The Liberal Women of Chesterfield County is an example of a new breed of Democratic activism in the Richmond suburbs. The group, which says it has admitted nearly 3,000 followers to its private Facebook page, has established 13 neighborhood chapters and canvassed more than 50,000 homes in a get-out-the-vote effort. On Election Day, the group worked with the local Democratic committee to staff all 75 of the county’s polling places, something that the local party on its own had previously been unable to accomplish.
Besides championing Northam and the statewide ticket, they pushed local residents running for the first time, including the first openly gay woman elected to the House of Delegates ; a mental health administrator who came within 128 votes of defeating a Republican House of Delegates incumbent; and a British-born accountant who ran her first race and is Chesterfield’s newly elected commissioner of revenue.
“I wouldn’t have done this every day for the past year if I hadn’t gotten so angry about Trump,” said Wright, 46, a mother of three who observed politics from the sidelines before last year’s presidential election. “Once you wake up and see how important local elections are, it’s hard to go back to the shadows and stick your head in the sand. Now we have our eye on everybody, from dogcatcher on up.”