Washington, DC – In Prince William County, one of the most diverse, fast-growing, suburban swing districts outside of Washington, a diverse set of candidates are turning political will into political action by mounting challenges to incumbents, and overcoming old stereotypes. Fenit Nirappil of The Washington Post, writes that Prince William County has shifted from “mostly white, rural and solidly Republican,” to “diverse, developed, and swingy.” Among the candidates running for the House of Delegates are pro-immigration reform progressives like Danica Roem, Elizabeth Guzman, Hala Ayala, and Jennifer Carroll Foy.
We excerpted key portions of Fenit Nirappil’s article below. It can be read in its entirety here.
This election, a diverse Democratic slate is hoping to take advantage of those demographic and political shifts to challenge longtime, white male GOP incumbents in state legislative districts carried by Hillary Clinton last November.
They include a transgender woman taking on one of the legislature’s most conservative culture warriors, a Latina challenging a retired soldier, and one of the first black female graduates of Virginia Military Institute running against a local GOP activist and military contractor for an open seat.
In addition, Lee Carter, a white Marine Corps veteran who fits the more traditional Democratic-candidate mold, is challenging GOP House Majority Whip Jackson Miller, who just months ago lost a special election in Prince William in an upset seen as a wake-up call for Republicans.
On the nationalization of the Virginia elections, as national Democrats keep a close eye:
Across the country, strategists are watching to see whether Democrats can convert voter disapproval with Trump into victory at the ballot box. The first clues may come in November in Prince William County, just the kind of fast-growing, suburban swing district prized by candidates from both parties.
On Prince William County’s shifting demographics:
Prince William, now with more than 450,000 residents, is no longer the rural farming community and escape from city life it was decades ago.
The community 30 miles south of Washington includes tony gated communities, collections of townhouses largely occupied by working-class immigrants, and rural stretches with homes on several-acre plots.
Whites became the minority in 2010, and African Americans and Latinos each make up a little more than one-fifth of the population.
Former president Barack Obama ended his 2008 campaign with a rally in Prince William — choosing to finish his historic run in a community that reflects a multicultural America. The next day, he became the first Democrat since 1964 to carry the county and the state of Virginia.
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