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WASHINGTON — Tom Perriello, who lost to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, is now the CEO of a political action committee aiming to help Democrats put a dent in Republican control of Virginia’s House of Delegates this fall.
Win Virginia PAC hopes to capitalize on the strong opposition from many Democrats to President Donald Trump to help bring out more Democratic voters in November’s general election. Typically, turnout in Virginia is around 40 percent in a year like this, with a governor’s race on the ballot, as compared with more than 70 percent in a general election in a presidential year.
“There are more than enough Virginia voters to tip the House of Delegates to the Democrats, even with a system that’s been rigged through this radical gerrymandering,” Perriello said in an interview.
Political analysts question that math, but there are some seats where Democrats feel like they have a real opportunity — including 17 GOP-held districts where Hillary Clinton won more votes than Trump did.
Perriello at least hopes to “help put the House of Delegates in play,” while also developing “creative tactics that can help lower financed campaigns to compete and reach more voters.”
That includes an increased focus on technology and social media platforms.
“We’re going to have lots of opportunities to engage voters in Virginia who normally show up in presidential years and then will disappear after that, and really, frankly, if the Democrats can be effective in engaging the coalition that already exists in state elections, despite all of the noise being about federal elections, it should be a very good year for Democrats,” Perriello said.
The PAC’s funding — anticipated to be around $1 million — is coming from “traditional Democratic supporters,” Perriello said.
Similar PACs have been set up by Virginia Democrats in past years.
Perriello, a former one-term Congressman, declined to say what he plans to do after November’s election.
“That is a very long way away,” he said.