As readers will recall, control of the Virginia Assembly is on the line this November. Both chambers are pretty closely divided, with the state Senate 22 D, 18 R, and the House of Delegates 51 R, 46 D and 3 vacancies (which were occupied by Democrats before becoming vacant). If the Democrats hold at least one chamber, then Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) will have great difficulty implementing his agenda. If the Republicans take both, then Youngkin will have a glide path to reinventing Virginia as he sees fit, and possibly to a presidential bid in 2028 (or 2024). So, politics-watchers are keeping a close eye on things, and every seat matters.
One of the swingiest seats is SD-57, which is in the suburbs of Richmond. In 2021, the district voted for Youngkin by 3 points, but in the 2022 midterms, it voted for Democratic House candidates by 1 point. So, it can go either way. Running for the Republicans is businessman David Owen, while the Democrat in the race is nurse practitioner Susanna Gibson. And yesterday, The Washington Post broke the news that Gibson and her husband have performed live sex acts (together) on the adult site Chaturbate.
As you can see from the headline, the first question that occurred to us is "Who's the bad guy here?" Let's run down the contenders:
Undoubtedly, the people who run the Virginia Democratic Party would prefer not to have a candidate with this particular liability. It's still the South, after all. However, the primaries are over, Gibson is the nominee, and she has made clear that she's not stepping aside. "They are trying to silence me because they want to silence you, and I won't let that happen," she said in a statement. "My opponent and his allies know that the people of this district are on our side on the issues, so they're stooping to the worst gutter politics. There's too much at stake in this election and I'll never stop fighting for our community." She could have noted that the best-known slogan about Virginia is: "Virginia is for Lovers," but she didn't.
It will be interesting to see how the voting turns out. Maybe Gibson will be crushed, as swingy voters decide that she's damaged goods. On the other hand, it's entirely possible that younger and/or women voters will be impressed by her sex-positive views and her unflinchingly taking ownership of the videos. Visits to the site will probably soar, but we don't know if they publish statistics. (Z)