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Democrats split over Thompson

Morrissey chastises DPVA primary over spending

Marlene Jones | 5/20/2013, 4:02 p.m.
Evandra Thompson

— Get “rid of a turncoat Lieberman-esque Democrat who has done way too much to empower her state's reactionary Republicans, while also building our bench with a potential future star.” So reads part of a recent endorsement by The Daily Kos, a well-known liberal online and political community and news source as it seeks to influence the race for the 63rd Virginia House District.

The primary race between incumbent Rosalyn Dance and newcomer Evandra Thompson has split Virginia Democrats for months now and there is no sign of the rift closing before the June 11 primary elections. Just this week, one of Thompson's strongest supporters, Del. Joe Morrissey (Richmond and Henrico County) accused his fellow state Democrats of misusing party resources on the race for House seat is heavily Democratic seat that unlikely to face any challenge from a Republican in November.

“The Democratic party and the House Democratic caucus need to focus on getting Democrats out of the deep minority not picking favorites in safe Democratic seats” said Morrissey. “For the party to spend precious resources for Ros Dance, a Democrat who has stood against Medicaid expansion and supported the Republicans’ secret redistricting plan, is an outrage. Donors should think twice about where they put their resources this cycle. They very well could be going to support a Republican in Democrats’clothing.”

Among the reasons Morrissey and other influential state and local Democrats has given as their reason form not endorsing Dance, a long-time legislation, is her standing with Democrats on major recent votes. In January, for instance, when state Sen. Henry Marsh missed a vote to attend President Barack Obama's inauguration, Republicans had a momentary 20-19 edge that they used it to full effect. Former Hopewell Mayor Brenda S. Pelham and former Petersburg Mayor Annie M. Mickens are also supporting Thompson.

As The Daily Kos put it in its May 16 Thompson endorsement, Republicans rammed "through a bill to redistrict the Senate's own lines for the second time in less than two years. Legislators had already passed a revised map following the decennial census in 2011, but Republicans wanted a brand new map to consolidate their power. Their plan would increase the number of seats they were likely to win and shrink those the opposition would have had a chance of capturing."

State House Republicans and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell eventually killed the plan, but not before two House Democrats, including Dance, expressed their willingness to support the plan. “You read that right—two Democrats were ready to back a GOP scheme so egregious that it was killed by Republicans themselves,” wrote The Daily Kos.

Dance, 65, first assumed the House seat in 2005. She represents Petersburg, Dinwiddie County and part of Chesterfield County and has said in her defense that her votes are purely for the benefit of her district.

Thompson, 30, moved to Petersburg from Richmond earlier this year. She spent five years as an Air Force medic, and was at the Pentagon the day it was hit in the 9-11 terrorist attacks.