Virginia House of Delegates 2005 Elections

Keeping You up to date on the status of Virginia's 2005 Delegate races!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Young Candidates Under Attack

We've already discussed the attacks on candidate David Englin in the 45th. Not in the community long enough, not enough experience, etc. are all attacks that are normally launched against young candidates, especially in the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Virginia Republicans have picked up on this tactic in the 54th District race. Last week there was a debate between incumbent Bobby Orrock and challenger Shaun Kenney. An audience member asked a question about whether Kenney graduated from college.

Does anyone think that question would go to an older candidate.

We're predicting this will backfire. Voters like young candidates that can clear the bar of "being up to the job". In our opinion Englin and Kenney will clear that bar with voters making them competitive candidates. A good example of someone not clearing that bar is Steve Chapman in the 50th.

One email we received summed it up well. If Englin or Kenney can stay close with older voters this may be the difference:

"We Gen Xers (roughly the 41 and younger crowd) are really pretty tired of the baby boomers and their clones.

I'll vote for [candidate] because he's my age, because he has kids my kids age, and because he's (I hope) not obsessed with or driven by the stale post-Vietnam style of Democratic politics. I'm done with the boomers."

Like Mother, Like Son

A few of you in Northern Virginia may remember in 2003 when unopposed Fairfax Supervisor Sharon Bulova tried to send out an endorsement piece for her son David Bulova into her Braddock District, and accidentally mailed the entire mailing to Reston and Vienna in another district and wasted $10,000 or so.

Like Mother Like Son....

Our Fairfax sources tell us telephone lines have been ringing off the hook in Steve Shannon's district with Bulova phone surveys on his primary in another district.

It really isn't that difficult to get a list of voters in your district is it?

Has anyone else had this problem besides the Bulova's?

In addition we will be looking at Bulova's report to see what phone company he is using. A few callers have reported that the paid phone banker calling them had a heavy Indian accent. If Bulova hired a company that outsourced the calls he could have really stepped in it.

We're watching Janet Oleszek carefully. With Bulova's fumbles she can move this primary back into a tossup if she makes her move now.

Monday, May 30, 2005

15 Days Away- Open Thread

Likely voters are finally focused on these primary campaigns. This weekend and next weekend most voters will start to make their final decision.

What are you seeing on the ground in your area? Mail? Any personal calls or visits from a candidate or volunteer this weekend? Anyone going negative?

This thread is wide open for your citizen reporting!

45th District- Washington Post Editorial

We can not remember the last time the Post did an editorial this long in a primary for a Delegate seat. It's very strange especially on Memorial Day, a major day for the Editorial Page. Even more strange was the ink it got for not actually endorsing any candidate.

Any ideas who pulled strings here? Is an Editorial Board member in the 45th or did a candidate know somebody? If it's a candidate, Jim Lay is the obvious guess for planting it, we have seen no other article give him so much credibility.

Our feeling on it is that it was planted, and is going towards Lay's outreach to Republicans that we reported on earlier. This may be a strongly Democratic district, but if Lay can get Republicans to crossover he may have an outside shot.

Where we stand overall

So far we have covered 89 of the 100 Delegate seats up this year. This week we are working on stories on the campaigns in the 64th District (William Barlow, incumbent) and the 58th District (Rob Bell, incumbent). For 6 seats in Southwest Virginia (Districts 2-7) we are going to wait to cover until after the filing deadline. Campaigns get started a little later in that part of Virginia. Also, we are going to hold off on covering the 91st (Tom Gear, incumbent) and 96th (Melanie Rapp, incumbent) until we get a better hold on exactly what the Democrats are doing there, and their potential strength. It may turn out to be nothing, but both of those Delegates could be vunerable to a strong challenge.

That leaves one race we forgot to cover. The 98th District will return moderate Republican Delegate Harvey Morgan to Richmond.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

67th District

Old Rating: Likely Republican
New Rating: Safe Republican
Primary Outlook: TossUp

Our Western Fairfax Democratic source tells us that recruitment for a serious Democrat to oppose Chris Craddock (should he win the GOP nomination) has failed. We can now call this a Safe Republican seat, the winner on June 14th between Craddock and incumbent Gary Reese will go to Richmond.

SUNDAY UPDATE: The Washington Post covered this tossup this morning.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

1st District Update

1st District

Outlook: Safe Republican (for now)

Lots of emails coming in this morning in regards to the announcement of Rex McCarty to challenge Terry Kilgore in the 1st Delegate District. Rex is a good candidate, strong for his district, and we have nothing bad to say about him.

But he isn’t going to win.

This area of Virginia which used to be even between Democrats and Republicans has been moving to the GOP quickly.

In the precincts that make up the 1st Delegate District check out the last 3 Presidential Elections (major parties only):

Clinton 51.3
Dole 48.7

Gore 43.1
Bush 56.9

Kerry 36.8
Bush 63.2

Or this.

In 1996, when Mark Warner lost a race for the U.S. Senate he carried the 1st Delegate District by over 3,500 votes- one of his biggest wins outside of any majority African American district.

However, in 2001, when he ran and won statewide for Governor, he lost the 1st Delegate District by 500 votes, with Kaine and McEachin even further behind.

You’ll remember that was after Warner made this area of the state his #1 priority in the campaign (“Hero of the Hills”). That campaign was effective. Given how quickly this area is going GOP it could have been a lot worse.

Democrats want this race badly, and for obvious reasons. Nothing would be sweeter for Dems then to defeat Jerry Kilgore’s twin brother.

Even though this is a Safe Republican seat, there is one chance for Democrats....

Mama Kilgore, the registrar of Scott County has been caught with her "hand in the voting jar" in some recent elections, including the overturned Gate City Mayor’s race. If she wants Terry to stay in the House, this had better be the cleanest election ever run in Southwest Virginia. Everyone is watching closely. One whiff of anything unusual, even just a hint of it, could make this race competitive and quickly. This area may be trending Republican, but they won’t let the GOP win any other way then the most votes.

The Kilgore's consolidating too much power was a big reason why the GOP lost the Scott County Board of Supervisors in 2003. They better be careful to realize that, because outside of that issue they have an easy win here.

Friday, May 27, 2005

45th District Update

First, goodbye jim has deleted its post about meeting up for Englin. Apparently another candidate began linking to it to drive voters away from Englin. Now there is another post telling people why Moran supporters are for Englin. I'm sure it helps Englin to have it down, but it would have been better for him if it never existed in the first place. Everyone can see right through the second post also, so that isn't doing much for him either.

Another issue we touched on here- were Van Landingham's comments to the Arlington Connection intentional? Did she really mean to lay into everyone running for her seat?

Apparently the answer is Yes, and she went back on the attack in the Washington Post this morning.

This time it was a solo effort right at David Englin.

Van Landingham also voiced the criticism of some party insiders who see Englin as a pushy upstart. Englin and his wife, Shayna, a public relations manager, moved to Alexandria two years ago. He led a local group of veterans working for the presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass).

"Englin is working very, very hard, but he's done nothing except for the presidential campaign last fall," Van Landingham said. "In Alexandria and Arlington, you need to have done something for the community beforehand."

Now that it is clear Marian is going to try to defeat David Englin, it's time for him to step up and offer a comment to these attacks. I would be surprised if the Englin's choose to ignore them, like John Kerry ignored the swift boat attacks...

Another point in the article was some strange campaign tactics:

"Others have tried offbeat approaches. Mandala, who chairs Alexandria's commission on women, sent out a news release touting herself as the candidate for "dog owners' rights."

Ahem. That would explain why the rumors are so persistent about Mandala being a bitch. Or maybe this does....

An Email Source tells us

Mandala's mail is on the street! In her latest piece she attacks David Englin for only living here two years instead of her "15 years in the community" (i.e. not in the district).

We find this to be unbelievable! Englin was in the Air Force serving his country. He was in the Pentagon on September 11th. Now, some woman who's campaign issue is dog rights is going to attack him for serving his country?!?!?! WHAT!?!?!? If a candidate is 30, and has served in the military, does anyone expect him to have lived in his current home a long time? Of course not.

In our opinion that kind of attack on America disqualifies a candidate from office.

Rating Change- 75th District

Old Rating: Likely Democratic
New Rating: Safe Democratic

We've looked into this district a little more, the open seat currently held by Del. Paul Councill. The Democratic margin is just too big here in state elections for Republicans to win in November. We're ready to call this race to the winner of the June 14th Democratic Primary.

Campaign Websites

Can anyone help me find campaign sites for any of the following?

Allen Dudley for Delegate (R-9th)
David Young for Delegate (R-10th)
Dick Hobson for Delegate (D-45th)
Hilda Barg for Delegate (D-52nd)
Brad Marrs for Delegate (R-68th)
Melvin Law for Delegate (D-71st)
Don McEachin for Delegate (D-74th)
Floyd Miles for Delegate (D-74th)
Jim Councill for Delegate (D-75th)
Jerry Flowers for Delegate (D-75th)
Roslyn Tyler for Delegate (D-75th)
Deborah Goodwyn for Delegate (D-75th)
Peter Schmidt for Delegate (R-82nd)
Paula Miller for Delegate (D-87th)
Michael Ball for Delegate (R-87th)
Algie Howell (D-90th)
Keela Boose (D-90th)
Rob Whittman (R-99th)
Linda Crandell (D-99th)

Those are the ones I am missing (so far)

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Campaigns are well known to be slow starting here, right on the North Carolina border. We waited for a while to call these, but we are ready now.

Two Delegates return to Richmond:

60th: Clarke Hogan
61st: Tommy Wright

Nothing exciting to add to this- both district were represented by Democrats for decades, now they are Republican and the Democrats don't seem to care. Neither district is a knockout if the Democrats decided to field a viable candidate.

Statewide Primaries (Republicans)

The Republican party with both a deep party bench and a large party rift is going to have a much more exciting June primary than the Democrats. Here's the lowdown:

In the primary for Governor former Attorney General Jerry Kilgore is taking on Warrenton Mayor George Fitch. Fitch is not a bad candidate, but this is not the right campaign for him. Kilgore has taken a large lead and will crush him on June 14th. Fitch's campaign may be a favor to Kilgore- a Governor's primary will attract more voters than a downballot primary. Because of this primary, expect the GOP to nearly double the Democrats in turnout on June 14th. This will serve the Republicans well, as their last two major primary lists (2000 and 1996) were infested with Democratic crossover (for McCain and John Warner). This list will give Kilgore a grassroots advantage with organization and fundraising. Come June 15th, Tim Kaine may be wishing he had gotten a minor primary opponent.

For the downballot House primaries, the Kilgore campaign is going to have a slightly positive effect for all of the incumbents running. By ensuring decent turnout, the challengers will have to appeal to a broader group of Republicans to unseat the incumbents. It's not a major impact, but will help them a little.

Looking towards November, a Kilgore campaign's effect on the general House races is hard to tell. If conventional wisdom is correct that Kilgore is weakest in Northern Virginia, it could hurt the Republicans with some of the closest House races are up there. However the same conventional wisdom has Kilgore winning by a large margin in western Virginia, perhaps giving an advantage to Republican challengers in increasingly GOP leaning southwest Virginia.

The GOP primary for Lt. Governor is a heads up battle between Senator Bill Bolling of Hanover County, and Sean Connaughton, Chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors. This has been the most fun to watch as both candidates seem to have the exact same message. "I Cut Taxes. He Raised Taxes!" The advantage is to Bolling here. The Richmond area will outvote the DC suburbs in a Republican primary. For Connaughton to win, he has to take Hampton Roads. While biographically, the area is very close to Connaughton, they are closer to Bolling ideologically. Because of that we expect to see a fairly even split here. If Connaughton is close going into western Virginia he has a shot. Bolling's organization is suspect there, and many voters may be looking out for the strongest running mate for Jerry Kilgore. Connaughton will win those voters that are looking to help Kilgore.

Overall though, Connaughton probably needs Southwest, Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia to beat Bolling. It's hard to see all that falling into place.

Looking towards November, Bolling doesn't do much in the competitive House races. Richmond area seats are pretty safe for both parties.

A Connaughton upset in the primary would be a major boon to Republicans running in Northern Virginia. In particular, it would make us re-evaluate the McQuigg-Porta race (currently likely GOP, with Connaughton would become safe), the Frederick-Barg race (currently toss up, with Connaughton it would become lean GOP) and the Albo-Werkheiser race (currently lean GOP, with Connaughton it would probably stay there instead of trending towards a tossup). In addition, if Chap Petersen and Leslie Byrne both lost the other primary, and Connaughton won here, we would have to take a look at it's impact on the 35th, 37th and 41st.

In the Attorney General's Primary, Delegate Bob McDonnell is taking on Richmond attorney Steve Baril. This one seems to lean towards McDonnell, although a lot of questions remain. If Baril can hold the Richmond area vote, he will have a chance to win. A similar dynamic may be working out with Bolling/Baril in the Richmond area as Kaine/McEachin in the 2001 primary. If both Bolling and Baril push a large turnout of their voters, and then get the others voters in the Richmond suburbs it could double the impact of Richmond. However, our sources tell us that Baril and Bolling don't get along and may have trouble keeping it together to pull that off.

We think Baril will win the Richmond area by less than Bolling and get crushed in Hampton Roads. Like Connaughton he will need to win the other two areas of the state (Northern Virginia and Southwest). McDonnell should have enough endorsements to hold him off in both areas- so McDonnell looks like a good bet for the nomination.

Being from Richmond, Baril won't have a big impact on the November House races if nominated.

McDonnell would impact at least two of our currently competitive House races. His open seat which is rated a likely Republican might be safe if McDonnell is on the ticket. Also, the 87th District, which is a tossup rematch between Paula Miller and Michael Ball would be impacted with a McDonnell victory as having a Hampton Roads candidate on the ticket would boost GOP turnout and help Ball. That race has otherwise been trending towards a lean democratic, so a McDonnell win would help keep it as a toss up.

Specific House Primaries

23rd District

Outlook: Safe Bryant

Preston Bryant was one of the leaders of last years budget, and is being challenged by former Lynchburg Councilman Robert Garber. We've already called this one for Bryant, Garber got in too late and has not run a strong enough campaign to defeat the incumbent.

30th District

Outlook: Toss Up

Freshman Delegate Ed Scott is being challenged by local minister Mark Jarvis. This primary will be decided on turnout. Jarvis needs a strong turnout from his base of support in Culpeper. If he can get that he can win this election. Ed Scott is looking for crossover support to help save him. A weak incumbent, plus a strong campaign by the challenger leaves this race as a total tossup.

33rd District

Outlook: Leans May

Joe May has gone back and forth as a conservative Republican, and a moderate Republican. His vote for last years budget brought him challenger Chris Oprison. Oprison moved here to run, had some issues with his petitions, and is being widely outspent. Yet, May has still not put him away. Outside of the lack of local knowledge, Oprison is a good fit for this district.

Oprison also has one card up his sleeve that we haven't covered yet. A large part of the 33rd is in Russ Potts Senate district. These Loundon precincts went overwhelmingly against Potts in the 2003 primary. So Oprison has a list of conservatives willing to show up in June, and vote out an incumbent. Not bad. Joe May has the advantage, but this one isn't over yet.

35th District

Outlook: Toss Up

The 35th, once represented by JeanneMarie Devolities (pre-Davis) is now held by Democrat Steve Shannon. The Republican primary to challenge him is a tossup between Ed Robinson and Jim Hyland. Both have strengths and weaknesses, but it is beginning to appear that Robinson will be the stronger candidate going into November. Hyland knows more people locally, so this one should go down to the wire on election night. Either candidate will be a slight underdog to Shannon in November.

37th District

Outlook: Leans Mason

The primary for Chap Petersen's open seat is getting hot and nasty. Jim Kaplan has been attacking the late entry into the race, former Fairfax Mayor John Mason. It might stick some and lower Mason's margin, but it is hard to imagine the former Mayor losing to Kaplan who has very little knowledge of this district. In fact, as of tonight, Kaplan still hasn't even updated his website to note he has a primary in 20 days. Mason has been endorsed by the current Fairfax Mayor and most of the Council- all of which were very active in his 2002 defeat for re-election. Expect Mason to move into the general election as the slight favorite over the Democratic primary winner.

41st District

Outlook: Likely Golden

Michael Golden who got into this race as a conservative challenger to Delegate Jim Dillard has now become the clear frontrunner to be the GOP nominee for his open seat. Primary opponent Bill Finnerfrock is still running his campaign from 1989 for Delegate, and hasn't made much progress in the last 16 years. This one won't be that close- and will set up an exciting November tossup.

50th District

Outlook: Safe Parrish

We've discussed this one enough. Harry Parrish will easily defeat his challenger Steve Chapman. After the campaign, the over/under bets on the jail sentence are at 18 months.

54th District

Outlook: Toss Up

The 54th district is the best chance for an upset of an incumbent on primary night. Challenger Shaun Kenney has done a great job in his campaign against incumbent Bobby Orrock. Combined with Bolling turnout on election day, Orrock has an uphill fight to hold his seat.

Our sources tell us Democratic Committee members are openly supporting Orrock and planning to crossover in this primary. It's a good strategy for Orrock- it may be the only way he can survive. If Kenney loses VCAP may go 0-5 against incumbents.

55th District

Outlook: Safe Hargrove

In Hanover County, the most conservative County in Virginia, one of the most conservative legislators in the state Frank Hargrove is being challenged by an aide to the most liberal Republican Rod Clemmons. If it were not so strange it would be pretty funny. Hargrove will crush him in what may be the biggest blowout of the night.

67th District

Outlook: Toss Up

2nd term Delegate Gary Reese is being challenged by conservative activist Chris Craddock. This will be a very close one. Reese won the nomination four years ago with 39% of the vote, with two more conservative candidates splitting the other 61%. If Craddock can get those same voters to the polls he should have the advantage. Conservative Senator Ken Cuccinelli also represents this district, while he has not endorsed his organization is pushing Craddock hard. Reese is looking for the crossover help he got in 2001, we'll see if it is there for him again.

82nd District

Outlook: Leans Purkey

A real fight has broken out in Virginia Beach for a House of Delegates seat! Incumbent Bob Purkey is being challenged by Virginia Beach Councilman Peter Schmidt. Our GOP sources tell us this is splitting the party- old versus young. Purkey's incumbency gives him the edge, and older voters are more likely to vote in this primary. But don't count out Schmidt who represents all of this district and more on the City Council.

83rd District

Outlook: Safe Wardrup

Incumbent Leo Wardrup is being challenged by Delceno Miles, a local education activist. Miles is a good candidate, but she doesn't have the resources or organization to defeat Wardrup. She will be a force to be reckoned with when this seat becomes open.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

35th District- GOP Primary

Outlook: Toss Up

When we got the email tip account, we also turned on the feature to see the comments as they were coming in.

Apparently for the past few weeks we missed a long discussion going on about the 35th District GOP Primary.

Check it out here. I'm tired just from reading it.

Email Tips

Email tips can now go to

All tips will be treated as anonymous unless you specify otherwise. I will not reply to emails, so please put all the info you think we need in one message. Thanks very much.

Religion and Republican Primaries

30th District

Outlook: Safe Republican
Primary Outlook: Toss Up

This could be one of the closest primaries of the year. Mark Jarvis seems to have a good strategy here of trying to unite the anti-tax wing of the GOP with the social conservatives. He also has a geographic advantage over his opponent, incumbent Ed Scott. This is a district where Democrats have voted in GOP primaries before, and Scott will need that again this year to win.


By Bob Gibson
Daily Progress staff writer

MADISON - The Rev. Mark Jarvis says an anti-tax group recruited him to run for the House of Delegates, yet his passion for the race is inspired more by Christian activism than by budgetary fervor.

"I've got 40 endorsements from pastors," including friend and mentor the Rev. Jerry Falwell of Lynchburg, Jarvis said after praying over a luncheon meal of barbecue, slaw and beans at the Pig-N Steak.

Jarvis is challenging Del. Edward T. Scott, R-Madison County, in a June 14 Republican primary in the Orange-Madison-Culpeper 30th House District. With no Democrat or independent running, the primary again will be the election determining who will represent the Republican-leaning district in Richmond the next two years.

Scott, 39, handily won the seat two years ago in a three-way June GOP primary and is defending it as a businessman with a legislative record he calls solidly conservative and pro-family. He has won endorsements this spring from the National Rifle Association, the Virginia Education Association's political action committee and the Virginia Hunting Dog Owners' Association.

He is one of six Republican delegates facing a primary challenge as a result of a 2004 vote for a budget compromise that included a $1.4 billion tax increase.

Jarvis, 54, may have been recruited by the leadership of his campaign's biggest contributor, the Virginia Conservative Action PAC, but his politics are less corporate boardroom than country pulpit.

A 1980 graduate of Liberty University, Jarvis believes "the church and family and government have got to work together" to promote the Judeo-Christian values upon which the nation's founders based America's greatness.

"America's great because America's good," he said. "If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

A Republican since he started working for Ronald Reagan's campaigns in Lynchburg, Jarvis speaks earnestly and sincerely about his desire to help put God in the middle of the public square.

"We need to get God's presence back in our public life," he insisted.

"I'm not running against Ed Scott," he said. "I am running for a world view that's made America a light to the world. That's the Judeo-Christian principles. That's having God back in government [and] bringing our Ten Commandments back and teaching morals."

Activist judges are to blame for taking God out of government, Jarvis said. "No legislative body has ever said it's illegal to have voluntary Bible study and prayer in our schools - never. It's always been an activist judge."

Scott, an Episcopalian who grew up in the district and earned an animal science degree at Virginia Tech, is as soft-spoken a voice of business and community consensus as Jarvis is an outspoken advocate of Christian political activism.

The manager of retail operations for the Culpeper Farmers' Cooperative, Scott's experience in government and politics includes eight years on the Madison County Planning Commission, three as chairman, two as director of governmental affairs for the Virginia Agribusiness Council and the past two as delegate.

"I bring a businessman's perspective to this job," Scott said. "I've tried in the last two years to address a wide range of challenges within the 30th District," advancing what he called fiscally conservative policies while seeking responsible levels of additional funding for education and transportation.

"It's a record of targeted tax cuts" as well as support for the budget compromise of 2004 to end a protracted budget crisis, Scott said. "Somebody had to go to work to see that we did reach an agreement on a budget for schools, for public safety."

Scott portrays himself as "a guy who was born and raised here and has been active in the community" while alluding to the contributions and support for Jarvis from the anti-tax Virginia Conservative Action PAC. The anti-tax group gave Jarvis $17,667 and anti-tax movement leader Paul C. Jost of Williamsburg donated $5,000, yielding $22,667 of the $27,457 the Jarvis campaign had raised through March 31.

"In the end, I'm not sure the people of Culpeper, Madison and Orange want somebody outside the district telling them who their delegate should be," Scott said.

"I am more than happy to talk about my values," he said. Scott co-sponsored a bill permitting prayer prior to the start of government meetings, which passed, and legislation allowing school boards to prohibit the use of school facilities by any student club or group that encourages or promotes sexual activity by unmarried minor students, which failed.

Scott said he voted for legislation to expand the freedom of religious _expression on public property, including schools. "Ed Scott is a conservative, faithful delegate," he said. "My voting record reflects that. The personal values that were instilled in me and which I am trying to instill in my daughter reflect that, and I've supported every significant piece of pro-family legislation in the past two years, from marriage to prayer."

He said he is grateful for his endorsement this week by the NRA. "I am interested in sportsmen and conservation issues," Scott said. "I think I had an opportunity to show the depth to which I've gotten engaged in the issues of our community."

Anonymous Unblocked

This afternoon for a few hours we blocked the anonymous comments. Someone was putting up some messages that crossed the line.

We've unblocked anonymous so everyone can post again. If it happens again, anonymous will be forever blocked. Please don't do that to this blog, we are reliant on anonymous tips. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Statewide Primaries (Democrats)

In three weeks the Republican primary for Gov, Lt. Gov and Attorney General, as well as the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor will have a major impact on what happens in the House primaries, and in the House races in November. Here's a look at where the statewide field stands and who is impacted in the House races.

Today we will cover the Democrats. Tomorrow, the Republicans.


Democrats have only one primary statewide. Their ticket of Tim Kaine for Governor (Richmond) and Creigh Deeds for Attorney General (Bath County) is the start of a geographically balanced one, but not particularly helpful in competitive House races.

For whatever reason, Tim who ran better in the Richmond suburbs then any other Democrat in recent history in 2001, has not attracted strong House candidates to run with him there. We just don't understand this as Democrats fielded very strong Richmond area candidates in 2001 like Ed Barber and John Montgomery. We expected the same and more this year with Tim Kaine but nothing has materialized.

Creigh Deeds represents the western part of Virginia on the Democratic ticket. With the exception of Lowell Fulk in Harrisonburg, no competitive House race lies with 100 miles of him. Again, while he may be a strong statewide candidate, he is not going to be able to have a big impact on the House races.

So that leaves Lt. Governor's race as the only one that can really benefit the Democratic House candidates. Here's the candidates and who's rooting for them:

Phil Puckett is from Tazewell, Virginia deep in the Southwest. The fighting 9th which for years has been near parity between Democrats and Republicans took a sharp turn right in last Novembers Presidential contest. With Jerry Kilgore leading the GOP ticket Republicans are looking at this year as an opportunity to seize control of the Southwest. Democratic House incumbents who may be fighting hard to survive are looking to Phil Puckett to win the nomination and help them win in November. Right now that looks like a long shot.

On the inverse, many competitive races are in Northern Virginia. The greatest challenge for Democrats there is turnout. In Northern Virginia more Democrats then Republicans are "federal" voters. These Democrats are younger and much more liberal then Virginia. Phil Puckett will do nothing to help the ticket attract them to the polls, and so while southwest incumbents want Puckett badly, Northern Virginia challengers are wincing at the possibility.

Leslie Byrne in internal polls leads the contest for Lt. Governor. A pro-union, pro-choice Northern Virginian, Leslie lost her seat in Congress fighting to pass the Clinton agenda in 1994. That earned her amazing name recognition rates. Her primary frontrunner status is partly based on the fact that Democrats overwhelmingly approved of her performance in Congress and to this day continue to like her. A negative is Republicans remember her and have a massive disapproval of her in Northern Virginia. With many more Democrats as "federal voters" in Northern Virginia, she could be a major boost to challengers if her candidacy can bring out a few hundred voters in each district that otherwise wouldn't have voted. With her strong union ties, Leslie will surprise some Republicans as the second choice of Democrats in the union heavy areas of the Southwest.

The House candidates in other areas are not thrilled about Leslie on the ticket. She won't add a lot to helping Lowell Fulk, Ward Armstrong or candidates in Tidewater. Based on recent intelligence, they may just have to deal with it. Leslie looks like the front runner to win the nomination.

J. Chapman "Chap" Petersen is the youngest and most energetic Democrat running. As far as house races go, he probably is the second best to help Democrats in Northern Virginia pick up house seats. Chap won't bring out a lot of voters, but he will be a friendly face to campaign with those candidates. No candidates in any part of Virginia are concerned about Chap hurting their chances in November. But very few think he adds anything to their effort either.

Chap's biggest weakness is a lack of a base. You just can't be nominated without any winning at least one Democratic voter group. Unions? Nope. Pro-Choicers? Nope. His own area of Northern Virginia? Nope.

Viola Baskerville has been the biggest disappointment of this campaign. At the beginning with a strong African American base she looked to be the frontrunner. But since then she has failed to broaden her appeal, and has seen parts of her own base turn on her in Richmond. Her campaign will effect some House primaries, but won't affect anything in November because she won't be on the ticket.

Specific House primaries

37th District

Current Rating: Leans Bulova

In this primary for Chap Petersen's Delegate seat the statewide primary will have a major impact. This is not only Chap's seat, but also has been represented by Leslie Byrne at all levels of government at times over the last two decades. If Leslie runs even in the Fairfax COUNTY precincts here, it will be a big boost to Janet Oleszek who is the more liberal primary candidate. However in Fairfax CITY, where Oleszek is stronger then opponent David Bulova, Oleszek needs Petersen to run strong. In short, part of the reason this primary leans Bulova is it would be hard for both to happen at the same time. That's probably what Oleszek needs to pull the upset.

45th District

Current Rating: Toss Up (Englin and Garvey)

The statewide primary probably will have less impact here then the 45th primary has on them. Leslie Byrne will probably run strong here, but in the 8th district, the turnout will be more generated by the House candidates, with her benefiting from that then vise versa. The only wildcard here may be Baskerville. If Baskerville can help turnout some African Americans here that could have an impact. It's hard to tell who it would help though.

57th District

Old Rating: Likely Toscano
New Rating: Safe Toscano

In this safe Democratic district, we can now project former Mayor David Toscano as the winner of the Democratic primary and the new Delegate from the 57th District, replacing Mitch Van Yahres. The statewide primary can't impact a race that's over.

71st District

Rating: Toss Up

In the race to replace Viola Baskerville, the incumbent looms large. A majority of her supporters will vote for her chosen replacement, Jennifer McClellan. But with Leslie Byrne and Chap Petersen campaigning hard here, and anyone not voting for Viola much more likely to support Melvin Law this primary will go down to the wire. Here's our guess to the formula that will determine the winner.

Viola 75% or more- McClellan wins
Viola 65%-75%- Toss Up (most likely scenario in her House district)
Viola 65% or less- Law wins

74th District

Rating: Leans McEachin

Incumbent Floyd Miles must be frustrated. Statewide candidates all target voters who have voted in Democratic primaries before. So in the 74th, they are all pushing the 2001 primary list. Donald McEachin's list. Basically they are all helping Donald (without even trying). Miles must wonder if he is ever going to catch a break in this one.

75th District

Rating: Toss Up

None of the statewide candidates have a base here, so don't expect them to impact this wide open race in the 75th. If anyone can impact this one it could be Viola Baskerville. Heavy African American turnout could benefit Roslyn Tyler. But we don't see that happening.

90th District

Outlook: Likely Howell

Again, the statewide shouldn't have a big impact here in Norfolk. This primary is coming down to one thing. Were voters embarrassed enough by Howell and his "droopy drawers" bill to turn him out of office? We don't think so, but it will be worth watching to get the verdict.

David Englin's worst nightmare

If this happens we don't know if Englin can hold his coalition together. This must be his worst nightmare. Let's see what happens next.

Monday, May 23, 2005

50th District

It's come to our attention that we were wrong. In fact Senator Ken Cuccinelli has endorsed Steve Chapman.

This won't change our call of this race for Harry Parrish. If Ken wanted to something nice for Steve, he should bake him some cookies. We hear the food sucks in prison.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Van Landingham speaks out

Right when voters are starting to pay attention to next month's primary Marian Van Landingham (MVL) has jumped into the fray in her district. Her comments on each candidate are in bold, followed by our critique.

Libby Garvey

MVL: "Chances are high for Arlington School Board Chairwoman Libby Garvey. Although Garvey is a relative newcomer to Alexandria politics, Van Landingham said, she has gained key endorsements from Democratic leaders in Mt. Vernon and is already well known in the Arlington precincts. With 40 percent of the district now outside Alexandria, Van Landingham said Garvey could take the race by leveraging that support.

That's a nod at Libby Garvey, and by not attacking her as she did some of the others it looks pretty clear that MVL wants Libby to win. This is a great thing for Libby as MVL's base is in Alexandria, if Libby can pull some of that along with the areas outside of Alexandria she will win. MVL has to know this.

David Englin

MVL:"David is a very nice young man but he hasn't been around very long," she said, pointing out that he only became active in local politics during the November 2004 elections. "It's unusual to have someone who hasn't paid their community dues to turn around and run for office."

Van Landingham — who worked with Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) both during his tenure as mayor of Alexandria and in the U.S. House — also questioned Englin's role in Andy Rosenberg's 2004 Democratic campaign for Congress. A significant segment of his support, she said, comes from Democrats dissatisfied with Moran's leadership.

Ouch!!! MVL knows this is basically a three way race between Garvey, Englin and Mandala. This will hurt David Englin with some older voters, and it hurts him because of it helping Garvey, but this doesn't kill him. Younger voters, most likely to support Englin are the least likely to care what MVL thinks.

Laura Mandala

MVL: "As for Mandala, Van Landingham credited her role on Alexandria's Women's Commission but noted that she moved into the district to run for the 45th seat. Mandala's campaign financing, she said, is also telling. According to state finance records, the bulk of Mandala's campaign money, $57,000, comes from her longtime friend Edward Spoden."That's really strange," Van Landingham said. "It doesn't show that she has community support."

Laura Mandala is hurt the most by this. She needs Alexandria votes, and particularly women in Alexandria to support her. I think this may keep her from making this a three way race.

Elsie Mosqueda

MVL: "Van Landingham declined to say much about candidate and aide to Del. Brain Moran, Elsie Mosqueda because it was Van Landingham's aide who schooled Mosqueda in the early stages of her political career."

Translation: Brian already has one vote. He doesn't need two. Elsie Mosqueda must be steamed on this one.

Jim Lay

MVL: "Candidate and prosecutor Jim Lay, she said, is also a new face. Although Lay has involved himself in community work related to affordable housing, Van Landingham said he's a former Republican."And sometimes he sounds more like he's running for prosecutor than for delegate," she said."

We told you last week that was Jim Lay's strategy- GOP crossover. Since this election decides the next Delegate- don't rule it out.

Dick Hobson

MVL: "Van Landingham said former delegate Dick Hobson could also fare well, but she has seen little indication of his popularity compared to the other five Democrats in the race. "Certainly, he has a good chance," she said. "He's been elected before and he's an awfully nice guy."

Translation: Dick Hobson won't win, but Marian isn't going to attack the Delegate she replaced. If he could win, she would have kicked Garvey in the ass also.

Cuccinelli stepping in

33rd District
Outlook: Likely Republican
Primary: Leans May

A forwarded copy of the "Cuccinelli Compass" indicates that Northern Virginia's best GOP organizer may be stepping into the fight in the 33rd District. Cuccinelli makes the argument that with pending jail time facing some challengers that is has now become "illegal to be a conservative in Virginia". We have to assume this means he is stepping into the 33rd District where Chris Oprison has been threatened with legal action for his petitions in this race. This race has been tightening up a little recently, but we still are calling it as "Leans May" for now. It will be interesting to see if other conservatives join Cuccinelli in endorsing Oprison, Dick Black had a number of these precincts before redistricting. Incumbent Joe May needs a new game plan than Oprison's petitions, the public is not going to care about that.

Cuccinelli may also be referring to endorsing Steve Chapman in the 50th, but we doubt it. Ken is not that politically tone deaf.

Peninsula and outer Hampton Roads

We're ready to call four more races.

92nd and 95th Districts

Mayme Bacote and Jeion Ward both won open majority African American seats in 2003. Unlike Norfolk Democrat Algie Howell they have not introduced any legislation that endangers their seats. Until they do, they will return as Delegate for as long as they want the jobs.

93rd and 94th Districts

Glenn Oder avoided a primary for his seat after voting for last years budget. Now he'll cruise to re-election. Phil Hamilton sides with the Democrats more often then any other Republican then Jim Dillard. His challenge would also come in a primary, but since he avoided one this year he'll get back to Richmond easily.

We will hold off on calling the 64th (William Barlow), 91st (Tom Gear), and 96th (Melanie Rapp) while we gather a little more information.

Two Links

Two good links to get your Sunday going:

1) The first of many mentions of this blog in the mainstream press is here. Clearly reporter Frank Mustac is headed for great things! We expect to be mentioned frequently between now and election day as a fair source for what is happening all over Virginia. We also recognize that we are pretty quoteable (or at least better than quoting both campaigns claiming they will win!).

2) JadedJd's blog has an amazing new feature, mapping our projections in a very attractive format. Check it out here.

Check back later for some good stuff that we will post up this afternoon. We'll get into the 45th District slapdown by Marian Van Landingham, the movement in the 33rd House District primary, and also a further analysis of districts 13-34, why all 22 of them are Republicans, and what is in common in districts that start in McLean on the border with Maryland and run together all the way to Roanoke County to the south, and Fredericksburg to the east. Until Democrats can crack some of these areas, they will not be competitive to hold a majority in the House of Delegates.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

East of Roanoke

9th District
Outlook: Likely Republican

Allen Dudley, a 6 term incumbent, has a challenger in lawyer Eric Ferguson. The 9th District includes all of Franklin and Floyd Counties and part of Pittsylvania County.

Dudley was one of the first major GOP victories here, when Democrat Virgil Goode used to control Franklin County. Now they share one machine.

Ferguson is energetic and seems to be touching on some good local issues. Our sources tell us that he is the best candidate the Democrats have had in a while in these counties.

To have any chance to win Ferguson will have to carry Franklin County by a sizeable margin, enough to offset his losses in Floyd and Pittsylvania. It's not impossible, given Mark Warner's narrow victory in this district.

However, in this district where voters chose Mark Warner in 2001, then the same voters did not chose Tim Kaine on the same ballot, it doesn't look like Ferguson will get a lot of help from the top of the ticket. We're calling this Likely Republican for now, but keep your eye on this one. Ferguson just may be a good enough candidate to make this very interesting.

14th District
Outlook: Safe Republican

Whatever happened to the conservatives primaring Danny Marshall? Danny who came into office with Whitt Clement's blessing, then moved into his house, won't face any problems in this district outside of a Republican Primary. It is worth noting that Danville City, which is in this district went very narrowly for John Kerry last year. If the high unemployment here continues to trend the area Democratic, then this may be the scene of a future high stakes battle.

16th District
Outlook: Safe Republican

Robert Hurt will win again. "Who's that", you may wonder. Here's his formula for success:

Conservative Areas + GOP redistricting + no public mistakes = lifelong job as Delegate

Thursday, May 19, 2005

37th District Update

37th District
Currently #1 Hottest Race

SST has a lead story on the 37th. They are following up on what we told you last week about Mason's problems with social conservatives. We knew everyone would be visiting us to get the answers on what's going on, so here it is! Read SST first so you are caught up.

Mason is a very loyal Republican. He also is fairly conservative. What is interesting is that it's the social conservatives raising a ruckus about Mason- when it should be the economic conservatives. We can guess, based on intelligence from Fairfax City, that Mason would be the right of Chap on social issues, and probably to the left of him on taxes. Mason has a long record of tie breaking votes in the City that almost always sided with higher taxes/more spending. However these rumors that Mason is not a well known Republican are false. The Mayor's office may be nonpartisan, but John Mason is well known in Fairfax for being an active Republican.

The Tim Kaine event in 2003 got more than just Mason suckered in. We'll talk more about that another time, but numerous Republicans attended that event, not knowing what it was for. Many were steaming after that event.

Now, more importantly: the controversy with Tom Davis, and JeanneMarie Devolities-Davis and who they are supporting. Here's the scoop:

Kaplan lived in Vienna, in JeanneMarie's old house district. With strong candidates stepping up to run against Shannon, and Kaplan not being that strong she encouraged him to move into the 37th to run. The Republicans expected Chap to hold that seat unless he won the nomination, in which case they were planning to find a way to force Kaplan out. His support from Davis-Devolities is very nominal. When Chap announced he would leave the seat open, and with the Dem primary becoming more clear that he would not be nominated (giving the GOP a better shot in November) Tom Davis stepped in and personally recruited Mason. JeanneMarie having asked Kaplan to move there had already pledged her support. Tom is not publicly for Mason because he sees no reason to step out against his wife with Mason favored in the primary to win.

However, make no mistake about it. Tom Davis's "people" are running Mason's campaign, and Tom is making it known that he intends to help Mason pick up this seat in the heart of the 11th district.

The average voter isn't going to know any of this. The confusion is going to benefit Kaplan in the short term. So we are rerating the Republican primary.

Old Rating: Likely Mason
New Rating: Leans Mason

With a Kaplan upset more possible now, and given how weak Kaplan would be in the general election, we are rerating the overall race.

Old Rating: Leans Republican
New Rating: Toss Up

In case you are having trouble following this race (the only double House primary in the state), here's where everything stands now

Overall Rating: Toss Up
Republican Primary: Leans Mason
Democratic Primary: Leans Bulova
Mason v. Bulova: Leans Republican (PICKUP)
Mason v. Oleszek: Leans Republican (PICKUP)
Kaplan v. Bulova: Leans Democratic
Kaplan v. Oleszek: Leans Democratic

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Henrico Winner

72nd District

Old Outlook: Likely Republican
New Outlook: Safe Republican

We refrained from calling the 72nd District for Jack Reid when we covered the Richmond area last month. His district favors the GOP, but frankly Reid has stuck his foot in his mouth enough times to watch it and see what happens here.

Perhaps the only thing in Henrico a little more pathetic then Reid is the Democrats of Henrico who still don't have a candidate against him. Campaigns in Richmond move faster then the ones in Southwest, so at this point we can safely call this one for Jack Reid.

Tim Kaine ran well ahead of Mark Warner in this district (unlike most of the state). I'm a little surprised that no viable Democrat wanted to run with Tim here. This was probably their best shot.

Update on two Richmond Races

71st District
Old Primary Outlook: Likely McClellan
New Primary Outlook: Toss Up

We admit it. We were flat out wrong with what we told you last week. Melvin Law in addition to support from Mayor Wilder has nailed down support from all five Richmond Councilmembers in his district, the Virginia Education Association and now the Richmond Crusade for Voters. (Thanks to Not Paul Goldman for pointing this out as it happened last night).

For those of you that don't know, the Crusade, while losing influence as it ages, is still the most important African American endorsement in Richmond by far.

We had heard the Crusade was going to endorse Law, and we planned to rerate this race "Leans McClellan" to show his momentum. But another development last night makes this truly a tossup. McClellan is banking on her support from Del. Viola Baskerville to help her as they share a ballot on June 14th. The Richmond Crusade for voters endorsed Leslie Byrne last night. We had heard this rumor yesterday- and laughed at our source when they told us this. Well the egg is on our face!

This shows Viola is much weaker then we thought. Even though she will still carry her Delegate district, it will be much closer, and that really hurts McClellan. We'll watch this one closely, but Law is really making a move here.

We'll have an article on the statewide races soon- and how they are affecting these house races.

74th District
Old Primary Outlook: Toss Up
New Primary Outlook: Leans McEachin

We rated this "Leans McEachin" to start, then changed it to a tossup when the DPVA refused to share the voter file with McEachin. That was dumb. A good source of ours yesterday pointed out: "McEachin doesn't need the voter file. All he needs is a list of all the people who voted in the 2001 primary for him for Attorney General in that district. He already will know who will show up on a nice June day for him."

Wow. We totally didn't connect that at all. McEachin doesn't need the voter file. We are returning this race to Leans McEachin like it started. And it could get ugly here. Not just the campaign, but the results.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

75th District

Open seat of Del. J. Paul Councill (D). Good five way Democratic primary going on here. No Republican candidate has come forward yet, the district is favorable to Democrats, but it is possible for an upset (particularly if Republicans had an African American nominee). For now

Outlook: Likely Democratic

The primary is wide open and could go one of four ways. This district stretches through all of Greensville and Sussex Counties, and the City of Emporia. It also includes parts of Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Lunenburg, Southampton and the City of Franklin.

Jim Councill, the Mayor of Franklin, has an advantage with name recognition from his father, the retiring Delegate. He carries supporters and opponents from his dad. His district wide name, as well as the multiple candidates against him, makes him the slight favorite. His opponents will use some past slips of the tounge to portray him as a racist.

Jerry Flowers, a two time Senate candidate from the area has a good chance of winning. Jerry ran as a Republican in 1995, and as a Democrat in a 2000 special election. He only lost the Senate seat by a slight margin in 2000. Jerry had good name recognition all over the district from his Senate campaign, and has the possibility of pulling GOP votes into the Democratic Primary. If he can get enough Democrats who liked him from his 2000 campaign to pull his lever, Republicans could spring him an upset here.

Roslyn Tyler is a Supervisor from Sussex County. This district has a heavy African American vote, and Tyler hopes to capitalize on that. If she can bring voters to this primary she absolutely could win. It also helps that the other three main candidates are white.

John Nicholson ran as an Independent for this seat in 2003. A former teacher, he has the most liberal support, getting endorsements from the AFL-CIO, the Teachers, and Pro Choice groups. Mr. Nicholson got 29% of the vote here in 2003 as the only challenger in the race, which is a decent amount, but not overwhelming. Nicholson is the dark horse that could pull the upset, but the other candidates are not giving him a lot of room to build a coalition.

Deborah Goodwyn isn't worth mentioning. She won't be a factor.

For now we see it like this.

Primary Outlook: Toss Up. Slight lean to Councill. Any of the top four could win.

Monday, May 16, 2005


37th District

Democratic Primary Outlook: Leans Bulova
Republican Primary Outlook: Likely Mason
General Election Outlook: Leans Mason (PICKUP)

A new update from the 37th. The Washington Post ran a great article yesterday about the relationship between likely Republican nominee John Mason, and Democratic Supervisor Sharon Bulova (mother of David Bulova, the possible Democratic Nominee). Sharon Bulova did her son no favors with her shot at Mason for running. Apparently the former Mayor shouldn't run against Sharon's son.

"I would never run against a good friend," she said. "Friendship means something to me. It's just not my nature to advance my political career at the expense of a friendship."

After Sharon is finished complaining about Mason running she adds she probably would have supported him if he hadn't been running against her son.

"Sharon Bulova said it's possible that she would have supported Mason had her son not been in the race. "John's a very intelligent man, and he's interested in the same things I am," she said."

So to sum it up. He can't run because her loins have selected a new Delegate. However she thinks he would do a good job.

Nice job Sharon.

Returning from the Valley

Moving south through the Valley, we have three more winners in Western Virginia.

12th District- Jim Shuler

Stretching from the Valley, to the north of Roanoke and to Virginia Tech in southwest, this district was designed to get Democrats together in one district. It worked, and after Creigh Deeds moved up to the Senate, Shuler won this seat.

22nd District- Kathy Byron

Byron has never been seriously challenged in her Bedford/Campbell County district, and won't be this year.

20th District- Chris Saxman

Saxman will win big once again.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Site Set Up

As we cover the races we are adding links to the right. In the non safe races you will soon be able to see the Presidential results for that district.

Also, in the tossups, or primaries, the candidates are listed in the order most likely to win. For example, you can see Democrats Miller and Barg have the slight advantage in tossups in the 87th and 52nd Districts, and the Republican Golden has a slight advantage in the 41st district tossup. Also, Englin has moved a hair ahead of Garvey in the 45th, and Collins has fallen back in the 57th with his arrest. Mason has moved the 37th into a lean Republican advantage for himself, and Shannon has taken lean Democratic lead in the 35th. Finally Kenney is the only GOP challenger listed above the incumbent in a primary, while McEachin is a Democrat favored in a primary tossup over the incumbent.

In the closest races this will change on a regular basis. If the lead becomes something significant, we'll let you know by changing the rating.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

75th District

Quick halftime update before the Wizards finally beat the Heat!

We've had a few requests for more information on the open 75th District (currently D). We are still working on getting information on all the candidates, and will give you whatever we have tomorrow night or Monday if we can't get anymore. Thanks for waiting, this one has been a pain in the ass to get information on. For now, the 2004 Presidential Results:

Kerry 14,971 (56.3%)
Bush 11,602 (43.7%)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Rounding Out Northern Virginia

We held back talking about these four races until we knew more. Now we are ready to update you!

39th District
Outlook: Likely Democratic

Incumbent Vivian Watts is being challenged by Michael Meunier. Michael is an energetic young candidate who has worked in national politics. Our GOP sources tell us while Michael could become a strong candidate, he is not yet organized enough to make this a serious campaign. Republicans failed to recruit local attorney Chris Craig who made two strong runs against Vivian in Democratic leaning years. In the redistricting, the 39th was changed to eliminate the strongest Democratic neighborhoods, but recent demographic changes have moved as fast as the boundaries and the 39th once again leans slightly Democratic. Vivian has a big advantage here, but this race isn't over yet.

44th District
Outlook: Safe Democratic

The 44th has been a solid Democratic area for some time. Delegate Kris Amundson has always struggled behind normal Democratic vote totals, but won two 51%-49% races by hanging on to just enough Democrats. The 44th has recently become even more Democratic. Even though the Republicans are fielding a candidate, and Kris is not the strongest incumbent, she's strong enough to hang onto this very Democratic district where John Kerry got over 58% of the vote.

51st District
Outlook: Likely Republican

Incumbent Michelle McQuigg won this seat in a 1997 special election, and became the Delegate that ended the Democratic majority. Ever since then Democrats have wanted this district back. It's not a rock solid Republican district, but it's not a tossup either. McQuigg has remained popular here and is a strong favorite to win again. The Democratic candidate Earnie Porta, is energetic and articulate, and could make this interesting with a mistake by the incumbent. We won't call this one over yet.

88th District
Outlook: Safe Republican

Democrats searched for a strong candidate to take on Mark Cole, but just couldn't come up with one. Cole is not a strong incumbent, but his district in the exurbs of Northern Virginia is solidly Republican. Without a great candidate Democrats just don't have a chance here. We'll put Cole in the winner column.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A shout out to the blogosphere (50th, 41st, and 67th)

I've been scooped on three fronts while I was busy at work today.

First, on the left, Democratic Candidate Dave Marsden chooses Howard Dean's Virginia Blog, to respond to allegations that he worked for Senator Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative Republican. It's down near the bottom, currently second from last. After you skip through the blah blah blah blah, it appears Mr. Marsden admits working for Sen. Cuccinelli, but states that it "meant to benefit Jim only, not Senator Cuccinelli." I won't say anymore, I want to know what you all think about this.

On the right, John Behan covers a new allegation against Steve Chapman, challenger in the 50th House District. To sum it up, Chapman's dog was run over last August, when he lived outside his district, and now he is going to court for it.

Chapman painfully points out his dog was named "Nixon". I'm sorry Steve, but while you are facing 10 years in prison for lying, did you just figure out a way to get Richard Nixon's name next to yours? What were you thinking?

We had downgraded this primary to "Likely Parrish" on the chance Chapman could use the original felonies charged against him to his advantage. I think everyone will agree, he didn't/couldn't, so the 50th will go into the winners column for Parrish.

Finally our friend Will Vehrs has a link to column this morning on GOP challengers all over the state.

Warren Fiske is normally a very good writer there and only handles stories occasionally (he's semi retired, semi writing books) but he missed the story here. I'm guessing from the last two playoff games he is a Wizards fan. You see, the Wizards lose when they get no assists. And primary challengers lose when they get no assists. While Craddock has a shot at an upset, skipping Kenney was a stupid move. Craddock has to upset Reese on his own, while as I noted before Kenney is getting an assist from Bill Bolling in GOTV that day.

Now, what do you all think?

Change of Rating in the 45th

We had previously rated the 45th District primary as a "Toss Up. Leans Garvey or Englin. Slight lean to Garvey between them. Candidate to watch: Mandala."

Laura Mandala who leads the money race has gone on the attack with Libby Garvey. Mandala has mailed, and is telling the press that Garvey is to blame for a major cost overrun at the new Arlington County High School. This could be a major issue on two fronts. One is obvious, with Garvey's experience as an elected official questioned, that will hurt her efforts as the "most experienced". Also, this could hurt most in Arlington County, a small part of the 45th, but absolutely crucial to Garvey.

While Englin made a mistake in his mailings that we noted last week, this could be his chance to take a clear lead in the primary. With this all out catfight breaking out between Mandala and Garvey, Englin needs to lay back and let everyone watch. For now, we are calling this a three way tossup between Englin, Garvey and Mandala, with one caveat. Englin and Garvey will be near the leaderboard on election night, Mandala could beat them both by a lot, or lose by a lot. She is a real wild card right now with the most money and the most negative campaign.

Two Indys Return

Both Independents in the House of Delegates are returning to their seats easily.

19th- Lacey Putney

59th- Watkins Abbitt

Putney was a Democrat early in his career (40 years ago) and then became an Independent. When the House was 50-50 in 1998 he chose to caucus with the Republicans, and still does, making him a safe part of their majority.

Abbitt was elected as a Democrat for more than 10 years before becoming an Independent after the last redistricting. He then began also caucusing with the Republicans. Rumor has it, that former Speaker Wilkins promised not to destroy his district, if he would become a member of the GOP. However when the House was 50-50 he stayed a Democrat, meaning that while he may be a member of the Republican Caucus now, the Republicans do not want their majority coming down to him.

One other note: Having another busy day today... Please be patient with notlarrysabato. Will have something more exciting tonight.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Primary Day in 5 weeks

And we promised you a big announcement tonight. Here it is:

On primary day June 14 our goal is to be your source of news all day long, and into the night until we know every winner. We will be attempting to track, with your help, turnout numbers all over Virginia. Where are the Democrats voting, and where are the Republicans voting. We'll get into more details later. I hope you will all participate and, when the polls close at 7 p.m., I will be here to call winners for you all night long (well before the AP reporter stops drinking and starts looking at them).

More Hampton Roads Winners

Don't have much time this morning, but we are ready to declare five more winners in Hampton Roads. All will face no threat in this election.

76th- Chris Jones

77th- Lionell Spruill

78th- John Cosgrove

79th- Johnny Joannou

80th- Ken Melvin

I'm sure this won't generate a lot of discussion, so stay on the topic from yesterday! We've got a major announcement coming out tonight.

Monday, May 09, 2005

41st District Update (5th Hottest)

Current Outlook: Toss Up

Over at Bacon's Rebellion, Phil has a piece on David Marsden. In our opinion, depending how this breaks, this issue is either Marsden's greatest asset or his greatest liability. Our guess is liability, as seen in the recent finance reports when David Marsden as the nominee of his party raised less money then Michael Golden, in a contested primary. The other candidate is 1989 Dillard Challenger Bill Finnerfrock.

Also, sometime since we stopped discussing the 41st District, someone posted about 20 comments on former candidate Brad Davis. If you want to respond to those, click here, so anonymous doesn't have to talk to himself.

What do you all think of the 41st? If Marsden is a Republican, should we just list this race as a "Safe Republican"?

Two More Valley Winners

Two more solid districts to call winners in. Both of these districts could be called "Shenandoah Valley" districts. Both could be called part of the growing "Northern Virginia exurbs". We think it's fair to call them both. They are also two solidly GOP districts.

18th District- Clay Athey

29th District- Beverly Sherwood

This won't surprise anyone, but we wanted to add them to the winner board.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Top 10 Hottest Races as of 5/8

One quick reminder- Top 10 are the 10 hottest races between Democrats and Republicans. Primaries only count if they have general election implications!


#1- 37th District- incumbent Chap Petersen, OPEN SEAT
(Up 2 From Last Top 1o)
Current Rating: Leans Republican (PICKUP)

The 37th has jumped up on our list for a few reasons. Both primaries are getting hot and tense! Social Conservatives are muttering loudly about John Mason, and his primary opponent Jim Kaplan is trying to capitalize on that. The Democratic Primary is also heating up with sharp elbows being thrown between David Bulova and Janet Oleszek. The reality is this- any of these four candidates could win their primaries and go one to become the new Delegate. Right now we are giving the edge to former Fairfax City Mayor Mason. An interesting dynamic will be very different primaries- Democrats will have a large one with Chap Petersen and Leslie Byrne bringing out their base voters here. Republicans will have a much smaller one in the 37th. The question is where- and how much difference.

Two things are possible: Petersen could pull the Fairfax City establishment in to the Democratic primary, hurting Mason, but also making the Democratic primary for Delegate more interesting- with likely Mason supporters choosing his opponent (if he survives). Or Mason could pull them into the R booth, hurting Petersen's chances of winning.

Look for an all out war to decide what primary voters participate in- and that to possibly determine the outcome.

#2- 87th District- incumbent Paula Miller, 1st Term
(Down 1 From Last Top 1o)
Current Rating: Toss Up

Paula Miller who won the special election by less than 100 votes, faces a rematch with Republican Michael Ball. No exciting developments here in the past two weeks- this has potential to be the most boring of the most exciting races. Without the spotlight that the 87th got in the special election it could be slow to get going. But we do see it being just as competitive this time.

#3- 52nd District- incumbent Jeff Frederick, 1st Term
(Down 1 From Last Top 1o)
Current Rating: Toss Up

The news from the 52nd district has been the continued fallout from Jeff Frederick's event with House Majority leader Tom Delay. Prince William Democrats have attempted to keep this in the local news. In a federal area like Prince William, it's hard to tell whether this is more or less damaging then it would be elsewhere. Yes, more people know who Delay is, but more people in metropolitan Washington are hard partisans who may not care. This won't be the deciding issue in November, but at least Hilda Barg is using it now to keep this interesting!

#4- 26th District- incumbent Glenn Weatherholtz, OPEN SEAT
(Up 2 From Last Top 1o)
Current Rating: Leans Republican

The battle of farmers is getting tense and ugly. Exactly the kind of race we like to cover on this blog! Democratic Candidate Lowell Fulk is clearly the stronger candidate. He probably is the best Democratic candidate in Virginia. He can pull Republican votes, performed with an strong 45% against the incumbent, and has better credentials. In a 50-50 district he would spank his Republican opponent Matt Lohr. But this is far from a 50-50 district, in fact it may be the most GOP district in Virginia. Lohr is staying even with money, and has avoided making any mistakes. If he can do both of those things through November he will win the election. Democrats will continue to put heavy pressure here and hope for the one mistake they need.

#5- 41st District- incumbent Jim Dillard, OPEN SEAT
(Down 1 From Last Top 1o)
Current Rating: Toss Up

Most of the action in the 41st has been the Republican primary. Michael Golden has taken a strong lead over Bill Finnerfrock there. This is the one of the closest districts in Virginia, and waiting in the wings for the winner is former Dillard/Gilmore aide David Marsden. The most information we know about Marsden's campaign is an emergency campaign meeting he has two weeks ago- and still has listed on his website. Golden seems to have the inside track to be the next Delegate, but there are a lot of developments still going to happen in the 41st. For now it's quiet and moving down on the list of the top 10.

#6- 35th District- incumbent Steve Shannon, 1st term
(Down 2 From Last Top 1o)
Current Rating: Leans Democratic

This district has changed party control more than any other district in the last 20 years. Incumbent Steve Shannon won with a lackluster 51%, running behind ticketmates Gerry Connolly and other local officials. This looked to be ripe for a Republican takeover. But a few factors are now favoring Shannon. 1- A careful voting record. 2- Republicans firing at each other. 3- An early lead for Tim Kaine in Northern Virginia. The Republican primary is a tossup between Ed Robinson and Jim Hyland, but is getting nasty. Apparently neither learned the lesson of the McDowell-Polycrones primary here in 2003, where many Polycrones supporters crossed to Shannon after he lost. Right now this leans Democratic, and could break towards a tossup or an easy hold for Shannon from here depending on what the GOP does.

#7- 42nd District- incumbent Dave Albo, 7th term
(Up 1 From Last Top 1o)
Current Rating: Leans Republican

The 42nd is the highest rated for any incumbent not in their first term. Dave Albo has always run strong here- and we have him favored to win again. His challenger Greg Werkheiser is running a strong campaign with fundraising and party support. This one will be exciting, but Werkheiser has a while to go before we call it a "toss up".

#8- 6th District- incumbent Benny Keister, 3rd term
(Unrated in the last top 10)
Current Rating: Leans Democratic

The 6th district had been Republican held until 1999 when Benny Keister won an open seat here by a significant margin. In 2003, his margin was cut significantly, he won re-election by just 49 votes over challenger Morgan Morris. Campaigns in Southwest Virginia are always slow to get started, and the Republicans have yet to nominate their candidate for this year. We'll be watching closely in the next few weeks as the Republicans select. This district will probably favor Republican Jerry Kilgore for Governor, so Keister doesn't have much going for him besides incumbency.

#9- 99th District- incumbent Albert Pollard, OPEN SEAT
(Rating Unchanged from last top 10)
Current Rating: Likely Republican (PICKUP)

Nothing much has changed here in the 99th. Republican Rob Whittman has a big leg up over Democrat Linda Crandell. We're watching closely to see how Crandell plans to overcome the big GOP advantage in the 99th.

#10- 33rd District- incumbent Joe May, 6th Term
(Unrated in the last top 10)
Current Rating: Likely Republican

Joe May has the seat wrapped up if he can survive his primary against Chris Oprison. While may has the lead there, Democrats have begun searching for candidates, and as we discussed today have found two potentially good ones. If May wins the primary this race is over, if Oprison wins, this will skyrocket up the list of competitive general elections.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Rating Change- 33rd District

Old Rating: Safe Republican
New Rating: Likely Republican

Old GOP Primary Rating: Leans May
New GOP primary Rating: Leans May

As we discussed earlier, Delegate Joe May has the slight leg up in his primary against Chris Oprison. But with his victory on June 14th far from certain, Loundon County Democrats have begun talking to two potential candidates. Former Supervisor Mark Herring, who carried western Loundon in a 2003 State Senate campaign against Russ Potts, and Leesburg Councilwoman Kelly Burk, a 1999 challenger to Dick Black when Leesburg was in the 32nd. Both would make strong Democratic Candidates, and against Oprison we would rate the race as "Leaning Republican". Neither has expressed an interest in running against Joe May, so if he is the nominee, we would rate this as a "Safe Republican". For now, we'll split the difference and call it a "Likely Republican" and keep you up to date on developments as they happen.

Rising Stars Return

24th District
Outlook: Safe Republican

The 24th District was left open when former Speaker Wilkins resigned. A competitive election then ensued, with former Goodlatte aide Ben Cline winning 58% of the vote. Cline is regarded as one of the young and rising starts in the Virginia Republican party. This year he is being challenged by Rev. David Cox. It's not that Mr. Cox isn't a good mold for Democrats to run in the Valley, but conservative voters in the 24th have no reason to replace Del. Cline. He will win easily.

89th District
Outlook: Safe Democratic

This Norfolk seat was held by Jerrauld Jones, a former Democratic Candidate for Lt. Governor, until he was appointed as head of Juvenile Justice for the state. Kenny Alexander, a young rising star in the Democratic party was elected to replace him in August of 2002. This is a safe Democratic District, and Del. Alexander will hold it for as long as he wants. Many Democrats have already begun speculating he could be a statewide candidate in 2009, as potentially the most appealing African American in the General Assembly.


Raising Kaine has an interview today with 37th District House Candidate David Bulova. If you want to keep up on this race, read this interview. I'm not bashing Lowell, who asks some good questions, trying to get to the point. But Bulova's responses, are the most bland, boring thing I have read this cycle. Seriously, I was falling asleep reading his answers. It's so obvious they were written and reviewed by so many people that every bit of interesting information was whitewashed out. This guy wants to follow Chap Petersen? See anything like this classic line coming from Bulova?

"This commonwealth started in 1607," Petersen said. "When Jack was elected to the legislature, he did one term but then he was elected again in 1997. So essentially for 390 years we survived without him in the legislature."

Update: Just got an email from someone asking me to add this while we are talking about classic Chap quotes (this week): "I'm not an ordinary person".

One Other Question

I put up the Presidential results in the 10th District. Do you want to see that in all the races that are not "safe"?

Friday, May 06, 2005

54th District

Outlook: Safe Republican
Primary: Toss Up

This in our opinion is the number one primary of the year. We've been saving the best for last on this one.

The incumbent here is Bobby Orrock. He's been challenged.... um..... hmmm..... ok, he's basically been unopposed since taking office 15 years ago.

His opponent is Shaun Kenney, the Chair of the Spotsylvania Republican Committee.

There are a few things we like about Shaun here, over the other primary challengers in the state.

#1- Website- Shaun's website actually links to the other GOP challengers around the state. Any political advisor would tell their candidate to NEVER do that (lose web traffic). We think it is a great move, it reinforces he is running on a message, and that his campaign is about that message, not just himself. Voters can read between the lines and pick that up. One suggestion- take down the link to the one that is going to prison... (and according to anonymous smells like swamp funk).

#2- In contrast to the Prince William districts that will have a statewide candidate (Connaughton) working on bringing a large "moderate" turnout, this district is adjacent to, and overlaps a little with Bill Bolling's Senate district. Bolling will be working on bringing out very conservative voters, giving Kenney a much more favorable electorate.

#3-Kenney's campaign according to my sources is the best run, and most active of all the Republican primary challengers around the state.

After lacking a real challenger for so long, and representing a fast growing district with lots of newcomers, Orrock doesn't even have a big name rec advantage going for him.

The only reason this is a "tossup" and not leaning Kenney is money. Orrock's lack of a challenge has allowed him to compile a large stockpile of money. Kenney's fundraising isn't shabby either- and we noticed a large number of donors coming from within his district (good sign). If Kenney can spend his money well, and survive the onslaught coming, he should be able to win this one.

NotLarrySabato is in D.C. today at a friends office getting ready to go to the Wizards game down the street. Will be back to post again tomorrow after Gilbertology wins the series and sends us to Miami for the second round!

Top Ten List

Our old top 10 is here...

New one coming out this weekend. Who do you nominate? We do listen to people on our site, as you can see, we did a lot of what Wahoo Dan suggested over the past two weeks.

Virginia Beach Republican Primaries

82nd and 83rd Districts
Outlook: Safe Republican

Two GOP incumbents are being challenged for re-election in Virginia Beach. In a striking difference from the rest of the state, these challenges are coming from the left of the Republican party. Both incumbents voted against last years budget, and are facing challengers on that issue, although not stridently. They are approaching it from an angle of spending more money on education, and transportation, rather then how they would acquire those funds. Such is a challenge in Virginia's Republican primary.

83rd District
Outlook: Safe Wardrup

In the 83rd District incumbent Leo Wardrup is facing a challenge by Delceno Miles. Ms. Miles is a Gilmore appointee to the State College Board. This one won't be much of a contest, we are calling this one for Wardrup.

82nd District
Outlook: Leans Purkey

The 82nd district is home to a much more interesting primary. Our GOP sources in Virginia Beach tell us that Bob Purkey is not well known in his district. His challenger Peter Schmidt, while positioning himself to Purkey's left, is still very conservative, and is a very popular City Councilman. We are giving the small leg up to Purkey for incumbency at this point, but this will be one to watch, and this may become a toss up before primary day.

90th District

Outlook: Safe Democratic
Primary Outlook: Likely Howell

The 90th District is a majority African American seat based in Norfolk, and stretching into Virginia Beach. It was represented for many years by Del. William Robinson. After some legal problems in 2001, he was unseated by Winsome Sears, an African American woman. In 2003, Democrats thought they could take this seat back and had a competitive caucus with William Robinson trying to come back and Algie Howell a neighborhood activist, with a 3rd candidate Keela Boose. Howell won the primary and Winsome Sears announced she wouldn't seek re-election and instead would run for Congress. It looked like the seat would be his for as long as he wanted it...

But Howell in his first term spun up a nationwide controversy over his "Droopy Drawers Bill". Now Boose is back to challenge him in a primary. Neither candidate has a website, and news on this race is hard to get. Howell has to be favored as the incumbent, but we won't call it yet, until we know more about how much his constituents care about this bill. If that doesn't impact the electorate, Howell will win easily. If it does have an impact, this is the type of district that has not been adverse to major change in the past.

3 Return from the Beach

Virginia Beach is a Republican stronghold that has 6 Republican seats. The only Democrat is Algie Howell, who's district only includes a small part of the beach, and is based in Norfolk. We've already discussed Bob McDonnell's open seat, and later this morning, we'll discuss the Republican seats with primaries.

3 of the GOP Delegates have avoided intraparty challenges, which pose the greatest threat in Virginia Beach, and strong Democratic challengers and will return easily to Richmond.

21st District- John Welch
81st District- Terrie Suit
85th District- Bob Tata