Let’s say you’re independently wealthy, well-regarded by most constituents (even from the opposition party) and occupy a district so reliably Democratic that the only way an incumbent could possibly lose the seat is via a scandal of the likes once colorfully described by raconteur and then-Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.
(This is a family newspaper, so you can look that up on your own.)
Let’s say all those factors were in play. What would you be doing? If you were U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), you’d still be asking supporters to send you money.
“I am reaching out to you today to ask you to help make sure we can defend every single seat and our House majority,” Beyer said in a Nov. 8 e-mail seeking cash from supporters.
(Such a political effort used to be called “dialing for dollars,” but in this Internet world perhaps “keyboarding for cash” would be an appropriate update.)
“I am falling short,” Beyer said of fund-raising efforts. “Please, will you donate $5 or more to help reach this goal, protect this seat and keep the House blue?”
“Protect this seat”? One can imagine many political scenarios playing out next fall, but Democrats losing the 8th District is not one of them.
But cash sent to Beyer can, by various legal means, be funneled to candidates more imperiled than he, and, the legislator said, can help protect his party’s wafer-thin majority in the lower house of Congress.
“Election Day 2022 is exactly one year from today,” he said. “So much hinges on Democrats defending our House majority, from the future of our planet to our progress on critical issues like voting rights, gun safety and economic justice.”
Beyer was first elected in 2014, succeeding veteran U.S. Rep. Jim Moran. Before that, he served as Virginia’s lieutenant governor for eight years and was ambassador to Switzerland – and Liechtenstein, never forget Liechtenstein! – in the Obama administration.
The 8th District includes all of Arlington County and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, plus portions of Fairfax County. And while its boundaries are sure to change owing to redistricting before the 2022 election, it’s almost guaranteed to remain the Democratic fortress it has been since the 1990s.
Nationally, Republicans have hopes of picking up three Virginia seats currently held by Democrats, including the neighboring 10th District of Jennifer Wexton. But spending resources trying to knock off Beyer isn’t even on the party’s radar screen. If a Republican challenger emerges, he or she will be on his or her own.