The past election, and the ensuing mass opposition to the Trump presidency, have brought to boil a long simmering debate about how Democrats should approach campaigning in contested parts of the country.

To the frustration of many progressives, the Democratic party has generally sought right-leaning candidates to run in right-leaning states and districts. But a handful of exceptions suggest a more conviction-driven kind of politics might work better.

Tom Perriello embodies that view. He represented Virginia’s Fifth Congressional district during the height of Democrats’ Obama-era productivity. But unlike most Democrats from GOP-leaning territory, Perriello didn’t run scared from the Democratic agenda; to the contrary, he embraced it. Now, he hopes to bring the same ethos to the Virginia governor’s mansion. He joined us in studio to talk about his race, and whether it is a microcosm of the biggest debate in Democratic politics.

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