Glen Sturtevant, the Vulnerable

By Brandon Jarvis

In a year where the Democrats have a chance to take the majority in the State Senate, Glen Sturtevant is in one of the most vulnerable seats as a Republican. His opponent, Ghazala Hashmi, has shown incredible momentum for a challenging candidate and has displayed the strongest Senate campaign from either party in the Richmond-area. Hashmi has out-raised fellow Democrat and has blanketed her district with volunteers and yard signs.

Sturtevant won by 2 points in 2015 in a district that was trending blue prior to Trump. After Trump’s 2016 win, the 10th district that Sturtevant represents voted clearly and consistently for Democrats. 53% for Clinton in 2016, 56% for Herring and Fairfax and 57% for Northam in 2017, and 61% for Tim Kaine in 2018.

Now Sturtevant is sending out mail to voters in the 10th claiming that he supports red-flag laws when his actions on the Senate floor do not reflect that view at all.

Clearly feeling the pressure, Sturtevant made an interesting move on the first day of school by joining the school redistricting debate currently happening in Richmond City.

A former Richmond School Board member himself, Sturtevant came out in support on Tuesday of keeping the same district lines for two predominately-white schools, Mary Munford and Fox Elementary. The Richmond Times Dispatch reported: “State Sen. Glen Sturtevant, R-Chesterfield, said Tuesday that he’ll push to “save” two high-performing, majority-white Richmond elementary schools that might be merged with majority-black schools.”

The proposals being put forth by members of the current Richmond School Board would redistrict the two schools to help make racial demographics in schools across the city more equitable.

The Times Dispatch reported that Sturtevant circulated a petition titled “Save our Schools” and vowed to introduce legislation that would “require school boards across Virginia to hold a new election or a voter referendum before redrawing school attendance zones to allow the public to render a verdict before changes are made.”

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney called the move an “election year gimmick”.

Several political pundits across the state have listed this race as either “leaning-Democrat” or a “toss-up”, but the energy among volunteers on the ground and among Hashmi’s supporters cannot be overlooked. This race has been a target for local activists and volunteers since 2016 when it was clear that voters reject the current Republican party and it’s leaders after Hillary won the district by 12 points. With Sturtevant making moves that seem to be out of his comfort zone historically, it is clear that he is aware of the threat to his job.