The outcome of the 2019 legislative elections is not what Republicans wanted to see, but it does not come without any silver linings.
Democrats continue to underperform Hillary Clinton and Ralph Northam in legislative elections.
Strong female candidates like Jen Kiggans, Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, and Carrie Coyner won, giving us a bench to build from in future statewide elections.
And, perhaps most overlooked: the Republican State Leadership Committee made a massive play in the Commonwealth, making it clear that Republicans will fight for state legislatures across the country in 2020.
Everyone knows that Democrats were flush with cash in 2019. Eric Holder, Barack Obama, George Soros, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, and dozens of other millionaires from New York and California teamed up to pour record-setting amounts into Democratic campaigns this year.
There was only one player operating on that scale in Virginia this year: the RSLC.
According to VPAP, the Republican State Leadership Committee, led by President Austin Chambers, invested over $3.3 million in Virginia in the 2018-2019 cycle. That is an unprecedent investment in Virginia by the RSLC – or any other national group.
The RSLC was deeply involved with both the House and Senate caucuses in 2019, coordinating daily on strategy, tactics, and expenditures, according to sources who spoke to The Republican Standard on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal operations.
Chambers and his team spoke daily to caucus political staff in both the House and Senate, and was in Virginia the weekend before the election. The RSLC also organized its entire team for a deployment to Prince William County in the final weeks before the election.
Most prominently, the RSLC organized a rally with Vice President Mike Pence in Virginia Beach that a top Democratic consultant said may have contributed to Kiggans’ victory in Virginia Beach, the highlight of the 2019 cycle for Republicans.
The key takeaway is that RSLC, led by Chambers, was the only thing standing between Virginia Republicans and total financial annihilation in 2019.
State Board of Elections filings also show that RSLC raised significant dollars from Virginia too, building a deep and lasting donor base that will help Republicans take back the House and Senate in the years ahead, and help RSLC grow in 2020.
Democrats are mobilizing their donor class for 2020, making a strong play to take back state legislatures across the country. Much like in Virginia in 2019, the RSLC is the only thing standing in their way.