A California PAC hoping to help elect female progressive candidates in Virginia is launching an ad tying state Sens. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, and Glen Sturtevant, R-Chesterfield, to an embattled member of their caucus — Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield.
The ad from the Sacramento-based organization Fund Her will be online and on TV in the Richmond market, said founder Valerie McGinty, who said she expects the ad’s budget to extend into six figures.
Sturtevant and Dunnavant are in crucial re-election bids as Democrats try to flip the GOP’s narrow control of the state Senate. The GOP now holds 20 seats and Democrats have 19, with one seat vacant. Chase is running for re-election in what on paper is a more conservative and favorable district to her, but conflicts of her own making — which led to her being booted out of the Chesterfield GOP — have brought questions on whether her race is more competitive than it previously looked.
Sturtevant faces Democrat Ghazala Hashmi of Chesterfield, Dunnavant faces Del. Debra Rodman, D-Henrico, and Chase faces Democrat Amanda Pohl of Chesterfield. All three Republicans are in their first term.
The ad focuses on guns and health care, and uses photos of Chase, Dunnavant and Sturtevant imposed on animated bodies. It begins with Chase running on a track as a narrator says she’s “pushing the bounds of extremism.”
The Dunnavant and Sturtevant figures then catch up to Chase.
“Senators Dunnavant and Sturtevant — they’re just trying to keep up, chasing Chase on guns, refusing to allow a vote on common sense background checks,” the narrator says, as Chase begins shooting a gun to knock down hurdles on the track.
“They all vote the same because they’re chasing Chase.”
Chase began wearing a handgun on her hip earlier this year during the General Assembly session, saying she had concerns about her security. Democrats in the Richmond-area races and other parts of the state have criticized Republicans who voted to adjourn Gov. Ralph Northam’s July 9 special session on guns without considering any legislation.
Republicans, however, have said the governor was pulling a stunt designed for the Nov. 5 election, and say the decision to refer the bills to study at the Virginia State Crime Commission will allow the General Assembly to make good choices on legislation that’s been vetted by experts.
McGinty said she started Fund Her in 2017 to help in state legislative races in California and wants to focus on helping progressive women in state-level races who can seek higher office in the future. The PAC has donated $9,800 to five female Democratic candidates in Virginia this year, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.