Weekly Roundup - September 19, 2021

As early voting begins, Delegate Hala Ayala, Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor, is 100% focused on connecting with voters across the Commonwealth. As the only candidate with the lived and legislative leadership experience necessary to move Virginia forward, Hala will amplify every Virginian’s voice in Richmond.

Go to iwillvote.com to make a plan to vote. Virginians can also call the Virginia Voter Hotline with any questions, concerns, or problems at (844) 4VA-VOTE or (844-482-8683).

 

This week, Delegate Ayala: 

  • Released a fact sheet highlighting some of the crucial tie-breaking votes Virginia’s current Lieutenant Governor has cast since 2018. Overall, Lieutenant Governor Fairfax has cast 52 tie-breaking votes to deliver Medicaid expansion, expand abortion access, and pass gun safety reforms like red flag laws. 

  • Received an endorsement from the Washington Post Editorial Board, who championed Hala as a “levelheaded [progressive] aligned with Virginia,” in contrast to her extreme opponent, who “publicly backed Texas’s draconian antiabortion law, then fired most of her campaign staff.” Read the full endorsement here

  • Joined Democratic elected officials in Norfolk for a press conference on the first day of early voting in Virginia. Check out clips from the press conference featured on ABC 13 News Now and WTKR.  

[@HalaAyala]

  • Joined Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, Delegate Nancy Guy, and Delegate Alex Askew for a canvass launch in Virginia Beach. The progress Virginia has made to deliver gun safety reforms is on the line this November, and Hala is the only candidate for Lieutenant Governor who will take Virginia forwards, not backwards. 

 

[@HalaAyala]

  • Stopped at the Fort Monroe National Monument, a site marking the first arrival of enslaved Africans in North America. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will fight for equity and justice and ensure that all Virginians understand their shared history. 

  • Visited the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank to learn more about the Foodbank’s inspiring programs, which equip their students with the tools they need to thrive. As someone who has achieved success thanks to programs like these, Hala will continue to prioritize ending food insecurity in the Commonwealth. 

  • Met with entrepreneurs and business owners of color in Patrick Henry Mall and visited 1865, Hampton’s first Black-owned Brewery. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will ensure that small women and minority-owned businesses always have a seat at the table. 

[@Hala Ayala]

  • Held a Black leaders roundtable at Virginia State University. As Lieutenant Governor, Hala will plant seeds to empower the next generation of diverse leaders. She’ll continue to fight for public education and jobs skills training investments that will allow every Virginian to achieve success.

  • Celebrated the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

    • “This month — and every month — I am proud to celebrate my Hispanic heritage. From the Hispanic American leaders in elected office to the labor movement leaders and essential workers who are leading us through this pandemic, there is no denying that our communities are made better by Hispanic Americans’ contributions. National Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity for Virginia to celebrate our diversity, and for our country to celebrate our roots as a nation of immigrants.”

    • “While Hispanic Americans have made countless contributions to our nation, we are still grossly underrepresented in the halls of power. As Virginia’s next Lieutenant Governor, I will fight to bring every Virginian’s voice to Richmond and ensure that Hispanic Americans always have a seat at the table.”

 

MORE STATE OF THE RACE COVERAGE

The Washington Post: Opinion: Mark Herring for attorney general and Hala Ayala for lieutenant governor in Virginia

In addition to the ballot-topping race for governor, voting in Virginia begins Friday for two other statewide contests, for attorney general and lieutenant governor. The two Democrats on the ballot — incumbent Attorney General Mark R. Herring, seeking reelection, and Del. Hala S. Ayala, who is running for lieutenant governor — are levelheaded progressives aligned with Virginia. The two Republicans are not, especially Winsome E. Sears, running for lieutenant governor, a Trump-aligned business person who brandished an assault weapon in her campaign posters.

[...]

Ms. Ayala, a cybersecurity specialist and a well-liked lawmaker representing Prince William County, was elected to the House of Delegates in 2018 and advanced quickly to become a top Democratic vote wrangler in Richmond. Her compelling personal story — her Salvadoran-born father died from gun violence and she struggled as a young mother without health insurance for her son — resonates with many voters. Meanwhile, the Jamaican-born Ms. Sears, who served a single term as a state legislator 20 years ago and last year was national chair of Black Americans to Re-elect the President, has floundered. She publicly backed Texas’s draconian antiabortion law, then fired most of her campaign staff. Ms. Ayala is the better choice.

 

The 19th*: These two women have potential to play outsized role in Virginia abortion rights

A new Texas law banning nearly all abortions is shaping the final weeks of a historic lieutenant governor’s race in Virginia, with two women candidates seeking the number two seat in state government that could play an outsized role on policy decisions, including abortion rights. 

Democrat Hala Ayala, a lawmaker in the state’s House of Delegates, and Winsome Sears, a Republican who served in the chamber in the early 2000s, have been clear throughout their campaigns about their position on abortion: Ayala supports abortion access, Sears opposes it. But the topic is front and center after the Texas law, which bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, went into effect this month.

[...]

“We are the firewall. So this is why the lieutenant governor’s seat is so important,” Ayala told The 19th. “Choice is on the ballot this November.”

 

La Política: Hala Ayala could become the first female lieutenant governor of Virginia

Virginians will have the opportunity this upcoming November to elect the first female and woman of color to serve as lieutenant governor in the state's history.

The daughter of a Salvadorian and North African immigrant father and an Irish and Lebanese mother, Hala Ayala won the Democratic Party nomination for lieutenant governor in June, beating five opponents for the state's second-highest office.

In an exclusive interview with LPO, Ayala stated, "It is a great honor to break that glass ceiling, but this election is definitely much more than me. Of course, I have to be cognizant because we'll be leading by example and planting seeds for the future."

 

Virginia Scope: Ayala talks about campaigning for lieutenant governor

Hala Ayala was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2017 among a blue wave that helped 14 other Democrats flip seats that were formerly held by Republicans. Four years later, Ayala is looking to win big again, this time at the statewide level as she is running for lieutenant governor. 

In an interview with Virginia Scope, she said that years ago she never would have expected to be on the stage she is now. “If you told me two decades ago while I was working at a gas station making minimum wage…. Respectfully I would say you are nuts.” Ayala said. “Especially sharing the stage with the President of the United States…mind blown.”

[...]

Her goal right now is to earn people’s trust and be successful this November.

 

The American Independent: Virginia lieutenant governor nominee scrubs extreme views on guns, abortion from website

Earlier this summer, Winsome Sears, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, made clear on her website issues page that she was a fierce opponent of abortion rights and gun control and a strong supporter of school vouchers and voter suppression legislation.

Now none of those positions are even mentioned.

[...]

Chou, the communications director for Ayala's campaign, told the American Independent Foundation, "You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. The fact that Winsome Sears is now trying to walk back her radically conservative platform is just further testament to the fact that even she knows she's too extreme for Virginia."

 

Washington Blade: HRC endorses McAuliffe, Ayala, Herring in Va.

The Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday announced endorsements for three Virginia candidates on the statewide ballot in November.

These endorsements include Terry McAuliffe for governor, state Del. Hala Ayala (D-Prince William County) for lieutenant governor and Mark Herring for reelection as attorney general.

[...]

Ayala, a state delegate since 2018, similarly co-sponsored and voted in support of numerous pro-equality bills, including the landmark Virginia Values Act, a bipartisan measure that made Virginia the first state in the South to extend nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

If elected, Ayala will become the Virginia’s first female and woman of color lieutenant governor.