Money in Politics

Who's supporting our campaign -- it's not who you think.

We are now 53 days away from the election, and I am pounding the pavement every day to reach voters.

I've taken a leave of absence from work so that I can put my full attention on the campaign. My kids know not to expect me for dinner most nights. My parents have come in from out-of-state to help bridge the gap.

Y'all. This is hard.

What's also hard is the financial reality of this race. While MILLIONS of dollars are being poured into campaigns to help Democrats take control of the General Assembly, we (like most of the other candidates running in rural districts), are not receiving any direct financial support from the Democratic Party of Virginia or the House Democratic Caucus.

They have made a strategic decision to prioritize a handful of races they believe are most likely to win control of the state legislature. That's important.

But what's also important is that we support the Democrats running everywhere in the Commonwealth -- even (and especially) the tough races.

It's a chicken-and-egg problem. We can't run a competitive race without funding. And it's hard to get funding if you're not deemed a competitive race.

Help us end the cycle that keeps rural Virginia districts in Republican hands. We have a chance RIGHT NOW to show that we are here, we are serious, and we are worth fighting for.

Will you show your support by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100? The amount we raise this weekend will determine whether we can order a full run of yard signs (about $5,000), or whether we have to cut back to selected neighborhoods.

Make Your Donation Now

With much gratitude,

PS -- I want to share a friend's Facebook post below. On the hardest of days, I think about why I need to keep going. This sums it up better than I ever could. I hope it inspires you like it inspires me.

In thinking about immigration and all the abuses currently occurring; in thinking about child advocacy, and conversations around trauma, special education, foster care policy, and really any sort of advocacy ever--here are some things I've learned from the trenches, and from watching other people's fights:

Advocacy is:

  • Having conversations in public to publicize patterns occurring in private

  • Being shot down the first (few) time(s) you suggest a new idea or practice, and building that into your process

  • Gathering a little more information with each defeat or rejection about what you need to make your case compelling

  • Changing public perceptions slowly by talking out loud, in accessible ways, about an issue that people might not know about

  • Getting kicked in the teeth and eating dirt 9 times before you have a measurable success

  • Long, slow, and often discouraging or thankless work

But we persist:

  • Because those experiencing the problem may not know they are part of a bigger pattern, or might not know there is policy that should protect them, or may not have the knowledge or resources or safety to fight for themselves

  • Because the things that matter are worth fighting for

  • Because advocacy is never wasted, even when it looks like it

  • Because every time you ask for something that doesn't yet exist, it plants the seed that maybe it should

  • Because every defeat gives more information about motives and what evidence would be compelling for your next attempt

  • Because each time you talk about it publicly, you change the conversation around it, and shape public perception

  • Because staying silent is simply not an option

Your electricity bill is set to increase by $400 a year

A new report came out yesterday confirming what people all across Virginia already know: Dominion Energy has stacked the deck against consumers. And the General Assembly happily passed the laws (written by Dominion lobbyists) that now prevent us from getting a fair shake.

The State Corporation Commission (SCC) found that in 2018 Dominion Energy pocketed $277.3 million in overearnings — money collected from customers in excess of the monopoly’s allowed profit level — according to a report released today. Due to legislation backed by Dominion lobbyists in 2015 and 2018, the SCC cannot compel the monopoly utility to refund this money to customers or lower base rates to prevent overearnings in the future. The SCC’s report also found that household customers’ bills will increase by $32.60 a month in the next four years.

“Virginians are already overburdened by their energy bills and this report shows why — Dominion overcharged consumers in Virginia by $277.3 million last year and a whopping $1.3 billion since 2015. Given that one in ten evictions in Virginia are for delinquencies under $340, it is clear our energy bills play a part in this yet Dominion wants to increase its profit levels and our monthly bills even more,” Gilmore said. “This latest attempt to increase its rate of return is a greedy money grab by Dominion that has nothing to do with energy investments that would improve the lives of Virginians struggling to pay high energy bills.”

How does Dominion get away with this, year after year? One reason is clear: they donate millions of dollars to political campaigns. My opponent, for example, has taken more than $31,000 from Dominion Energy (and another $20,000+ from Appalachian Energy).

We deserve elected officials who will fight for our communities, not simply vote for laws that benefit corporations who write the biggest check.

Our campaign has publicly pledged not to take any contributions from publicly-regulated utilities like Dominion Energy and Appalachian Energy. That means we rely on individual people like you to help us raise the necessary fund for campaign essentials: like yard signs, postcards and postage, and a living wage for our small campaign staff.

We have until Saturday at midnight before our next filing deadline. Can you help us close out August with a bang by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50or $100?

Make Your Donation Now

I'll be out knocking doors in Franklin County all today and tomorrow, reaching rural voters at their doors in areas that have been ignored for far too long. Your support allows me to get out there, and I appreciate it.

With much gratitude,

PS -- Thank you to everyone who participated in our donation matching challenge last week. We raised just over $600 in three days, $500 of which will be doubled by a generous donor. Woot!

When I feel discouraged

Campaigning is tough--physically, mentally and emotionally. And this was a hard week.

The most recent campaign finance filings came out, and we were out-raised by our opponent. Yup, she raked in $17,572 in June, compared to our $13,642.

Now, it's frustrating to be out-raised. But what makes me fighting mad is that 100% of her money came from corporations and PACs. Not a single individual person made a contribution to her campaign fund.

Her donors are big corporations that throw money to long-serving incumbents--not because they support her policies or believe she is doing a good job--but because it greases the wheels of politics.

Don't get me wrong, we made a good showing. More than 90 people made an individual contribution to our campaign during the month of June, including 75 people who made small-dollar contributions of less than $100.

That's what politics is supposed to look like--campaigns powered by grassroots support, with real people chipping in to rally behind a candidate who will fight for them.

We have got to elect people who understand that big corporate money in politics is killing our democracy and drowning out the will of the people.

To change Virginia's campaign finance laws, we must first win this election. Will you be part of this fight by making a campaign contribution of $10, $20, $50or $100?

Make Your Donation Now

We have 16 weeks to go until the election. If each person on this mailing list donates $5/week, we could raise more than $96,000. That would be less than half of what our opponent has in the bank, but it would cover our two major expenses (paying our staff a living wage and printing/postage costs). Every little bit helps, and we are so appreciative of your generosity!

Thank you,

Individuals vs. Corporations - Who "Owns" a Politician

I was looking at the public fundraising numbers, and my opponent has raised more than $94,000 this year. But only 1% has come from individuals -- the rest has come from corporations and "other" sources. That's insurance companies, payday lenders, tobacco companies, and Dominion Energy sending thousands of dollars straight into her campaign coffers.

That's a striking contrast to this campaign, where 100% of our campaign funding has come from individuals, including more than $28,000 that we've raised from small dollar donors (those giving less than $100).

Our next fundraising deadline is midnight on Sunday -- less than three days away. Please consider supporting our campaign with a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100.

Make Your Donation Now

It seems like every politician says that "it's up to you" but in our case, it's really true. We are counting on you to help us win this election.

And when we do, I'll be directly accountable to you -- not a list of corporations.

Thank you!

Grassroots Support Wins Elections

Yesterday I talked with another Democratic candidate from a neighboring district. I love these conversations, because it gives me a chance to compare notes, share successes and commiserate on challenges.

Our talk turned to fundraising -- specifically, the incredible pressure on candidates to raise money every campaign finance reporting period (which vary from 1-3 months, depending on the time of year.)

The most recent reporting deadline was last night at 11:59pm. And we did great! We're still tallying up the numbers, which will be publicly reported next week, but we're very satisfied with our totals.

That said, the next reporting period begins today. Can you help me get off to a great start by making a contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100 this week?

Make Your Donation Now

The more we raise now, the more flexibility we have in getting our message out -- snail mail, email, billboards, social media commercials, postcards, radio spots, yard signs, oh my! All of it takes an investment of campaign staff time and money.

And here's the most important part: getting a head start in our fundraising now frees up more of my time to get out in the district, talking directly with voters. There is so much I want to hear from them -- and your contribution (of any size) helps me do just that. So THANK YOU!

With optimism,
Jennifer Woofter