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VA-07: Jack Trammell's path to the Democratic nomination

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June 11, 2014

By Ballotpedia's Congressional team

If you had not heard of Jack Trammell before last night, you are not alone. Trammell is headed to the November election as the Democratic nominee. News of his nomination officially broke on primary election night; clarifying a confusing Democratic nomination process.

When news of Rep. Eric Cantor's defeat broke Tuesday night, the internet erupted with questions and comments. One of the main questions being asked was: "Who will face David Brat in the general election?"

As of Monday, June 9, the media was reporting that there was no Democratic nominee.[1] Many believed that active Twitter-user Mike Dickinson, who had appeared on Fox News and declared that he was the Democratic candidate in the 7th District, was indeed the nominee. The District's Democrats vehemently denied that Dickinson was running as an official Democrat.

Confusion continued until the 7th District Democratic Party nominee, Dr. Jack Trammell announced on social media that he was the new nominee. The announcement came primary election night, June 10.

Trammell's tweet from June 10, 2014

Although the road to the nomination seems strange compared to the typical Democratic primary process, in Virginia this process is fairly common. After speaking with Abbi Easter, Chairwoman of the 7th Congressional District Democratic Party, Ballotpedia was told the steps that the party took in nominating Trammell.

  • December 2013: Each party in Virginia's 11 congressional districts decides the method by which they want to nominate their candidate. The 7th District Democrats opted for the caucus convention.
The duly constituted authorities of the state political party, as stated in a party's rules and bylaws, shall have the right to determine the method by which a party nomination for a member of the United States Senate or for any statewide office shall be made.[2]
  • April 10, 2014: Mike Dickinson appeared on Fox News' "On The Record w/ Greta Van Susteren," announcing that he was an official candidate for the 7th District. However, the filing deadline was at 5PM that day at which point Dickinson was in the studio at Fox News and never filed to be an official candidate.[3] Despite this, Dickinson continued to use social media as though he was a filed candidate.
  • May 2, 2014: This was the date for the 7th District Democratic convention. However, because nobody filed to be considered at the convention, no convention was held. The party bylaws dictate that if this situation arises, the nomination would be left up to the individual district party committees.
  • June 8, 2014: After officially calling a meeting a week prior, as required by party bylaws, the 7th District Democratic committee met. Dr. Jack Trammell had filled out all the necessary paperwork to file. At the meeting, the party committee unanimously voted to nominate Trammell. The deadline for nomination by convention was June 10, 2014.
  • June 9, 2014: Trammell officially filed his paperwork with the Virginia Board of Elections.

See also