Note from Virginia Co-Chair
Now that the returns are in, I would like to extend on everyone's behalf our congratulations and our gratitude to our many fine candidates in this election.
Particular admiration is owing to Jeff Staples, who garnered nearly 16% of the vote in a safe Democratic district, and to Will King, whose outstanding campaign garnered over 5% of the vote in a tough, highly partisan district.
Montigue Magruder shook up Richmond politics, sending the Democrats in his district a wake-up call and taking over 3% of the vote. Marcus Sutphin and Gerald Anderson each faced a tougher challenge, campaigning in starkly conservative districts, and Marcus in particular in an almost exclusively rural district, where getting the message out and having it heard can be particular challenging and where few people have even heard of the Green Party. Both candidates pulled about 1% of the vote in their districts, staking out a beachhead for future Green campaigns in rural Virginia.
It is hard not to be discouraged by the obstacles we face. We have many disadvantages in competing for votes. We do not have the funding base of the major parties, and to most Virginians the Green Party remains virtually unknown. Those who have heard of us often mistake us for a fringe or radical group, even confusing us with environmental groups like Greenpeace.
The choices are to continue to fight in the political arena, or to walk away. I don't know about you, but I cannot look people in the eye unless I am willing to push for the changes we so desperately need. So long as social justice, ecological wisdom, nonviolence, and grassroots democracy are needed, the Green Party will be needed. Our efforts and our impact reach far beyond the poll numbers.
Once we have had a chance to take a breather, we should return to the goals we set out at our Summit in August. Tamar and I will call a state business meeting (teleconference) in late January, and in the meantime we should discuss what items of business should be our top priority.
The work we do now, in preparing for 2018 and beyond, can build on the achievements of this year's candidates and of those who worked so hard to support them. Let us honor the sacrifices they have made by reaffirming our commitment to building the future. It's in our hands.
B. Sidney Smith