Katie Sponsler, former House of Delegates candidate (VA-66th)
Having run for office in a district that overlaps with the 7th congressional district I have been asked by both Democratic candidates for a formal endorsement, despite not being a resident in that district. I have resisted formally endorsing as I carefully wished to parse my personal loyalties and bias from this decision and in a race that finds them split that is difficult. Both Abigail Spanberger and Dan Ward represent the best in American ideals and integrity, and I have shared my adult life in service to those ideals with them, and to endorse one is not to disparage the other. No matter how the 7th district votes in the primary, I genuinely feel you will be moving from having one of the worst legislators in America to having one of the best.
After attending multiple forums and having the opportunity to speak with both candidates privately on a few occasions I am formally endorsing Dan Ward in the Democratic Primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. My endorsement is based on personal issues of primacy, in that I believe Mr. Ward to have a stronger stance on the issues I care most about in labor and the environment. I have found Mr. Ward’s campaign as well as Dan himself to be more receptive to input which I believe will be important in winning the general election. In other words, he knows what he doesn’t know. When I pressed him regarding Women’s Health care at the VA and Military Sexual Assault and Trauma, he invited me to help write policy and educate him and his campaign on these issues. While my input might not win an election (notably I convincingly lost mine) the ability of a campaign to not only listen, but to internalize voter concerns and recognize a perspective is important to gaining voter trust.
Finally, an issue I do not like addressing, because it often betrays internalized sexism and classism, but as a working class individual that knows many independents, open-minded Republicans, and voters who do not often vote in mid-term elections (all demographics that a Democratic candidate in the 7th will need to win in the general) Dan speaks and presents himself in a way that is approachable and relatable to these demographics. I appreciate and deeply admire Ms. Spanberger’s careful, reasoned, and analytical approach to the issues and hope it finds its way into the way that all of us approach these issues, but Mr. Ward’s passion and conviction are palpable in his responses and that gets people excited, and we need to be excited.
My deepest respect and regards to both amazing candidates in the 7th district and I hope all of you will join me in supporting and working to elect whoever wins the primary, because both individuals are so very worthy of the title of Representative, and both are so much more than “better that Brat” they are dedicated servants and true patriots.
Al Durante, former House of Delegates candidate (VA-54th) and former Chair of the Spotsylvania County Democratic Committee
Dan Ward is running to address the issues facing all residents of the 7th Congressional District, from the populated urban centers to the rural expanses of the District. As a small business owner and resident of Orange County, Dan understands the issues faced by all residents of the District. As a combat veteran and retired Marine Corps Colonel Dan knows how to lead effectively in the face of the most difficult challenges. I am endorsing Dan Ward as the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 7th District because he is the progressive candidate who will fight for our future, and to protect the rights of all Virginians. Most importantly he is the candidate who can beat Dave Brat in November.
Henry Carter, former Chair of the 7th District Democratic Committee
I have been a resident of the 7th District of Virginia since 1973 when I moved to Orange. And have served as Chairman of the 7th District Democratic Committee and the Orange County Democratic Committee. Over these years I have seen good and weak candidates run for Congress on the Democratic ticket, getting between 31 and 42% of the vote. The only competitive race was in 1974 in the aftermath of Watergate when the Democratic candidate got 48% of the vote. Now in 2018 we have two strong candidates who have and can raise sufficient funds to get their message out. I am supporting one of these candidates: Dan Ward. Among his attributes is his service not only as a Marine Corps pilot, but his service in the State Department. In my opinion he has the talent and intelligence to represent all of the 7th District both rural and urban populations. His drive to succeed seems inexhaustible. If elected, he will lead the 7th District out of the forest of negative leadership so aptly shown by our present representative. The 7th District needs leadership that looks forward with courage, not backward with fear. Thus, I ask your support for Dan Ward on June 12th to move us forward.”
Annette Hyde, 2019 state Senate candidate (VA-24th)
As a candidate myself, I know how challenging it is to campaign as a Democrat in rural communities. Dan’s childhood roots in Madison County, his military experience and his strong commitment to stand up for what is right and help others lead better lives is why he is the best choice to represent the Democratic Party in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.
Fitzgerald Barnes, Louisa Board of Supervisors
I’ve been on the Louisa County Board of Supervisors for 20 years and I’ve never endorsed anybody. But there is a candidate running here in the 7th this year that so perfectly embodies the district that I feel compelled to break that streak. Dan Ward is the candidate that can beat Dave Brat. And I know he will represent us.
Diane Fraser, former candidate for the 7th Congressional District
I first encountered Dan at the Orange County Dems picnic in October, and realized I had met the best possible individual to not only defeat Dave Brat in November, but to represent the interests of ALL citizens of the 7th District. I believe he shares my passionate commitment to a broad range of issue, and is quite simply "the Real Deal."
Janelle Noble, former candidate for the 7th Congressional District
I am very proud to endorse Dan Ward to become the next Congressman from the VA 7th district. I have decided to support Dan because I believe that he is the candidate that will best represent all of the 7th district, and I believe he can win over the swing voters that we will need to attract in order to not only unseat David Brat, but hold on to the seat in 2020 and beyond. I believe that his background serving our country in the U.S. Marine Corps and the State Department, his strong support for unions, and his status in the farming community speak well for the blue collar workers throughout the district that are often overlooked, while his uncompromising support for core Democratic values will help ensure that our most basic rights are protected from ongoing attacks. I believe we have two very impressive candidates from which to choose, and I pledge to support whomever should win the nomination this June.
Frank J. Thornton, Chairman of the Henrico Board of Supervisors
I fervently endorsed Dan Ward for the Democratic nomination for Congress. Dan's experience, passion for the issues, and ability to connect with voters led to my decision to support him in the upcoming primary election.
Monica Wiley, Eastern Regional Chair of the Democratic National Committee Disability Council
It is my honor and privilege to endorse Dan Ward for the 7th Congressional District. I believe Mr. Ward would be the fierce leader and advocate in Congress that is needed to protect and advance the rights of people with disabilities.
Mr. Ward understands that people with disabilities should be included socially, economically and academically to achieve the American Dream. I'm confident that he would introduce inclusive legislation and add value to the overall quality of life for people with disabilities.
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