A Fairfax resident who has voted Democrat for as long as she can remember was recently featured in a  video ad in support of Glenn Youngkin. 

When Saundra Davis and her family left the military in 2007, they decided to remain in Virginia because of the Commonwealth’s reputation for good schools and high academic standards. Typically, military members and their families don’t have to register their party affiliations and currently only 31 states and the District of Columbia require voters to state the political party that they are affiliated with.

Davis herself has voted for the Democratic candidate in the last four elections, she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and for Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Davis said that she voted for Biden because she felt that Trump was no good for office and we needed to get him out of there.

Davis now finds herself in a situation many like her have been in before and it’s all due to a single issue that she cares about the most, the education of her children. 

In a 30-second campaign ad Davis, who is listed as a lifelong Democrat, talks about her previous voting history and reveals her intention to vote for Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. Her reason being is the high standards that compelled Davis and her family to stay in Virginia have slid downhill and she believes that it is the Republican hopeful who can set those standards back on course.

“What’s happening in our education system is that politics are being put before children,” says Davis in the video. 

Through her concerns, Davis has become something of an accidental activist when it comes to issues that relate to her children. So, her decision to vote for Youngkin, a candidate who has the support of former President Donald Trump whom she voted against, comes down to a single issue that Davis is very passionate about.

Davis is not alone in this; many people have switched their normal party affiliation to vote for a candidate that they feel pays attention to the issue that they care about the most. According to the book The Great Revolt by Salena Zito and Brad Todd, the reason why Trump was able to turn so many voters that he had in the 2016 Presidential election was that his stances on issues such as local economy, gun rights, and others were appealing to voters in the Rust Belt states who had felt abandoned by the Democratic Party after being proudly blue for so long.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic occurred, Davis never watched a school board meeting and trusted in their decision-making. Once the pandemic was in full swing it gave Davis time to watch the meetings and she didn’t like what she saw. The Fairfax County School Board spent the better part of 2020 putting off the reopening of schools in spite of evidence that they would be some of the safer places for students to be due to the virus’ low rate of infection in that cohort.

“The science said that the schools were safe but the unions didn’t want to reopen in spite of the fact that kids in private schools in Virginia and public schools in other states were having in-person class,” said Davis about the school board meeting. She perceived the meeting as being influenced more by teachers’ unions than they were by concern for the students. 

It’s also why Davis is weary of the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe who according to Davis has taken campaign money from teacher’s unions. This was verified though a search on VPAP.org which has recorded a donation of $425,000 made by the American Federation of Teachers to his campaign. Davis also doesn’t appreciate what she sees as a more bombastic and abrasive attitude from McAuliffe. 

Davis does still find herself in agreement with Democrats on issues such as equity training for teachers but the high cost of living along with the falling standards of the area schools has helped her to make the decision of voting outside her party so that students can get the education that she feels they so deserve.

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