by Brandon Jarvis

A new PAC has been established with the stated goal of supporting General Assembly candidates who “stand up to corporate corruption and fight for racial, environmental, and economic justice.” Commonwealth Forward says they will be supporting House primary challengers Pamela Montgomery (HD-02) and Nadarius Clark (HD-09), as well as helping Del. Elizabeth Guzman (HD-31) defend her seat against a primary challenger.  

“Commonwealth Forward will work to level the playing field, put people ahead of corporations, and give a fighting chance to candidates who have been systemically marginalized or excluded from the democratic process,” said Kiera Hall, Commonwealth Forward’s executive director. 

Commonwealth Forward has received $25,000 from the Clean Virginia Fund, which is funded by Democratic mega-donor Michael Bills. The Green Advocacy Project also contributed $25,000 and Leonard Bennett donated $10,000. Sources associated with the PAC say that they have also received over 100 grassroots donations, but those won’t be reported until the next campaign filing deadline.

Guzman, Clark and Montgomery are just the first round of endorsements according to the executive director. “We felt for our first round of endorsements these three candidates really embodied what it means to be reform champions and anti-corruption,” Hall said.

Guzman is facing a tough primary challenge from Rod Hall in Prince William County. Guzman was one of the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination to run for lieutenant governor before she dropped out of the race to focus on her House primary. Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn and other House Democratic leaders have endorsed Guzman, but Hall has also racked up big endorsements from members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

Montgomery is primarying Del. Candi King, the freshman Democrat that filled Jennifer Carroll Foy’s vacant seat in January of this year. King and Montgomery faced off in the December nomination process, with King winning the drive-thru caucus handily.

Clark is primarying Del. Steve Heretick, one of the most conservative Democrats in the House — known for opposing the removal of confederate monuments in Virginia and pushing back against his party publicly in 2018 by voting against their redistricting bill and supporting the Republican version instead.

Additionally, one of the PAC’s goals moving forward will be to provide an additional resource for future candidates to prepare for a potential run — outside of the party establishment system. “Our mission is to provide resources and support to candidates who are often excluded from the traditional institutions that would recruit and support candidates,” Hall said. Part of that process will include leadership training, cutting-edge digital and direct voter contact programs and direct financial support. 

The primary election for each of these races takes place on June 8, a day that Democratic voters across the commonwealth head to the polls to choose a nominee for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and any House districts that have more than one candidate seeking the nomination.


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