Leahy: Virginia Democrats Choose Pragmatism

In the end, pragmatism carried the day for Virginia Democrats. You can see it in the statewide ticket they nominated Tuesday and in some of pruning they did among House incumbents.

Former governor Terry McAuliffe won his bid to be the Democrats’ nominee for governor, beating state Sen. Jennifer L. McClellan and former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy, among others. He will take on Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin in November’s general election.

In their reporting on the election returns, The Post’s Gregory Schneider, Laura Vozzella, and Antonio Olivo captured the new reality for Virginia Democrats. They wrote: “In McLean, Sophia Lynn said she liked both Carroll Foy and McClellan — whom she described as ‘highly motivated and talented.’ But she ultimately threw her support behind McAuliffe to take on Youngkin, echoing anxieties that other Democratic voters have expressed about keeping Virginia blue. ‘This is a pragmatic decision,’ said Lynn, 60. ‘In the post-Trump era, we Democrats have to make pragmatic decisions.’ ”

“Pragmatic decisions.” Not swinging for the fences but backing candidates — save for ticket newcomer Del. Hala Ayala (Prince William) — who’ve already shown they can win statewide. Or, in Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s case, win twice.

Pragmatism is an entirely logical and defensible political strategy. It’s particularly so when Democrats have so much on the line this year — not just the state’s top three offices but control of the House of Delegates, too.

They may have helped themselves in the House, ousting two incumbents who also ran for statewide office — Lee J. Carter (Manassas) and Mark Levine (Alexandria) — as well as the outspoken Ibraheem S. Samirah (Fairfax). Jettisoning these three was a sure sign of pragmatism, a preference for candidates who are unquestionably liberal but less abrasive.

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