State Senator Dick Black, who met with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in 2016 and has been a monstrous enemy of women and LGBTQ people, has announced that he is retiring from the Virginia State Senate at the end of his term.
It’s hard to overemphasize how awful Black, who represents Virginia’s 13th State Senate district, has been while in office. He backs dictators, is an unhinged conspiracy theorist, rampantly homophobic, and viciously anti-choice. (For his greatest hits, check out Blue Virginia’s post from last summer.) The fact that he’s leaving is in and of itself great news, even before you get to the political opportunity offered by his exit.
Black’s district has backed Democrats for state and national office of late, with Tim Kaine beating Black’s fellow alt-right bigot Corey Stewart by 19% and Ralph Northam winning the governor’s race by 11% there. Some argue that he’s a better target than a boring, moderate Republican, but he won his race in 2015 after saying some pretty awful stuff, so this time around, Democrats won’t have to worry about whatever blinding spell he cast over his constituents.
Democrats need to flip just one seat to create a tie the State Senate, and this was already one of their biggest targets for this fall’s election. Now, there’s an even bigger bullseye on the 13th district, which given the media market it’s in, should get pretty expensive.
Democrats have a number of candidates already. There’s a good chance that Delegate David Reid, who was elected in 2017, will run, which we should encourage him to do. There’s a New York Times profile on his campaign that’s worth reading, and makes clear that he has the right priorities and sense to run a great State Senate race in 2019.
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