Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam is struggling to unite the Democratic party due to his continued refusal to denounce a proposed Virginia pipeline Sunday.
Northam’s response so far hasn’t won over supporters of Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and progressive Tom Perriello, who Northam defeated in the gubernatorial primary. Members of the activist group Free Nelson have pledged to withhold their vote for the Democrat in November’s election unless the candidate pledges to openly oppose two pipeline projects currently under development.
“Dear Ralph Northam, In order to gain our votes in November, we will need you to strongly oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and all new fossil fuel infrastructure. Sincerely, thousands of Virginians,” the group posted on its official Facebook page.
Perriello earned support among progressives by adamantly opposing the two natural gas pipelines under consideration, but Northam has yet to openly oppose the pipelines, a move that has progressives concerned.
Free Nelson and other similar groups overwhelmingly supported Perriello during the primary.
Dominion Energy will benefit from both the Mountain Valley and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline although the company would only control one of the pipelines. The energy company invested $106,056 in Northam’s campaign so far, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
Progressive-based local outlet Blue Virginia made the connection between the donations and Northam’s stance on the pipeline in a June 3 analysis.
“The reason Northam supports the pipeline, despite its being such a bad idea, must be his long-standing connection with Dominion, which owns one of those pipelines,” Andy Schmooker wrote about the issue at the time.
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