He’ll be facing his first general-election opposition in six years, but Del. Patrick Hope also is focused on doing his part helping Virginia Democrats keep their statewide majority intact.
“This is the most important election in your life,” Hope said, acknowledging after chuckles from the audience that’s what politicians say every year, during a June 27 ice-cream social that served as an informal campaign kickoff.
“Turnout, turnout, turnout is going to be the key difference” in November, Hope predicted, as Democrats aim to retain the three statewide offices they currently hold while hanging on to their slim majority in the House of Delegates. He urged those in attendance to “do anything it takes to get Democrats out to vote.”
Democrats have now held the House of Delegates for four years after two decades of Republican control. “We want to build on that progress and not roll back,” Hope said at the event, held in a pavilion at Lubber Run Park.
The gathering drew Hope supporters and other political junkies whose electioneering has been more of the online than in-person variety during the pandemic. Those there seemed happy to be out in the sunshine and mingling with like-minded residents. Among the elected officials joining Hope at his kickoff were Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Clerk of the Circuit Court Paul Ferguson and County Board member Takis Karantonis.
Hope will face Republican Laura Hall in November, as the GOP has fielded candidates in each of the four House of Delegates seats that include portions of Arlington. Hope’s 47th District is centered largely in the middle of the county.
Hope, an attorney, in 2009 won the Democratic primary and a three-way general election to slip into the seat previously held by Albert Eisenberg, who retired. He was re-elected successively in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, running either unopposed or with largely token opposition in a district where Democrats have a large built-in advantage.
Last summer, political operative Matt Rogers announced plans to challenge Hope for the Democratic nomination in the 47th, but the effort sputtered and Rogers failed to qualify for the June 2021 primary ballot.
Of the four members of the House of Delegates who represent Arlington, Hope is the only one whose district is located entirely within the county’s borders. The districts of Dels. Alfonso Lopez, Rip Sullivan and Mark Levine are split among several adjacent localities.
Like Hope, Lopez and Sullivan will be asking voters for new terms in November; Levine was defeated in the Democratic primary by Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, who will face Republican J.D. Maddox in the fall.
With enough seniority to now be a committee chair (Public Safety), Hope seems to have settled in for the long haul in the lower house of the legislature. But when Jim Moran opted to retire in 2014, he ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. House of Representatives in the 8th District, finishing second to Don Beyer in a crowded field.