Earlier today, the Kai Degner campaign held a gathering in downtown Staunton, Virginia. Mr. Degner, a member of the Harrisonburg City Council, began his campaign about two weeks ago after the unexpected departure of Tom Howarth, the previous Democratic Party nominee. The event, held in a local coffee shop, attracted about fifteen or so individuals, most of whom came from either Staunton, Waynesboro, or Augusta County. The meeting also included one full-time staffer for the Degner campaign and a regional employee of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
During the meeting, Degner outlined his three major policy goals: criminal justice reform, sustainable energy policy and climate change, and various election improvements including campaign finance reform and tackling gerrymandering. In an unusual twist, he asked of the attendees to introduce themselves as well and explain what motivated each to take an interest in this race.
One goal of the Degner campaign is not simply to activate the traditional Democratic base, but also reach out to conservatives and libertarians who have either voted for his opponent in the past, or have not been involved. As he pointed out, the 6th is a very Republican district. For example, in recent elections, when Democrat Sam Rasoul ran in 2008, he captured 37% of the vote and Andy Schmookler won 35% in 2012. With this thought in mind, Degner hopes to draw additional interest in what has been to this point a fairly noncompetitive, safe Republican seat. He will face Republican Bob Goodlatte, the 23-year incumbent in the fall election.
The campaign had another another event later in the day in Harrisonburg.
You can learn more about Kai Degner and his campaign at KaiForCongress.com.