VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The word socialist is being thrown around in the 85th District House of Delegates race in Virginia Beach, democratic socialist to be specific.
The Democrat, Alex Askew, worked for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a “democratic socialist,” but the question is does that make Askew a “democratic socialist” too.
Republican Rocky Holcomb’s ad calls Askew “dishonest and untrustworthy. Democratic Socialist.”
What does Askew think about that label? He quickly answered, “I am not a democratic socialist.”
Askew claims the ad running against him by Holcomb is false in what it conveys, “I have worked for multiple Democrats, including President Obama, including Delegate Jay Jones (Norfolk) and many others across Virginia and the southeast.”
10 On Your Side interrupted him that he did not mention the one politician that led to the commercial, and that’s the point made by his opponent — that he is trying to distance himself from Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist.
Askew was Sanders’ South Carolina deputy political director during the 2016 presidential campaign, and he worked with Sanders for nine months.
“That’s the thing with Alex … when it’s convenient he talks about working for Bernie Sanders, but when it’s not convenient he doesn’t want to talk about working for Bernie Sanders.”
Holcomb’s ad also claims this about Askew: “To hide his radical plan to socialize medicine … eliminate your employer provided healthcare … and let bureaucrats choose your doctor.”
10 On Your Side asked Askew if he’s supporting all these issues? “No, I am not,” he said.
The Holcomb ad falsely leads you to think Askew is stating his opinions on those issues in those articles. Here’s the thing, Askew is never mentioned in any of the articles, nor has he stated his opinion supporting the issues in the ad. The only person quoted in the articles is Bernie Sanders.
Is that fair? It is clear the ad is lumping Askew in with Sanders’ stance on the issues simply because he was associated with Sanders in the past.
Holcomb answered, “If you certainly push his values, you have his values.”
Not necessarily. 10 On Your Side asked Askew about those issues, “I am not for them. I am for employer-based healthcare plans. Many of my campaign materials say that I have not said that from my campaign, nor I do not believe in Medicaid for all.”
What about that? Holcomb answered, “Then it’s kind of strange because he certainly worked for the gentleman, and pushed his issues, but if he doesn’t support him then obviously he had a change of heart that he needs to come clean on.”
Askew counters, “some issues I agree with. Some I haven’t, but right now we are talking about Virginia residents of the 85th District and talking about them.”
Holcomb counters: “I just think his views are very radical for this district in how he wants to implement policies that will affect the good citizens of the 85th district.”
We pointed out to Askew that he worked for the candidate, he wanted him to win, and this is what Bernie Sanders believes in. Holcomb comes in and says you are a democratic socialist because of that, is that unfair? Askew responded, “it is unfair, and is wrong. It is a false equivalency. He is absolutely wrong.”
The district leans Democratic, and during redistricting it got a little bit more Democratic. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the district 48% to Trump’s 46%.
In the latest financial filing cash on hand on September 30, Askew has three times more than Holcomb: $254,000 to $80,000.