Sunday, June 09, 2019

Turns Out Not All Bigots Are Republicans-- Virginia Democrats Have Laura Sellers


In two days, this Tuesday, Virginia has a super-important election day-- primaries for the state legislature, with both houses on the verge of flipping blue. Some good news: Virginia has same day registration so potentially everyone over 18 can vote. Two years ago Democrats flipped 15 Republican-held seats blue in the House of Delegates, far more than the somewhat backward state party imagined was possible. The Republican majority is down to 51-49. The Republican majority in the state Senate is also tenuous-- 21-19. The Democrats control the governors' mansion and if they flip a seat in each chamber they will have effective control over the redrawing of the state and congressional boundaries after the 2020 census. All 100 delegates seats and all 40 Senate seats are up for grabs on Tuesday. Blue America has endorsed two extraordinary candidates for the House of Delegates and two for the Senate: Lee Carter and Elizabeth Guzmán for the lower house and Herb Jones and Qasim Rashid for the upper chamber.

Yesterday I heard some troubling news from a friend and colleague, Lizet Ocampo, political director of People for the American Way. PFAW has also endorsed Qasim Rashid, and Liz warned that there's a racist pig in the Democrat in the primary. It didn't take much googling to realize she's talking about Laura Sellers, an Islamophobe running around the district smearing Qasim. This is a tough seat for a Democrat to win-- parts of Stafford, Prince William, King George, Spotsylvania and Westmoreland counties-- but having an overt bigot running as a Democrat makes it that much harder. The entrenched incumbent, Richard Stuart, must be reveling in the bigotry and hatred Sellers, desperate and losing badly, is spreading about Qasim.

Lizet wrote:
One of PFAW’s exceptional endorsed progressive candidates in Virginia-- Qasim Rashid, whom we’re supporting with our Next Up Victory Fund-- is the target of some extremely bigoted attacks... and they’re not coming from the Right Wing, they’re coming from his Democratic primary opponent.

Qasim’s Democratic opponent in the primary election for state Senate taking place THIS TUESDAY, Laura Sellers, is engaged in an Islamophobic smear campaign against Qasim. Sellers has allegedly asserted that Qasim’s being Muslim makes him unelectable, and has accused him of supporting “Sharia law” and female genital mutilation.

These hateful attacks are shocking and despicable, but thankfully a progressive backlash is building. We and a growing wave of progressives-- including many other local Democrats-- are speaking out against these attacks and rallying to support Qasim.

Vangie Williams, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 1st District wrote:

Hate. Lies. Rumors. Smear tactics. Racism. Islamophobia. None of these things should ever be a part of a political campaign. Sadly, in the 28th Senate District Democratic Primary, these are all things which are being used by Qasim Rashid’s opponent in a desperate attempt to win an election. This kind of campaign is unbecoming of anyone calling themselves a Democrat and it is patently un-American.

These shameful and abhorrent tactics must stop now.

Stafford County Democratic Executive Committee Member Bill Johnson-Miles said:

I usually try my very best to stay neutral when two local Democratic candidates are competing for the Democratic nomination in an upcoming primary election or caucus. However, sometimes you just have to take a stand.
Goal ThermometerJess Foster is running for delegate and she announced on her own Facebook page that she has been sickened by Sellers' vicious, ugly attacks on Qasim: "I have learned over the past several weeks that Laura Sellers, Democratic Candidate for Senate 28, has launched an attack campaign against her primary opponent, Qasim Rashid. It is alleged that she has made derogatory statements about his islamic faith, his electability, and accused him of supporting 'Sharia law' and female genital mutilation in an attempt to smear his good name. This is not the way Democrats treat people regardless of race, background, or religion. Denigrating another for political gain is harmful to our party, to our community, and, in this instance, to Qasim and his family. This conduct is unacceptable and I feel compelled to take a stand against it. Qasim is a good man who cares deeply about the community and shares our most cherished values. We would do well to have him in the Virginia Senate. Bringing down another to elevate oneself is poor leadership. Even worse, this particular behavior is islamophobic-- or at very least-- intended to stimulate the unconscious bias and generate fear. Because of that, I call upon Laura to acknowledge her wrongdoing and publicly apologize to Qasim. I further call upon her to withdraw from the Senate race; we cannot tolerate people who engage in this sort of behavior representing us in Richmond."

Amen! Please consider contributing to Qasim Rashid's campaign by clicking on the Blue America legislative thermometer above.

UPDATE: Laura Sellers Expelled From Democratic Party

She should go join the GOP. That kind of bigotry is admired over there. Today the Stafford County Democratic Committee Membership Subcommittee "invited representatives from both Democratic Senate campaigns, as well as the complainants and witnesses, to attend a confidential hearing on June 3rd for the purpose of resolving these issues in a professional manner. Representatives from the Sellers Campaign did not attend. The complainants and witnesses submitted sworn statements and provided first-hand testimony before the Membership Subcommittee outlining a sustained misinformation campaign by members of the Sellers Campaign to discredit Qasim Rashid in the hopes of advantaging Laura Sellers. This misinformation campaign allegedly included lying to voters about whether Mr. Rashid had qualified for the ballot, making false or misleading statements about his immigration status, and using racist dog whistles to fuel Islamophobia. Based on the sworn statements and testimony provided at that hearing, the Membership Subcommittee recommended that the Stafford County Democratic Committee expel two members of the Sellers Campaign and reject the membership application of third member. Earlier today, the Stafford County Democratic Committee overwhelmingly voted to accept the Membership Subcommittee’s recommendation. We do not condone any candidate for office using racist dog whistles to fuel Islamophobia or spreading false information to voters about an opponent. These tactics are straight from the Trump playbook. They have absolutely no place in a Democratic Primary."

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At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So! Embarrass the Party and get expelled? I can think of several senior House "Democrats" who could use some exposure.

At 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

they expelled her? why not biden? his bigotry goes back half a century.


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