Hoping all had a great Holiday!! It was a well-deserved break for the AVV team. Thanks go to all those who played a role both large and small in the work we accomplished. And on behalf of AVV, I certainly wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. As for the work ahead in the 2024 election year, planning begins with the realization of startling opportunities ahead.
Virginia is THE SWING STATE in the 2024 race. The balance of power in the Senate and the House along with the outcome of the Presidential race can all swing on turn out in Virginia! How so? Virginia can add a Senate seat to a growing list of likely Senate wins (Tester + Manchin + Brown +??). We can add two house seats in now vacant seats (7CD and 10CD) while returning Congresswoman Kiggans again to represent the 2nd CD. The hotly contested Presidential race promises to drive turn out for all races up and down the ballot. This is good for Republican candidates. When you add in new districts in red states and fewer districts in blue states, chances are very good for positive election outcomes – if we can keep our heads up, work hard, stay focused and remain confident. It can be a GREAT year.
Thankfully, AVV now has four years of experience using data and networks to turn out votes in tight elections where the Veteran vote can make the difference between winning and losing. How so? We know of over 400k active Republican Veteran voters in Virginia who turn out to vote at an average 55% rate. And the VA estimates over 700k Veterans, all potential voters, live in Virginia. The math is simple – target the 300k non-voting or non-registered Veterans and convince more to register and vote for our endorsed candidates. And, of the 400K Republican Veteran voters, push to raise their voting rate. Easy math – raise the Republican Veteran voting rate by 10% (40,000 more votes) and find and register 10% of non-voting Veterans who are convinced to register and vote for AVV endorsed candidates (30,000 more votes) and AVV can help add 70K or more votes targeted at key races.
Easy math, but hard work. That’s where preparation and planning come into play for the AVV team. Our AVV leaders meet on 20 January to assess the election year that was and set our priorities and actions for the election year ahead. Data to support targeting efforts is already prepared with a final refinement upcoming based on 2023 voting information. Work is near completion on a new Website that enables regional coordination, event planning, member recruitment, donor outreach, and more – all in a polished format with both public and member portals. And our text message tool, event and invite support platform, and email management system is now well tested and ready for deployment once again.
But this has been a hard 2023. There’s no denying a tough, expensive election cycle faces us ahead in 2024. From the AVV perspective, the best planning and best targeting for Veteran engagement and election support falls short without … Veteran engagement. As the saying goes – it briefs well. Much of the solution to this problem has to do with better communication, leadership, and individual motivation. In every instance when we’ve been able to communicate the challenge, the opportunity, and the importance of necessary actions or support to our Veterans and Veteran Supporters, the response has been terrific.
Our mission is to promote the political power of Veterans and Veteran Supporters through collective action in support of Veterans, our Constitution, and our Nation’s security. The “collective” idea is central to our ability to promote change through the ballot box. We achieve results together or we complain apart.
AVV, as an enterprise will keep its steady focus to improve its effective messaging, planning, networking, and operations in support of AVV membership and Veteran voters to achieve our goals. In our election activities, we will target our efforts in those Congressional Districts, and, in statewide races, those localities where Veteran votes make the greatest difference.
Veteran and Veteran Supporters can continue in service as volunteers, participants, and voters, as their own time and interests dictate. But I am steadfast in my own belief that they will rise again to meet a tough challenge as a team for the good of the Nation. We face tough challenges this year but terrific opportunities as well.
Veterans Forward! Every Veteran, Every Vote in 2024!
LTG (R), US Army
CEO, American Veterans Vote
COL (R) Michael B. “Yama” Hoyes
We’ve spent the last month or so, between Thanksgiving and Christmas in eager anticipation of the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Now, probably like most of you, I find myself thinking ahead to what 2024 will bring.
There are the inevitable resolutions – you know, things like being healthier, perhaps going to the gym, eating better, planning to do better at work, train in new skills to get that promotion or salary bump. Perhaps goals for the new year pertain to amassing more material things or conversely, being content with less.
Possibly, you are preparing your heart and mind to what will undoubtedly be a very heated election in less than a year.
Though we just celebrated the birth of Jesus, I can’t help but also project to the cross…while He was being crucified. In Luke 23:34, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’”
WOW! The greatest thing people needed then, as well as now, is forgiveness. That’s why each of us needs the Savior, because we cannot gain forgiveness on our own accord…it’s why Jesus was born. Let’s try to keep that foremost as we venture forward into the new year.
May you and your family have a very blessed 2024! If you have not started, begin now to pray for our nation. For us as Veterans, pray that we don’t sit on the sidelines…pray that we act on those prayers! EVERY VETERAN…EVERY VOTE!
Michael Schoelwer, USMC (Ret)
Whether Virginia pivots Republican or Democrat in 2024 will be determined by the election outcomes in Virginia’s three swing congressional districts: the 2nd, 7th, and 10th. As the swing areas, they will also likely determine the outcome of the state-wide races for U.S. Senator and the Presidential electors. Given the razor-thin margins of the majority in the Senate and the impact of the White House, that means these Virginia elections will play a large role in which party controls the Congress and the White House; as Virginia goes, so goes the Nation. By the way, these swing areas are also where most of the circa 125,000 active-duty personnel, their families, and circa 750,000 Veterans in Virginia live and vote.
The 2nd Congressional District leans Republican, but the elections are always close and hotly contested. Incumbent Rep. Jen Kiggans (R) is running for her second term. Virginia Beach makes up almost 60% of the District’s electorate. Of Virginia’s Congressional Districts, it has the highest concentration of active-duty military members and Veterans.
With no incumbent this year and neither political party dominating, the 7th Congressional District is up for grabs. This race is likely to be one of the most expensive in the country in 2024. And, currently with eight Republican and four Democratic candidates for the nomination, it is also one of the most unpredictable races. Stafford and Spotsylvania counties and southeastern Prince William County have 72% of the registered voters.
Virginia’s third swing area is the 10th Congressional District. It leans Democrat, but, with no incumbent, the election is uncertain. So far, three Republicans and 12 Democrats have announced their candidacy for the nomination. Loudoun and western Prince William County have the lion’s share of the district’s voting strength, with just shy of 80% of the registered voters.
The 2024 race for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat up this year will pit incumbent Democrat Tim Kaine against one of the 8 candidates for the Republican nomination. Sen. Kaine beat his last Republican opponent in the 2018 election by 536,000 of the circa 3.3 million votes cast. For his part, Sen. Mark Warner (D) beat his Republican opponent in 2020 by the same margin of circa 4.4 million votes cast. The common trend in both races, consistent with the other Federal races in Virginia for the past 5 years, is that Democrats dominated in Arlington and Alexandria, Richmond, and most of the Hampton Roads urban areas, while Republicans dominated in many of the suburbs and the rural areas.
The bottom line to all of this is that Virginia is a bellwether State this year; as goes Virginia, so goes the nation. Of 134 counties in cities in Virginia, it all turns on eight to ten of them. Those counties coincide almost exactly where almost all of our active duty and Veterans live and vote. If, as a Veteran, you want to decide how the nation is going to go, you can do it this year especially – but only if you go vote.
American Veterans Vote, Inc. (AVV) is a volunteer team of Veterans and Veteran supporters. We are a 527 Political Action Committee with a nationally-focused mission to promote the political power of Veterans and Veteran supporters in support of our three strategic goals:
AVV’s goal is to help Veterans maximize their political voice by supporting Veterans’ ability to Vote, Volunteer and Lead.
“Every Veteran, Every Vote.”
We don’t speak FOR Veterans… we speak AS Veterans.
PAID FOR BY AMERICAN VETERANS VOTE