TO: Interested Parties
FROM: EMILYs List
DATE: November 8, 2023
RE: EMILYs List Helps Virginians Win Majorities, Stop A Republican Abortion Ban
Yesterday’s elections in Virginia presented voters with a striking choice: Democrats who support abortion rights, or Republicans who used a multi-million dollar campaign to lie about their positions. Now, the results are clear: Democrats will retain control of the state Senate and flip the House of Delegates, stopping Governor Glenn Youngkin’s abortion ban in its tracks. To put it simply, abortion remains a powerful motivator for voters.
Voters Knew Republicans Were Lying to Force An Abortion Ban On Virginia
Claiming he had found the solution to Republican’s challenges on abortion, Gov. Glenn Youngkin spent millions of dollars and hundreds of earned media column inches misleading voters about his plans, framing a new ban on Virginia women as “commonsense” and “consensus.” While Republicans spent the election cycle attempting to hoodwink the pro-choice majority in Virginia, Democrats and their allies ensured that voters knew the truth: Youngkin had promised to “gleefully” sign any abortion ban into law, and many GOP candidates supported bans with no exceptions. Voters went to the polls knowing the truth: giving Republicans control meant losing their rights.
Building a Pro-Choice Senate Caucus: Lashrecse Aird
Securing this pro-choice Democratic majority to protect Virginians’ rights required engagement in both the primary and general elections. EMILYs List was proud to provide crucial political, fundraising, and communications guidance to Senator-elect Lashrecse Aird’s successful primary campaign to defeat an anti-choice Democrat. Even her defeated opponent conceded after the race: Abortion was 2023’s “seminal issue… what’s driving that vote? It’s real simple. Abortion.”
Building a Senate Majority: Russet Perry and Danica Roem
In the general election, EMILYs List worked with candidates like Senators-elect Russet Perry and Danica Roem, to ensure that pro-choice caucus would be in the majority. With their victories, Virginia will remain the last state in the South without an abortion ban and a crucial access point for women across the region who need medical care.
Senator-elect Roem faced an opponent who publicly embraced Gov. Youngkin’s ban, but privately left the possibility of taking bans even further open to anti-abortion activists. EMILYs List has supported Senator-elect Roem since she first flipped a House of Delegates seat in 2017, becoming the first out transgender legislator elected in Virginia, and was proud to continue our relationship with her as she won competitive elections in 2019, 2021, and now 2023. This year, she was recognized as one of our 2023 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award nominees.
Senator-elect Perry, a former CIA officer and prosecutor, defeated a self-funding billionaire heir who supported a new ban on abortion and attempted to talk past his support from the most extreme figures in the anti-choice movement – including those who would ban birth control. Our team provided communications guidance and helped Perry win her primary and establish one of the most robust fundraising operations in the Commonwealth giving her an edge in a race that raised “more than any other legislative contest.” EMILYs List was proud to help Russet make abortion a central issue in her campaign as she worked to cut through the misinformation and hold her extreme anti-choice opponent accountable.
Building a Pro-Choice House of Delegates Caucus: Amy Laufer
Delegate-elect Amy Laufer faced an anti-choice Democrat in her primary for this targeted seat, and with EMILYs List support won a decisive victory on her way to capturing this Dem-leaning seat in the fall. In addition, two EMILYs List-endorsed candidates remain in too-close-to-call races and will see results later this week.
Voters Don’t Trust Republicans On Abortion
A clear majority of Virginians support protecting abortion access. A clear majority of all Americans support protecting abortion access. Republicans – after thinking voters in 2022 would ignore one political party maneuvering for 50 years to take their rights away – thought that Virginia was the new blueprint: just lie! Unfortunately for them, EMILYs List-endorsed candidates held the line, Virginia voters held them accountable, and the electoral potency of support for reproductive rights was proven again.
EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, works to elect Democratic pro-choice women up and down the ballot and across the country with a goal of fighting for our rights and our communities. Our work is centered around a fundamental vision: Run. Win. Change the World. EMILYs List has raised $850 million in service to that vision and has helped Democratic women win competitive elections by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running one of the largest independent expenditure operations for Democrats, and turning out women voters to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country’s first woman as vice president, 175 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 20 governors, and over 1,500 women to state and local office. More than 40% of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Visit www.emilyslist.org for more information.