Latest News

RIP Fred Hodnett

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Fred Hodnett, husband of longtime HDC member Lyn Hodnett, passed away recently. Fred was a man of great humor and integrity. He could make us laugh. But, he also kept us grounded. His obituary can be found here. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund at DUMC. The Ashland Kiwanis is offering a scholarship in his honor. We could talk at length about the many great things that Fred has bestowed upon us. But, his own words convey his successes best. You can access an interview with him here. The interview is about an hour in length, and well worth your time. We will miss Fred, but his legacy continues with us.

Support Qasim Rashid

Our candidate for the First Congressional District is Qasim Rashid. Due to many rules and regulations governing federal election years, the HDC is limited as to what it can contribute. But, individuals can contribute much more. Please consider donating to Qasim's campaign. All amounts are welcome from $5 to $500, or more. Another way to contribute to Qasim's efforts to help nominate him for national recognition. Here is the signup link – share if you can: Registering will make you eligible to participate in this vote supporting Qasim. This endorsement provides an opportunity for Qasim to receive support on a national level. You do not have to be a member of an Indivisible group to vote. If you have any questions, please send an email to Heather Allen at and she can help.

Apply to Vote by Mail/ Absentee

Several of our member volunteers will be hand delivering applications to vote by mail/ absentee to people across the County. We will use PPE to deliver these applications to the doors; no interactions. We will not be able to deliver to everyone. If you receive an application and have already applied, please share it with a friend. If you would like to apply to vote by mail/ absentee online, you can learn more here.

Opportunities with the Coordinated Campaign

The Virginia Victory coordinated campaign is looking for paid Fellows to work with Joe Aguilar, the regional field director. 
Here is the link:

People may also sign up for phone-banking with the Coordinated Campaign here:  For more information contact Joe Aguilar at

Become an Officer of Elections

Be a part of making history! Citizens serving as an Officer of Elections will receive training and compensation ($135/day). To learn more about becoming an Officer of Elections, contact the registrar's office at (804) 365-6080.  For a link to the application, click here. One of the best ways to ensure that we have a safe and fair election is to have good people working at the polls. Hanover has many polling stations.  For the link to all of the polling places we have in the County, click here. We need Officers of Elections. Please consider becoming one.

Qasim Rashid for Congress

Congratulations to Qasim Rashid in his bid to be the Democratic nominee for the First Congressional District. As some of you may recall, Qasim was featured on the nightly news a few months ago. He is an excellent candidate.  We look forward to supporting him and the other Democratic candidates, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Mark Warner, on Tuesday, November 3.


You can complete your application for a mail-in ballot now. The ballot will then be mailed to you in September. Learn more here:

Scholarship Recipients

We are pleased to announce the awardees for the Melissa J. Dopp/ Bobby Ostergren Scholarships. Valerie Shcherbakova from Hanover High School is the first place winner of $1,000. The runners-up, with $500 each are Nylah Brown from Atlee High School and Daniel Richardson from Hanover High School. These young Democrats have been quite active and we wish them well in college.


A reminder: we will determine our 1st Congressional District nominee in the Democratic Party primary on June 23. The candidates are Qasim Rashid, a Stafford resident who is a lawyer, activist and former state Senate candidate, and Lavangelene Williams, a resident of King George who was our 2018 nominee. The winner will take on Republican Rob Wittman, a foot soldier in Donald Trump's Army of Indecency. Precincts will be open for voting from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 23.

Absentee Application Mailers

As part of our ongoing outreach efforts, all members of the Hanover County Democratic Committee should have received an application to apply for an absentee ballot. Your committee is strongly encouraging every one of our members to vote absentee. Please mail in your application today if you have not already done so. You may make copies of the ballot application for other families or friends to complete and submit. Members can also apply online to receive an absentee ballot. Due to the coronavirus, everyone is eligible to vote absentee. Select the reason "2A My Disability or Illness" when filling out the application. Furthermore, please promote absentee voting in your neighborhoods and networks.

Membership Renewal

Every two years we renew our memberships. If you have not done so already, please renew your membership today. Information on renewal can be found here.

Crucial Dates

Town of Ashland residents:  Ashland elections are scheduled for May 19. Apply for an absentee ballot citing health concerns. Click here. If you vote in person, go to the Ashland Town Hall between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on May 19.  Learn more about the candidates.  Click here.

The Democratic Primary to nominate our Democratic Congressional candidate is now scheduled for June 23 at your usual polling location. Apply now for an absentee ballot citing health concerns. Click here

Gov. Ralph Northam holds tri-weekly updates on the coronavirus in Virginia at 2 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can view them on NBC Channel 12.  You also can view them through his Twitter feed @governorVA. You can read his press releases and sign up for announcements from him by clicking here.

Exploring new ideas

HDC member Rachel Levy would like to start an HDC-affiliated group that would identify and organize community service opportunities for HDC members. If you are interested in exploring this, please contact her at


Scholarships are more important now than ever. The Hanover Democratic Committee will award scholarships of approximately $500 to one or more graduating seniors from each of the county high schools.

The scholarships are awarded based on the student’s service to Democratic candidates, the HDC or to a Young Democrats Club. The deadline has been extended to May 7. The application can be found here:

We have awarded more than 10 scholarships and look forward to more!

Thank a hero

We want to extend our gratitude to all of the healthcare workers, first responders, critical workers, and many more. Many of them are working excessive hours. Thank you for all that you do.

Sad for the passing of Ragan Phillips

Ragan Phillips, a voice of activism, has passed to the next life recently. We are sad about the loss because Ragan was the voice of reason and passion.  He always had strength in his convictions. Information about his services is not currently available. Please stay tuned for more announcements.


The candidates cannot get out on the stump. So we will do the next best thing with a 1st Congressional District Virtual Candidates Forum at 3 p.m. on April 19. The forum will take place on Zoom. Registration information will be forthcoming.  Candidates Vangie Williams and Qasim Rashid will be participating.  Please address questions to John Suddarth,

Call for a Caucus of the Hanover Democratic Committee to elect Delegates and Alternates to the First District and State Conventions

Please read carefully, if you would like to take part in the state and national delegate selection for the presidential Democratic Party process.  The Virginia State Democratic Party has decided to host all of the calls to caucus in virtual forums. You can access their call update, statewide caucus, delegate filling, and participant forms at the links below this message. So, what does this mean? 

  1. Hanover Democrats, If you want to participate in the statewide delegate selection process for the National Convention, you must register with the state Democratic Party by April 9.
  2. The national delegates will be selected from among the state delegates.
  3. The Hanover Democratic Committee has qualified to have 22 delegates (16 for Biden and 6 for Sanders, with 4 and 1 alternates, respectively).  Delegates must support the candidate for whom they signify in the application form.
  4. Use the links below to register for the delegate selection process with the state party.
  5. At this moment, all caucus’ and delegate conventions will be completed virtually.  The Virginia Democratic Party will keep all participants updated.
  6. There is a virtual delegate selection training at 7 pm on April 2.  Click here to register for the training.

Click here for the DPVA Caucus Update

Click here for the DPVA Statewide Call to Virtual Caucus

Pre-Filing Forms

Click here for the pre-filing form to be a State Delegate or Alternate

Click here for the pre-filing form to participate in a Presidential Caucus

More information about the delegate selection process:

Democratic Scholarship for High School Seniors!

The Hanover Democratic Committee would like to award scholarships of approximately $500 to one or more graduating seniors from each of our county high schools. If you could help us to impart this information to any pertinent teachers and/or students, we would be very grateful.

-The scholarship is not needs-based or for academic merit; it is for students who have participated in Democratic campaigns, supported Democratic candidates, helped the Hanover Democratic Committee or participated in/started a Young Democrats Club.

-An electronic copy of the application is attached here. The mailing address for completed applications is located at the top of the form. We are aiming for a deadline of April 30, 2020. Please feel free to contact Andrea Ferment at the email address or phone number below should you have any questions.

We were so happy to award ten scholarships in the past two years and look forward to awarding more this year!

Andrea Ferment
Chair, Scholarship Committee
Hanover Democratic Committee

Artistic Opportunity for High School student artists

The Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students currently living in the First District. The winner of our district's competition will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol. The exhibit in Washington will also include artwork from other contest winners nation-wide.  You can find the 2020 Rules and Regulations here and the Congressional Art Competition Website here.

Message from the Chair

Dan McGraw

Hi Everyone. I hope this message finds you well and safe. To retain some normalcy, we will be moving forward with remote meetings and reaching out by email and phone for the foreseeable future.

Like many and most, I have been "sheltering in place" recently and I watched the "Hillary" documentary on Hulu. And it got me thinking about leaders, and how for a truly great leader when there is a great struggle, there is also a great opportunity.
Out of the Depression, Roosevelt developed vital financial protections. Given a significant deficit, Bill Clinton balanced the budget. Against the recession, Obama stabilized oil prices. And many other people came together through their own leadership, at every level, to make our country better for all members of our society.

And on Hillary's final day of college, the student body unanimously selected her to be the first student ever at Wellesley College to take part in the commencement speech, even after many important figures at the time told her to sit down and be quiet. The speech is well worth watching and I'll include the full version here.

Her speech spoke to me of true leadership, and I think it struck me hard because it was such a juxtaposition to the commander-in-chief we have today. I do not know the current President, but I have heard him speak, and I know people who have known him. He has not done much good in his life. In fact, the opposite is true. And so, I cannot connect with the current President, even at this time, when I need his leadership the most. But, I will look forward with excitement to the future Democratic nominee. Look at all the good our candidates have done, are doing, and can do. Once we select a nominee, let us unite with our full support so that we do not lose an opportunity to encourage our party leaders to shine. Let us also get excited about the candidates down the ballot and put your Democratic enthusiasm to good use!

Hanover County Budget Public Hearing

In observance of Gov. Northam's order to not meet in groups larger than 10, the County is making public input available prior to the next budget hearing on April 1.  You can access the full announcement here.  You can call 365-3333 to leave a message about the budget. A limit of three minutes per comment will be observed.  You also can email your comments to this address:  The County will gather comments from March 26 through 5:00 p.m. on March 31.

Get ready for the elections!

The next election will be for Town Council is Ashland.  This always brings up a little bit of confusion.  There are three Ashlands in Virginia:  the 23005 national zip code, the Hanover District, and the Municipal Town proper.  If you live in the actual town, and you are a registered voted, you may participate in the upcoming election on May 5.  Governor Northam has advised all registered voters to consider voting absentee.  You may register to vote absentee online now.  If you do so, the County will mail you a ballot which you must complete and mail back to the County by the appropriate deadline.  To apply to file absentee click here.  More information on voting is here.  The schedule of other voting activities may be found here.  

We now have two Candidates for CD1

In June, we will be voting on which of the two candidates will receive the nomination as the Democratic challenger to Rep. Rob Wittman for the first congressional district of the House of Representatives.  The candidates are Qasim Rashid and Vangie Williams. Two years ago, Mrs. Williams ran an impressive campaign against Rep. Wittman (R), capturing over 44% of the votes. Last year, Mr. Rashid narrowly lost the Virginia District 28 Senate seat to the incumbent Republican, capturing over 42% of the votes. Rashid appeared recently on the CBS Evening News. Recently, Phil Cox has suspended his campaign.  Earlier in the year, other candidates have announced and suspended.  All of these announcements and changes are evidence that we are on the right wave and that Democrats are going to "win bigly" (to quote the POTUS45) in November. Neither the current presidential follies nor COVID-19 will deter us. We will win in the elections and we will win in humanity!

RIP Mo Moretz

We are sad to share the announcement of Mo Moretz's passing.  He was a kind gentleman, smiling friend, and dedicated Democrat.  Over the years, he has served in many capacities, including chair of the Henry District.  You can access his obituary here. His family says:

Instead of flowers, if you'd like to make a gift to an organization he cared about, the Bethlehem Presbyterian Church Building Fund (2446 Old Church Road, Mechanicsville, VA 23111), the Marshall-Moretz Christmas Dinner Fund at First Presbyterian Church (P.O. Box 165, Richmond, KY 40476), or the Telford YMCA ( would all be worthwhile choices. Any organization that matters to you would also be suitable.

RIP John Spurlock

We lost another great warrior. John Spurlock passed away recently. Please keep his wife Johnetta in your thoughts and prayers, as well as the rest of the family.  He was a man who knew how to make others laugh, smile and enjoy life.  His goodwill and humor will be missed.  You can access his obituary here.  

During a time when children are being separated from their families, the national debt is rising, and constitutional norms are being violated, we need more people to step up into the role that John filled. He was a man of confidence and calm. His presence will be missed, but he will never be forgotten.

Drinking Liberally

The first Drinking Liberally night will be at 7 p.m.on Friday, March 6 at the Mechanicsville Mexico restaurant. This is an opportunity to socialize with liberals in the evening. Drinking Liberally is not associated with the Hanover Democratic Committee. But, it is a way for liberal-minded people to get to know one another. The current plan is to start meeting every first Friday at Mexico restaurant. Please start inviting your friends to come and spend a relaxing evening just talking and having fun with fellow liberals!

2020 Blue Wave Bash…Save the Date!

The Governor Will Be Our Keynote Speaker

After spearheading one of the most successful General Assembly Sessions in decades, Governor Ralph Northam will be the keynote speaker at the Hanover Democratic Committee’s 11th annual Blue Wave Bash on Thursday, April 23.

In addition to Gov. Northam, Sen. Jennifer McClellan, who represents four precincts in Hanover and who has shepherded dozens of bills through the 2020 General Assembly, will also be an honored guest speaker. HDC Chair Daniel McGraw will serve as master of ceremonies.

Because of the overflowing crowd at last year’s event, we are moving our dinner fundraiser to the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center, 2880 Mountain Road, Glen Allen where we can accommodate 230 guests for a plated dinner.

Doors will open at 6:30 for wine, beer and soft drinks; the dinner service begins at 7 p.m. Guests will choose a dinner entre in advance when they purchase their Blue Wave Bash tickets. Entree choices will include an herb pork loin or lemon caper chicken or vegetarian creamy herb tortellini plus a Strawberry Fields salad with dressing, vegetable medley, wild rice, rolls, and assorted desserts.

You will receive a printed invitation later this month and will be able to purchase a ticket online in the next few weeks.

Keep the wave going…make plans now and save the date, Thursday, April 23. More to come!

Public Service with a TIP

By Lou Szari

The Hanover General Registrar’s Office needs voting citizens to assist with our elections. The people who staff the polling places are called Officers of the Election. They earn $135 performing the necessary functions to deliver accurate and friendly service at each polling place during the elections. Officers of Election are trained annually and given regular refresher training sessions in the weeks prior to any election. The training is detailed but it is delivered in clear, manageable units of information. It is interesting work and it is essential to all of us that the election runs smoothly.

You can access the information and application online

Key “Officers of Election” into the search box and the description and application will appear. are on your way to meaningful public service with manageable time commitments.

This is the chance to clearly understand the processes and practices which consistently deliver fair, honest elections to your Hanover neighbors. I would be proud to have you serve the public in our next election. The General Registrar’s office phone number is 804-365-6075 but the online information is quicker to access. Come join the team providing an essential public service “with a tip.”

Lou Szari is chairman of the Hanover County Electoral Board.

First Candidates Forum

Four candidates vying for the nomination in the upcoming Democratic Primary for the First Congressional District participated in the Candidates Forum on 22 January at the Depot.  The videographer was not able to capture all of the final statements, but most of the forum was captured.  You can see part one here and part two here.  Nearly 100 people attended the event.  While there, many people participated in an unofficial straw poll for the presidential primary.  The results are Kamala Harris 2%, Mayor Bloomberg 7%, Sen. Sanders 13%, Joe Biden 16%, Sen. Klobuchar 17%, Sen. Warren 22%, and Mayor Buttigieg 23%.  Thank you to all who participated.  This poll was for fun and the results do not reflect the opinions of the Hanover Democratic Committee.  Many members in attendance were not part of the HDC.  There will be another U.S. First Congressional District Candidates' Forum at 10 am on Saturday, March 14 at Patrick Henry High School (12449 W. Patrick Henry Rd, 23005).  Everyone is welcome to attend.

Great Loss

In the last several weeks, the Hanover Democratic Committee has suffered several great losses in the passing of four members including Nelson Vaughan, Carolyn Griffis, Charles Layne and Tom Colosi. All are already greatly missed.

Most notably, the founder and chair of the HDC’s Men’s Forum, Nelson Vaughan, died unexpectedly on January 18. Nelson moved back to Ashland, his grandparents’ home, several years ago. He immediately jumped headlong into town and HDC activities. He was the founder and chair of the HDC’s monthly Men’s Forum. The candidates’ forum, which he most recently organized for those running for the Democratic nomination for the First Congressional District, was attended by almost 100 people. If it was an HDC activity, Nelson was involved--canvassing, phone banking, and volunteering for candidates. He was also active in other activities in Ashland, especially the Ashland Kiwanis where he served as Secretary. Click here to see his obituary.

Carolyn Griffis, was a member of the HDC for decades and was a fixture at the polls on Election Day in Cold Harbor. She was active in HDC activities and worked tirelessly to get candidates elected. A service was held for Carolyn in January in Elkton, Va and another will be held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church on the Boulevard in Richmond on Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. See her obituary.

Charles Layne, also was a member of the HDC for decades along with his surviving wife, Mae. He was a great supporter of Democratic candidates. He was an optical engineer and retired to his birthplace, Beaverdam from Florida. See his obituary.

Tom Colosi, another longtime HDC member, supported many HDC activities. Like the other members we have lost, Tom had a keen intellect. He worked in conflict resolution in Washington, DC before retiring to Glen Allen. He is survived by his wife and longtime HDC member Susan Shearouse. See his obituary.

A Special Thank You

We want to thank those who have donated to the HDC in memory of Nelson Vaughan. A special thank you to Addie Brugger, Caroline Cooke and Anita Stratton.

Call to Caucus:

In order to read the rules and procedures for the call to caucus click here.

For information about the by-laws check out the links below:

The proposed by-laws from the 2019 committee are here:  click on.

To see what the proposed changes are:  click here.

To access the previous by-laws from the 2017 committee, click here.