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Rasoul focused on positive message, vision for future

Story by Chris Graham

Fourteen months of traveling the Sixth District comes down to the last few weeks for Sixth District Democratic Party congressional nomination candidate Sam Rasoul.

Democrats in the district will meet April 19-21 to select delegates to the district convention in May. Effectively, then, the race between Rasoul and Drew Richardson will come down to those three days.

The three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. The three most important things in winning this nomination race will be organization, organization, organization.

“It takes a large degree of support for someone to want to come out and spend time caucasing for you as opposed to just casting a vote. Especially many of these are what we call assembled caucuses, so they must come by a certain time, dedicate a couple of hours of their day to try to get our delegates elected. It takes an enormous amount of organization,” Rasoul said.

“We’ve been campaigning now for about 14 months, and how that has helped us is we’ve gained so many endorsements and the support of so many key people around the district. We have support from the chairman of Roanoke city and the chairman of Lynchburg city – those are two of the top three already – and many other key supporters. I don’t place too much emphasis on endorsements, but when these people are obviously in leadership positions, that definitely is a big help,” Rasoul said.

Another help that Rasoul sees for his campaign is his focus on selling his vision for the future of Virginia and the future of America.

“The focus for us is always staying positive,” Rasoul said. “We like to talk about what we’re going to do right. I think the most frustrating thing in politics today is negative politics, continuing to undercut the competition. It’s important to talk about votes, talk about objective information. But people want to hear ideas about how we’re going to move America forward and what we want to do right, as opposed to what someone else is doing wrong. And that type of real vision in government, I think that the American populace is so thirsty for that that 2008 is really, really going to show that disparity.”

It helps Democrats in the Sixth that the local Republican Party seems to be on the verge of splitting into two, according to Rasoul.

“We also see the influx of people from Charlottesville and Nothern Virginia into the Valley as a whole, which has brought in some more progressive voices in general,” Rasoul said. “But I think it’s important for us to put our partisan hats aside. I know that we talk about that a lot, but it’s important for me. It’s not about Democrats and Republicans anymore. For me, at least, it really has to be about American and ideas that help middle-class Americans.
“We’ve met with Ron Paul groups. We’ve met with fair-tax supporters. These are typically libertarian or Republican groups. So we have tried to open the dialogue already with all types of groups across the Valley,” Rasoul said.

For Rasoul, the goal is to be able to continue that dialogue through November.

“I’m glad I can do it while I’m young, because it does take a great deal of energy if you want to do it right,” Rasoul said. “There are two basic ways to run a campaign. You either raise money for six to nine hours a day for six months so you can run as many 30-second TV and radio ads a month before the election. I believe in a positive message that takes much longer to resonate with people, and we’ve invested two years of our lives into that message.”

Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.

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