On Tuesday, Virginians experienced two very different primaries with Democratic turnout blowing Republican turnout out of the water. Of the 909,320 voters who cast ballots yesterday, 543,046 were Democratic and 366,274 were Republican.
This year’s Democratic primary drew near 4-times the number of voters than their 2013 primary which drew only 144,435. In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, it’s clear that Virginia Democrats are motivated, energized, and ready to settle the score. On the other hand, yesterday was a wake-up call for Virginia Republicans. Turnout was low, and Ed Gillespie’s margin of victory was far too close for comfort. When Corey Stewart’s candidacy proves viable, you’ve got a major problem. Over the next few months, Republicans must be willing to work hard to energize and broaden their voter base in order to carry Gillespie to the Governor’s Mansion.
Brewer Sets the Bar
There are many lessons to draw from June 13th, but perhaps one of the biggest is from the campaign in the 64th House District after disgraced Delegate Rick Morris (R) decided against seeking re-election. On Tuesday, Millennial Emily Brewer won a decisive victorover her Baby Boomer opponent, Rex Alphin. Despite being backed by both Morris and Delegate Barry Knight (R) and outspending Brewer by $16,000, Alphin was defeated soundly by Brewer.
|Brewer, Emily (R) *Winner||$41,858||4,414||60.94%|
|Alphin, Rex (R)||$58,205||2,829||39.06%|
Not only did Brewer win with an impressive 60-40 margin, she won all seven single localities in the district. And out of the seven Republican Primary House races, Brewer garnered more votes (4,414) than any other Republican primary candidate in Tuesday’s seven HOD primary contests.
The GOP of Decades Past
The current Chairman of the Isle of Wright Board of Supervisors and third-generation farmer, Rex Alphin, is the epitome of a Republican candidate. His campaign platform was nothing more than a broken record, highlighting pro-life and pro-gun stances, calling for unleashing the economy, and opposing tax hikes. To be clear, I’m not saying these stances are wrong, I’m saying they’re bland. The only thing that Alphin’s candidacy offered the party was more of the same. Republicans gain absolutely nothing from sending clones of ourselves to the General Assembly. As the party that supports free-market Capitalism, Republicans should be promoting innovative ideas, the diversity of thought, and fresh new perspectives. But more often than not, Republicans choose to hinder innovation rather than promote it.
Our party cannot afford to continue trudging backwards, reverting back to the same ole formula of Republicans-past. The Democrats are energized more than ever before, not only preparing to sweep the statewide races again, but to flip the balance of power in the General Assembly as well.
Changing the Narrative
Emily Brewer’s candidacy is exactly what Republicans need more of. Like so many fellow Republicans, Brewer is a local small-business owner, NRA and VCDL member, and a pro-life advocate. She’s as principled as Republicans come, but she’s also so much more…
In her rural hometown of Suffolk, Brewer owns and operates Uncork’d, a wine and craft beer shop, as well as a marketing and social media firm. On the campaign trail, Brewer has stressed the importance of creating economic developing in Virginia’s rural communities so that young people are not forced to leave home to find jobs. Brewer believes that through educating local businesses on innovative marketing techniques, local businesses can create jobs and career opportunities in their communities. This perspective should come at no surprise given that Millennials (particularly ones who run their won marketing and social media firm) are well-versed in new media and its ever-growing significance in business marketing.
While many college graduates struggle to find good-paying jobs in their fields of study while drowning thousands of dollars in student loan debt, vocational degrees provide pathways to high-paying careers without the high cost of a college degree. As a member of the Paul D. Camp Community College Foundation Board, Brewer understands the importance of increasing career opportunities to students by by bringing additional vocational, technical, and trade programs to our K-12 schools.
As a member of the NRA and VCDL, Brewer is undoubtedly “pro-gun”. While she is a diehard supporter of our right to bear arms, Emily’s pro-gun stance also brings an additional dynamic to the pro-gun movement. As a strong advocate for victims of domestic abuse, she is a former board member for the Genieve Shelter that houses victims of domestic abuse, Brewer plans to introduce legislation that would allow victims with current protective orders to carry a concealed handgun.
Brewer is also passionate about adoption and foster care reform, an issue that is all too often neglected by candidates on the campaign trail. Having been adopted as an infant herself, Brewer is unapologetically pro-life. But Brewer’s “pro-life” stance is not limited to upholding the sanctity of life alone, but expands into addressing the stringent regulations that make it more difficult for loving families to adopt in their own communities than it is for them to adopt on the other side of the world.
The Next Generation of Republicans
Emily Brewer’s candidacy changed and strengthened the Republican narrative… and it worked! By bringing new energy, innovative ideas, and a fresh perspective to the campaign, Brewer was able to defy the stale party norm and defeat a candidate that embodies the Republican stereotype. And numbers don’t lie. When a first-time, Millennial candidate manages to yield a significantly higher voter turnout than every other HOD primary candidate in the state, you’d be wise to pay attention.
Emily Brewer is clearly doing something right.