Josh Stanfield, executive director of the liberal group Activate Virginia, came in far behind with 31 votes. Stanfield served as campaign manager last year for Del. Lee J. Carter (D-Manassas), a self-proclaimed socialist who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Fairfax County Democratic Committee member Jim McBride was in third place with 24 votes.
Two other candidates dropped out of the race before Saturday.
“I am extremely grateful to the Virginia Democrats for trusting me to continue to lead the party as we move forward,” Swecker said in a written statement. “We have made so much progress as a Party and as a Commonwealth over the past seven years, and now is the time to protect and build on that progress.”
Under Swecker, the party grew from four full-time employees and an annual operating budget of less than $1 million to a fully unionized staff of 15 full-time employees and a budget of over $3 million. dollars. For much of her tenure, particularly when President Donald Trump was in the White House, Virginia seemed to fade from purple to blue.
For two years, Democrats wielded control of the state House, Senate and governorship for the first time in a generation, allowing them to embrace a host of long-sought liberal priorities — including tightening restrictions on firearms, their relaxation on abortion and voting, the abolition of the death penalty, the legalization of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use and the revision of criminal laws.
But with Trump out of the White House, Republicans made a comeback in November, as now governor. Glenn Youngkin led a statewide three-office Republican sweep and helped the GOP overthrow control of the House of Delegates. Some of Swecker’s challengers were upset by these losses, but she managed to present herself as someone with the experience to lead the opposition to Youngkin.