Virginia Democrats on Tuesday called this fall’s Republican candidates for state Senate “the most radical extreme slate in history.”
Democrats held a conference call with reporters in response to a story published in the Washington Post Monday that said some of the candidates want to end Social Security and Medicare, begin mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients and allow prayer on public property, including schools.
Dave Mills, executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia, called the Republicans “the most conservative far-right outside the mainstream the legislature of Virginia has even seen.’’ He said if they are elected, they will put their niche issues above the economy, education and transportation.
Democrats, trying to hold onto a slim majority in the Senate, hope the conservative crop of Republicans gives them the edge they need despite lagging in money and candidates.
“We will either continue to allow the Virginia Senate to be the voice of moderation that it has been the last four years or will it take a hard turn to the right?’’ asked Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond), who was on the call.
Republicans are aggressively fighting to take control of the Senate, where Democrats hold a 22 to 18 majority. If the Republicans pick up just two seats, the party would take control because a Republican — Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling — presides over the Senate.
Republican leaders have said that their candidates are diverse, both moderate and conservative, and some of the more conservative candidates are running in Republican-leaning districts.
“It’s kind of early for them to be this desperate,’’ said Garren Shipley, a spokesman for Republican Party of Virginia.
Shipley said Democratic candidates are extreme, particularly as they continue to push tax increases.
“There is not enough money to Virginia Democrats happy,’’ he said. ”We hear the same thing from President Obama down to the Senate of Virginia. They have no new ideas.”