Donald Trump’s influence in the nation’s electoral process is picking up steam, and not necessarily in the way he would hope. Monday, Djuna Osborne of Roanoke who helped organize the recent Women’s March and the cardboard cutout Rep. Bob Goodlatte Town Hall meeting, will announce she’s running for the 17th District (Roanoke) House seat in the Virginia General Assembly. She’ll make the announcement at noon at the Greenridge Recreation Center.
Osborne takes on hardcore Trump supporter Chris Head, who has served as an anti-abortion, pro-NRA Republican since 2011. He and his wife own Home Instead Senior Care.
The 17th District is heavily gerrymandered and is almost all white. Osborne, however, is not intimidated. In a conversation a little while ago as she was driving home from a Virginia Democratic candidates’ meeting in Richmond, she said she sees a coalescing of voters to oppose Trump. “We’re not looking at gender,” she said. “We want people to get out and vote.”
Some people voted for Trump “to avoid voting for Hillary [Clinton] and there are a lot of people in the gray area.” She said she believes she can get those votes. “This is the Year of the Woman,” she said. “Women are in the forefront. There are a lot of angry, fired up people.”
The Virginia House is 66-34 in favor of the Republican Party, even though statewide votes have broken to Democrats with more than 50 percent of the total vote in recent elections. Gerrymandering accounts for the heavy Republican advantage and the courts are now taking a look at those districts across the nation. Many are being declared illegal.
Osborne, who is married and has two children, is a 41-year-old licensed clinical social worker and contract clinician. She works with the Bradley Free Clinic as a volunteer. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina (English).
She is, she said, “motivated by the new administration. At the Women’s March a lot of my friends said I should consider running for office.” She sees a “groundswell of people stepping up and out” and believes that “diehard supporter” Head is vulnerable.
She got the name “Djuna,” by the way, from her father (an architect and amateur philosopher), after writer and artist Djuna Barnes.