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“There’s opportunity in these traditionally conservative suburbs with college-educated white voters who are unwilling to back a Republican candidate.It’s a function of and proof that Trump has tainted the rest of the Republicans running for office.” Chris La Civita, a Richmond-based GOP strategist who works on national campaigns, said Chesterfield’s results are a pointed reminder of the challenges Republicans face not only to remain competitive in Virginia’s suburbs but elsewhere.On the night Trump won the presidency, Kim Drew Wright became so infuriated that she took a Sharpie and, on poster board, compared the Republican mogul to a slang word for the male sex organ, and added: “And so are you if you voted for him.” She then duct-taped it over the “Hillary for President” sign in her front yard, and was pleased when a few neighbors emailed to thank her for sharing their sentiments (she took it down the next day, afraid that kids on school buses would see her invective).A week later, Wright posted on the Clinton-inspired website “Pantsuit Nation” an open invitation to women to meet at a local tavern to share their angst over Trump. Her hands shaking as she made her first public speech, Wright declared that she hated Trump “with the white-hot passion of a billion suns.” She urged everyone to “connect with others” and “know that you are not alone.” A year later, she has a slew of new friends.“In presidential years and in governor’s races, the county where Republicans had their largest margins was Chesterfield,” said Bob Holsworth, a retired Virginia Commonwealth University political science professor.“It was where Republicans did their best.” But the county evolved as its population mushroomed by nearly 25 percent between 20.They include women such as Lynette Clements, 62, a retired computer programmer, and Sara Gaborik, 40, a criminal defense lawyer, and Becky Conner, 43, an electrical designer, all of whom help organize LWCC events, including a recent “speed dating” soiree at which advocates for a variety of progressive causes went table-to-table briefing the women on issues.
At the same time, Republicans’ victory margins steadily declined. Warner was the first Democratic gubernatorial candidate in four decades to get more than 40 percent of Chesterfield’s vote.“The challenge for Democrats is, ‘Can you transcend Trump? “A lot of this is driven by women voters, but can Democrats translate that to a more permanent voter?