselves or others.

    During his time in office, Herring has fought to keep the promise of democracy real by protecting access to the ballot box. This year, he applauded the passage of the Voting Rights Act of Virginia and joined other attorneys general in urging Congress to pass safeguards that guarantee people’s rights to participate in our democracy by voting. In 2020, he ensured that voters did not face intimidation while casting their ballots in our fair and free elections. In 2016, he defended a decision from former Governor Terry McAuliffe to restore the rights of returning citizens in the Commonwealth.

    Herring is facing a challenge from Delegate Jason Miyares, a conservative Republican who wants to create deliberate barriers to voting access, undermine workers’ rights by keeping Virginia a right-to-work state, and oppose efforts to shift funding away from police budgets to community services. As a delegate, Miyares voted against raising the state’s minimum wage, expanding access to affordable healthcare to hundreds of thousands of Virginians, abolishing the death penalty, and legalizing marijuana. He also opposes abortion access.

    Due to his support of access to affordable healthcare, abortion access, gun violence prevention, and voting rights, Attorney General Mark Herring is the most progressive choice for this race.
    Last updated: 2021-09-15

    Mark Herring

    Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring is seeking his third term in office after having been first elected in 2013.

    Mark Herring

    Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring is seeking his third term in office after having been first elected in 2013.

No Recommendation

The 54th District includes parts of Caroline and Spotsylvania counties. The district leans Republican. Del. Orrock received 58% of the vote in 2019, but Senator Tim Kaine (D) won the district with 50% of the vote in 2018.

Democrat Eric Butterworth is running to represent the 54th district in the House of Delegates. However, no information was available about his campaign at the time of this guide’s publishing, meaning we cannot guarantee he will make progressive choices.

Incumbent Republican Del. Bobby Orrock is a far-right conservative who was elected to the House of Delegates in 1990. Orrock does not support access to abortion and voted against the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. He was a staunch opponent of Medicaid expansion in Virginia. Additionally, he voted against raising the minimum wage, the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, and death penalty abolition. Del. Orrock is not a progressive choice in this race.

We do not have a recommendation in this race. However, we still encourage you to show up to vote on November 2 by writing in a name of your choice for this race and voting in the other races on your ballot.
  • Born in Charleston, SC, Baron Braswell moved to Virginia Beach where he graduated from Kellam High School. He went on to study political science at Virginia State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude before joining the Army. He was elected to the Spotsylvania School Board in 2014, and is currently serving his fourth term. Braswell sits on advisory boards at the University of Mary Washington and Germanna Community College. He and his wife have two children.

    Braswell has served on the school board for the past seven and a half years. Each year he advocated for better pay for teachers, bus drivers, support staff, and coaches. He was also a major budget driver on restructuring health insurance in the school division. This led to millions of dollars in savings. During his time on the school board, he advocated for more accessible sports participation by lowering fees for student athletes.

    Braswell advocates for updating the county’s infrastructure. While on the school board, he pushed for the major renovation of Courtland High School, as well as the installation of artificial turf at five high schools. The school’s renovation came in at half the average cost of a new high school and led to a gold award for design from the Virginia School Boards Association. In the midst of the pandemic, he recognized the area’s growing need for broadband services.

    Promoting economic development and increasing access to opportunity are high on Braswell’s list of priorities. He praised efforts of the Spotsylvania County Schools to contract two years of state field hockey tournaments with the Virginia High School League. He encourages similar partnerships with businesses across the county. As a school board member, he was a leader in growing support for students’ extracurricular activities and started a region wide chess tournament for students. He advocated for expanding the Career and College pathways programs to include a variety of tracks including veterinary science, visual and performing arts, and cybersecurity.

    Along with his family, he hosts a run in honor of his late son, dedicated to reducing teen violence. Braswell sat on a panel along with area leaders to discuss race relations around Fredericksburg. He also championed the name change of R.E. Lee Elementary School to Spotsylvania Elementary School. He has stated that access to an equitable education must be a priority to end systemic injustice, pushing for local governments to better fund education.

    Baron Braswell is challenging conservative incumbent Supervisor Chris Yakabouski (R). Yakabouski has lived in Spotsylvania for 30 years. He has two children enrolled in Spotsylvania Public schools, and he strongly supports SROs in every school and has pledged to back law enforcement. He has labeled himself the “conservative voice” on the board of supervisors.

    Braswell is also challenging previous House of Delegates candidate Nick Ignacio. Nick Ignacio’s 2017 campaign focused on enforcing immigration laws, strengthening Second Amendment rights, and limiting abortion access. He is regional tea party chairman and was responsible for organizing an anti-mask rally. While making comments at a school board meeting, he refused to wear a mask and removed protective barriers at the podium. During another incident, he had to be removed from a school board meeting. He has been known to make use anti-gay slurs.

    Due to his history of increasing accessibility to opportunities for students, updating infrastructure, and his commitment to reducing teen violence, Baron Braswell is the most progressive choice in this race.
    Last updated: 2021-09-15

    Baron Braswell

    Born in Charleston, SC, Baron Braswell moved to Virginia Beach where he graduated from Kellam High School. He went on to study political science at Virginia State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude before joining the Army.

    Baron Braswell

    Born in Charleston, SC, Baron Braswell moved to Virginia Beach where he graduated from Kellam High School. He went on to study political science at Virginia State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude before joining the Army.
  • Nicole Cole is a Virginia native who holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s degree in finance from Northwestern University. She owns and operates two financial planning businesses, The College Money Team and Nicole Cole Financial Services Group, LLC. She currently serves as a member of the Citizens Budget Review Committee. She is a mother to three children that are currently enrolled in the Spotsylvania school system.

    Cole is an advocate for the emotional developmental needs of children. She hopes to develop a school system that is an open and safe environment for students and staff to receive mental health services as needed. She supports investing in mental health programs for students and educating students and staff on mental illness. If elected, she plans to direct funds from the county’s annual budget to support mental health awareness and information for students and educators.

    She pushes for education that encourages goal creation and provides children with better focus and more opportunities. She believes this is the key to achieving high student success and graduation rates. Cole believes the county should invest more in programs that help to integrate career pathways into curriculums and learning objectives. By connecting learning with career options, she hopes kids will graduate with rewarding careers or vocations. Cole is also in support of innovative learning centers for those interested in STEM programs, the arts, or teaching.

    Cole stresses the importance of accountability in regards to the finances of the school district, having advocated for increased school funding since 2018. She believes that children and education are the best investments and supports increasing resources for teachers. Cole voiced her dismay towards the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors who voted against fully funding the 2022 SCPS budget. She also notes that Spotsylvania education has been defunded for over a decade.

    When it comes to COVID-19 recovery efforts, Cole has expressed that leading by example is a civic duty. She has shared support of vaccination efforts, as well as masks, noting the latter as a necessity for children returning to school in person. She also showed support for the Child Tax Credit from the American Rescue Plan. Additionally, Cole recognizes the connection between the pandemic and the teacher shortage, as well as its impact on the community.

    Cole is running against Larry DiBella for the Battlefield district school board seat. DiBella is a former SRO who advocated for ending the school-to-prison pipeline. Due to her support of mental health services for students and a history of advocating for school funding, Cole is the more progressive choice in this election.
    Last updated: 2021-09-15

    Nicole Cole

    Nicole Cole is a Virginia native who holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s degree in finance from Northwestern University.

    Nicole Cole

    Nicole Cole is a Virginia native who holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Maryland College Park and a master’s degree in finance from Northwestern University.