Anti-Rob Wittman momentum is growing across the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, according to members of local groups involved in those efforts. And they claim they’re in it until the end of Wittman’s days as U.S. House Representative for the 1st Congressional District.
Since the start of the year, residents across the two peninsulas have protested at Wittman’s office in Tappahannock and in his hometown of Montross. Over the past two weeks, other planned protests in Montross and Saluda have been canceled due to bad weather. But the challenges of hosting winter demonstrations isn’t putting a damper on the spirit of anti-Wittman organizers.
“I believe we are laying the foundation to keep us in the game until 2022 and successfully oust Wittman or his successor,” Lyndon Hott wrote to members of a group he helps run called Wittman Watchers.
“Wittman’s decision to sign on to the amicus brief challenging the 2020 presidential election is really what sparked this push to oust him,” Hott explained.
“It was outlandish and allowed the big lie pushed by President Trump to go on. Not only was it counterintuitive to the image Wittman portrays as a common sense Republican, but people were listening to that lie and we could see them getting angry. Some people truly believed that President Trump was going to be president after January 20. And we just couldn’t believe Wittman was going along with that,” Hott said.
It was “an anti-democratic turn,” he added, and “there were so many opportunities to get off the ramp of that lie but Wittman never did until January 6.”
That being the case, Wittman doesn’t represent the 1st Congressional District where people expect a peaceful transition of power and accept election results. It’s been that way since the 1790s, and we have to continue with that,” said Hott.
“We need better representation in the 1st Congressional District. We need representatives that’ll stand up for the people not for an individual person or a political party…” and that’s not Rob Wittman, said Frank Kober, chairman of the Northumberland County Democrats.
“It’s very, very sad that we have to settle for his second-class representation,” Kober added, noting that he believed Wittman has spent over a decade proving he doesn’t represent the people in this part of his district.
“Wittman talks about expanding broadband but hasn’t done anything to deliver for the people that don’t have it,” Kober explained. “And for years, locals have been pushing to have the White Stone Bridge replaced but Wittman never takes a position on it.”
And, “we have a terrible gap between the very rich and the very poor in Northumberland, Lancaster and much of the Northern Neck. There are people struggling, literally living day by day trying to get along. Some of our people are working two and three jobs just to feed their families. They have no extra money. Nothing left over,” said Kober.
“Wittman doesn’t have a backbone. He doesn’t stand for anything. And he just doesn’t care about the average person. He is supposed to represent the first district. But he only represents himself. And we’ve decided enough is enough. We’re not going to let him just get along anymore. It’s not just one county. It’s multiple counties,” Kober insisted.
Groups across the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, such as Wittman Watchers and Northumberland County Democrats are getting more organized and building stronger alliances between them.
Kober said attendance is increasing at the Northumberland County Democrats’ monthly meetings, and to his delight, a growing number of young people are getting involved.
The organization is trying to ensure it communicates with members at least once a week. It’s mobilizing members to keep participation going at protests and supporting the organization and promotion of those demonstrations.
The Northumberland County Democrats are also engaging with and creating a support system for candidates who can run for and win congressional positions at the state and federal level.
“We’re trying to show Democrats in the state that in this county we’re strong and united. And we’re trying to pull our weight in keeping the state of Virginia in hands that will represent them, not those who will try to replace them and repress them with authoritarian ideology.”
However Kober said the goal isn’t to replace Wittman with a Democrat who does the same thing. “We want to replace Wittman with a person who is going to be answerable to all the people, who will listen to all people and then make his or her decision.”
Meanwhile, Wittman Watchers is aiming to build the following @wittmanwatch on Twitter, and the group encourages people to use the handle to post “anything related to Wittman or heinous actions from the GOP.” Hott said those who are at the head of the effort are committed to maintaining that social media presence.
The group will also make public outreach moves, including writing letters to Wittman’s donors. And “Saturday and Sunday protests—we want them to be a fixture,” said Hott, adding that they’ll keep the push against Wittman going until he resigns or leaves office.