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Virginia State House in Richmond, Virginia

A model in Virginia, where political reform and pragmatism won this week

Troiano is executive director of Unite America, a nonpartisan organization seeking "to bridge the divide by enacting structural political reforms and electing candidates who put people over party."

Leading up to Tuesday's state legislative primaries in Virginia, a Roanoke Times editorial asked a key question of our political times: "Will what's left of the center hold?"

The paper went on: "Do voters in one-party districts want legislators who can at least see the center or do they want someone further to the left or the right? When the choice is left to hardcore party activists, the answer is often the latter – which explains why we see so few moderates in either party, and so little bipartisanship in either Richmond or Washington."

Party loyalists and ideological extremists often prevail in low turnout primaries. But not always. And not on Tuesday.

All three candidates endorsed by Unite Virginia, a state affiliate of Unite America, won heavily contested elections. Two were Democrats running in open seats for delegate, Martha Mugler and Suhas Subramanyam. The other was incumbent Republican State Sen. Emmett Hanger. Each prevailed over competition from their ideological flank in lopsided districts where general elections are forgone conclusions.

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