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Rasoul announces candidacy for Democratic lieutenant governor nomination

sam rasoul
Sam Rasoul

Roanoke Democratic State Del. Sam Rasoul has formally launched a campaign for the party’s lieutenant governor nomination.

Rasoul, 39, has represented the 11th District in the House of Delegates since winning a special election for the seat in 2014.

He had previously challenged long-time Republican incumbent congressman Bob Goodlatte for the seat representing the Sixth District in the U.S. House in 2008.

Rasoul made his campaign announcement Tuesday with a pledge to rely on financing entirely from individual donors, forgoing cash from political action committees, companies, and industry interest groups.

In 2017 Rasoul became the first member of the current Virginia General Assembly to pledge to abstain from special interest PAC donations. Today’s statement reaffirms his public commitment to refuse money from organizations and businesses seeking to influence elected officials in the state government.

“When I made that commitment to not take any PAC money, some people thought it was because I wasn’t in a primary,” Rasoul said. “This race for lieutenant governor is extremely competitive. I’m committed to only accept cash contributions from individual donors because I believe it’s the only way we can create a truly transparent government that is responsive to the needs of working Virginians.”

Virginia is among the states with the most lax campaign finance laws. A majority of states have limits on how much money individuals can donate to a campaign, but in Virginia there is no limit.

In 2015 Rasoul submitted a constitutional amendment proposal to overturn Citizens United, and he has been outspoken about the need for getting big money out of Virginia politics.

“People want to be able to vote for leaders who aren’t beholden to special interests,” Rasoul said. “If a politician is taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel industry groups or pharmaceutical companies, it’s hard to believe they are actually going to represent my interests. We’re taking all the special interest money out of the equation. No PACs, only people.”

The campaign announced on social media that they aim to reach 500 individual donors by Friday.

“It’s an ambitious goal, but I’m putting my faith in the people because they have put their faith in me.” Rasoul said. “I’m running to represent the interests of everyday Virginians, not corporations. Our campaign funding should reflect that.”