Sarah Robinson said she almost didn’t answer the door.
“I peeked through the window and was like, ‘That’s Alec Baldwin. OK,’” said the 28-year-old graphic designer on the porch of her home in the Chesterfield County suburb of Bayhill Pointe.
Baldwin introduced Robinson to a less familiar face: Amanda Pohl, a Democrat running for state Senate against Republican Amanda Chase, who has represented the district for four years.
Baldwin, who made a swing through Virginia Tuesday to campaign for Democrats, is among a growing number of celebrities urging voters to the polls to support the party in elections that typically fly under the radar, both locally and nationally.
Earlier this month, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, a Hanover County native, recorded a song promoting Democratic Del. Debra Rodman’s campaign for Senate. (“She’s a mom and an educator who knows gun violence ain’t no way to live a healthy life.”)
Comedian Patton Oswalt, who grew up in Loudoun County, posted a video he shot in his car promoting Del. John Bell’s Senate campaign. (“He is going to introduce all kinds of amazing reforms.”)
Actor and comedian Wanda Sykes recorded a video on behalf of Martha Mugler’s House of Delegate’s campaign in Hampton. (“You may know me as a comedian or an actor but in real life, I was born in Portsmouth and went to Hampton University. Go Pirates.”)
Baldwin, best known recently for his impersonation of President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, is perhaps the biggest national name to wade into the races and the only so far to come campaign in person.
It’s not the first time he has campaigned on behalf of local candidates. The visit was organized by the progressive advocacy group People for the American Way, for which Baldwin serves as a board member. The celebrity video messages were all organized by a group called The Hometown Project, which says its mission is to “bring cultural leaders back to their hometowns to get out the vote.”
Speaking to a crowd of about 50 people crammed into the living room of one of Pohl’s supporters, Baldwin said he was particularly interested in Virginia races because he hopes the state will be the 38th and final to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
“The idea that women would not be guaranteed equal pay is something I can’t believe we haven’t achieved in this country and here’s our chance,” he said.
After stopping in Chesterfield, he planned to travel to Fredericksburg to campaign for House candidate Joshua Cole and Senate candidate Qasim Rashid before heading to Fairfax County for an appearance with House candidate Dan Helmer.
Republicans say they’re unimpressed. “When you don’t have accomplishments, or a message, or enthusiasm, you call in C-list celebrities,” said a spokesman for House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah. “Which is why Republicans will not be asking for celebrity help.”
Pohl’s opponent, Chase, noted Baldwin’s history of losing his temper, including in a fight over a parking spot, in successive Facebook posts. “Wow!!!! … and my Socialist opponent, Amanda Pohl, is excited to receive his endorsement and go door knocking with him??” she wrote.
Baldwin arrived in Chesterfield aware of Chase’s comments about him and the senator’s own history of losing her temper over parking. (This year she cursed at a Capitol Police officer who wouldn’t let her drive into a restricted area.)
“She criticized me for having an altercation over a parking spot, and then I heard about what happened to her,” he told the room full of Pohl’s supporters as he pulled a roll of quarters out of his pocket. “So, we just wanted to say, we have a little gift. A roll of quarters for her, so when she loses this job, she can go and find all the parking spaces she needs.”
After speaking to the group, Pohl and Baldwin walked outside to knock on doors, trailed by a group of about 20 reporters, photographers and campaign aides.
Pohl said she appreciated the attention Baldwin’s visit was bringing to her race. “We have to tell the voters who we are,” she said.
How did the voters feel? Baldwin and Pohl made it to two doors – one of which was across the street from Chase’s home. Neither of the residents who answered indicated that the celebrity endorsement was likely to impact their decision making. But both said they thought it was kind of cool to meet the actor.
“Fiscally I’m a little bit conservative but on social issues, I’m more liberal,” said Robinson, the designer. But this year, she said her distaste for Trump has made her absolutely certain she’ll go to the polls to vote for Democratic candidates.
“That was lovely to meet him, but, I mean, I’ll probably just be voting that way anyway,” she said.