A small race in the DC suburbs leads to an upset for a Republican state-legislator and a win for Democrats last night.
Jacqueline Smith, a personal injury lawyer from Prince William County, won in last night’s local Circuit Court Clerk race against one of the most powerful Republicans in the state house, Majority Whip Jackson Miller. Rep. Miller had been favored to win due to his history at in Richmond (he’s been in in the House since 2008.)
Adding to a presumed GOP win, the seat was previously held by Republican Michele McQuigg who won in 2008. McQuigg died of cancer last year, ending her term early. She made headlines in 2014 by speaking in support of Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, but she reportedly “was gracious” and married same-sex couples after SCOTUS nixed the law.
Miller, a rep whose district includes Manassas and parts of Prince William County, lost by about 2000 votes (about 7 percent) in yesterday’s race.
But even more interesting is how little Smith spent on the race compared to her Republican counter part. According to the Prince William Times, Miller raised about $200,000 in campaign donations including about $175,000 in his own money. Meanwhile, Smith pulled in a measly $35,000, a little less than 6x less than her opponent.
Smith had help over the last week from state-wide officials like Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam who made calls for the candidate. Northam is up against Tom Perriello, who walked door to door for Smith, in the 2017 Virginia’s Democratic Gubernatorial Primary.
“Last night’s results… are further proof that grassroots energy within Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office can translate into electoral progress here in the Commonwealth and across the country,” said the Virginia Democratic Party in a statement sent out after the win was announced. “Jackie Smith’s victory is a referendum on Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Richmond — is a further testament to the rising tide of the resistance.”
D.J. Jordan, a member of the Prince William Republican committee, similarly pointed to Trump and outspoken Gubernatorial Candidate and Prince William Board of Supervisors leader Corey Stewart as helping Democrats put Smith in power.
“The Democrats are really, really energized,” he told the Prince William Times. “I think the people who were engaged in the presidential race are still energized, and that translated into a win for their side.”