Hours before Democratic presidential hopefuls took to the debate stage in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, the campaign offices for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden opened in Alexandria.
Virginia is one of 15 states participating in the Super Tuesday primary on March 3, and the contest has the world wondering who will come out on top.
Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-31), a co-chair for Sanders’ campaign in Virginia, spoke at the packed opening of the new field office at 1314 King Street.
“I decided to run for office inspired by Sen. Sanders,” Guzman, the first Hispanic immigrant elected to the General Assembly, told the audience, which included Alexandria City Councilman Mo Seifeldein. “Within the last few days, I’ve been asked by many reporters about the electability of Bernie Sanders, and that’s the question of the hour.”
Guzman said that Sanders’s base has grown since 2016, and that the campaign is focusing on not only primary voters, but engaging with voters who have felt disenfranchised by the Democratic Party. The campaign is also opening a field office in Richmond and will have campus staging locations spread across every congressional district.
The Biden field office opened Wednesday at 2121 Eisenhower Ave, and featured Ambassador Cathy Russell, a vice chair for the campaign. Russell is the former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues and was Second Lady Jill Biden’s chief of staff during the Obama Administration.
The candidates have made mixed inroads into Virginia. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, plans on speaking in Northern Virginia on Sunday — his latest visit since speaking in Alexandria in June — although the location of the event has yet to be determined. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spoke in Richmond last weekend, his second trip since speaking in Alexandria in December. Bloomberg has also opened a campaign office in Arlington.
Neither Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who held a town hall event in Arlington last week, nor Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who spoke in Dale City in October, have scheduled events in Virginia leading up to Super Tuesday.
The Alexandria Democratic Committee plans to be out in full force at the polls on Super Tuesday to talk to voters and recruit volunteers, according to ADC Chair Clarence Tong.
“The ADC has been working to increase awareness and visibility of the Super Tuesday presidential primary, including holding our almost annual ADC Straw Poll on Sunday, March 1, at Lost Boy Cider,” Tong told ALXnow. “At that event, participants can hear from surrogates from each of the presidential campaigns.”
Clarence Tong was re-elected as chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee after a lengthy meeting on Monday, Jan. 6.
Tong, who said that the upcoming November presidential election is the most important in our lifetime, received 81.5% of 189 votes cast, and defeated Boyd Walker for his fourth consecutive two-year term.
“We have the opportunity to build on the progress we have achieved together,” Tong told a packed house in the auditorium of the T.C. Williams Minnie Howard campus. “Our most important task will be unifying Democrats later this year… to defeat Donald Trump.”
The chair race was the only contested election for the ADC, and Walker did not mince words in his disdain for President Trump. With the Virginia Democratic Primary on March 3, Walker said that selecting a nominee that can defeat the president in the general election is paramount.
“If we don’t defeat Trump we’re not doing what we need to do to save our planet, to save our democracy. We’re putting a corrupt and dangerous person back in office,” Walker said. “So, what are we going to do? We are going to work our butts off to defeat Trump.”
The ADC also appointed:
- VC Finance & Administration: Holly Wallace
- Secretary: Mary Lyman
- Treasurer: Elisabeth Campbell
- VC Precinct Operations West: Sissy Walker
- VC Precinct Operations East: Karen Witt
- VC Communications: Mike Moran
- VC Technology: Ricardo Alfaro
- VC Outreach Team: Abdel-Rahman Elnoubi, Daniel Mosier, Sharon Widmayer
- VC Resolutions: Robert Nelson
- Volunteer Coordinator: Steve Verdier
- Leadership Circle Chair: Janet Vasak