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National Democrats aim at delegate districts

Progressives yesterday unveiled a nationwide thrust to reclaim majorities in state legislatures, and priority number one comes here in Northern Virginia.

As part of the political action committee Democracy for America's Purple to Blue Project, the Virginia House of Delegates 86th and 87th districts in Northern Virginia have been targeted as Democrat-heavy landscapes currently represented by Republicans in the statehouse. Democrats Barack Obama and Tim Kaine easily carried the two district lines in the 2012 general election.

During a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon, Purple to Blue organizers said their initiative will focus on three more “purple” districts in the commonwealth beyond the local seats.

Democracy for America (DFA) was founded by former Democratic National Committee Chairman and presidential candidate Howard Dean, who gave remarks during the Purple to Blue launch.

“Purple to Blue targeted races in 2013 will send a powerful message to Republicans across the country: If you wage war on women, working families, and the right to vote in the Statehouse, progressives will defeat you at the ballot box,” Dean said.

Jody Murphy, director of the Virginia House Caucus, piggy-backed on Dean's comments, saying his party has “an opportunity this cycle to make significant pickups and elect progressive Democrats in the Virginia House who will fight for Virginia's families.”

The two Northern Virginia districts were the first touted by DFA, which plans to spend $750,000 on the five 2013 races pinpointed in Virginia.

The 86th District is represented by Republican Tom Rust, whose held the seat since 2002. A former Herndon mayor, Rust ran unopposed in 2011 and defeated former Loudoun County Supervisor Stevens Miller by nearly 8 percent in 2009.

Two Democrats are vying for their party's nomination to challenge Rust – Jennifer Boysko and Herbert Kemp, both of Fairfax County.

Purple to Blue announced its endorsement of Boysko, the legislative aide to Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust. Boysko has also received the endorsement of local state Sen. Mark Herring (D-33rd).

Kemp retired from the military in 2001 with the rank of colonel and serves as the president and CEO of OneAlpha Corp., a consulting firm for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

For the 87th District, which includes western Prince William, Del. David Ramadan is currently serving his first term.

Ramadan, who won his seat by a mere 50 votes in 2011, is being challenged by John Bell, a retired member of the Air Force. Bell, a military finance officer who served tours in Southwest Asia during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, challenged Del. Bob Marshall in the House of Delegates’ 13th District in 2009.
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