WASHINGTON — Recent mailers sent out by the Republican Party of Virginia in support of Republican candidates depicted their Black opponents, Delegates Joshua Cole (HD-28) and Alex Askew (HD-85), as tightly bound around the waist and hanging off the ground by ropes. Instead of condemning this blatantly racist imagery that evokes harmful stereotypes, some Republican candidates are staying silent and refusing to denounce the mailers while the Republican Party of Virginia doubles down on their dog whistle tactics.
“Both Askew and Cole called on their opponents to denounce the mailers.News4 reached out to Cole’s opponent, Tara Durant, by phone and email but did not receive a reply.
The Republican Party of Virginia responded with a statement saying in part that Askew’s and Cole’s “extreme liberal records have been such a failure that they know the only path to victory is trying to trick Virginians into thinking it’s racist for anyone to hold any candidate accountable.”
A GOP spokesman added that there is also rope around two of the female candidates’ waists.
“Republican candidates need to make it clear that campaigns tactics that rely on bigoted, racist tropes are unacceptable,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “They are perpetuating and benefitting from white supremacy by tolerating these racist and anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes in a pathetic attempt to turn out voters. Republicans in Virginia and those funding them must condemn the utilization of racist and anti-Semitic tactics and stop these mailers. Politics should never be about sinking to the lowest common denominator, which is why Democrats will not resort to these vile, racist, and discriminatory tactics. Instead, Democrats are focused on lifting up all communities by lowering health care costs, creating good-paying jobs, and leveling the playing field by making it easier for working families to afford child care, community college, and their utility bills.”
Let’s be clear: the Virginia GOP’s open acceptance of violence and discrimination has opened the door for threats against sitting lawmakers. Last week it was reported that Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn was the target of a violent plot, marking the latest threat against a woman lawmaker in the country. The Virginia Republican caucus also had the most sitting legislators participate in the January 6th insurrection.