However, we will be intellectually honest and try to accurately convey how we see the next two weeks playing out and what the final outcome of the Nov. 2 elections will be.
We welcome your predictions and thoughts in the comments section.
Winner: Scott Rigell
Rigell’s polling, ability to connect with voters, pledge to the Tea Party, business acumen, capability in debates, and principled stand on Congressional reforms carry the day.
The desperation by incumbent Congressman Glenn Nye is evident.
In his podcast with us, Nye said he was a different type of Democrat – an independent one. Yet, just mere hours after talking with J.R., he played “gotcha” politics, along with the rest of the Democratic Party of Virginia, over an email issue that was quickly resolved in Republican circles – and could have been resolved without feigned outrage at the 11th hour of a campaign.
Nye is NOT a different type of Democrat. He is NOT an independent.
What we saw over the email situation is that Nye is networked into the Democratic establishment, and is just as willing to coordinate and engage in politics-as-usual. He’ll do whatever it takes to save his seat.
It is clear that injecting race into the campaign at the last minute is an attempt to energize black voters in the district’s urban areas who have been disaffected by Nye’s inability to advocate on their behalf in Congress. The real question is which is more racist: a joke email or the expectation that an entire race will vote in block for their white leaders?
However, last-second politics won’t be able to overcome his record.
Nye also tip-toed around J.R.’s question about whether he would vote for Speaker Pelosi again, by saying that if he is re-elected, he’ll vote for the best person to come out of his caucus. He avoided responding, and gave no indication as to who that alternative might be, which leads us to assume he will do what he did before. That’s not leadership, that’s waffling.
On the subject of taxes, Nye attempted to cast doubt on Rigell’s commitment to not raising them. Yet Nye refuses to sign any anti-tax pledge.
However, a principled leader, like Scott Rigell, goes against the grain when it matters. Leaders are willing and able to walk the walk, as well as talk to talk – as Rigell does.
Rigell has proposed a series of Congressional reforms that he will impose on himself – regardless of whether or not those reforms are adopted in Congress, and he has pledged to Hampton Roads’ taxpayers that he will not support any tax increase. On both issues, he is willing to hold himself personally accountable for his pledge.
Rigell is a businessman with a proven record of creating jobs, meeting payroll, and supporting the economy. He also answers questions directly and with personal conviction.
The choice to voters in the 2nd District couldn’t be clearer – Scott Rigell will be rewarded with a win.
Rigell 51% | Nye 45% | Golden 4%
Winner: Robert Hurt
Incumbent Democrat Rep. Tom Perriello can’t poll above 44% and hasn’t yet polled better than Hurt. In every valid poll that has come out the past month, the highest Perriello has seen is 44%, but most polls
find him barely at 40%. That’s not good news for an incumbent.
In the next two weeks, there will be five debates between Robert Hurt and Tom Perriello. Given the assertive style that comes naturally to Perriello, compared to the laid-back style of Hurt, it’s difficult to
see how Perriello comes across as anything but overtly aggressive, which will be a turn-off to voters.
But don’t count Perriello out. This race is going to get closer, nastier, and may be a repeat of 2008.
The Hurt campaign needs to work its tail off the next 13 days to overcome Perriello’s $1.3 million that will be sunk into the district, along with special interest money, in hopes of returning MoveOn.org’s
“progressive hero” to congress.
Hurt can’t rest on this lead. Nor do we expect him to. But this isn’t 2008 either. Barack Obama and Mark Warner aren’t on the ticket with Perriello – a man who is proud of his 100% liberal record of
voting for cap-and-trade, healthcare, and Wall Street bailouts.
Hurt has obviously attempted to nationalize the race by discussing these issues which, according to polling, is what many of the 5th’s voters are most concerned with. Perriello has tried—in addition to defending those votes when cornered–to fall back on the traditional line for incumbents: bringing home the bacon and local issues (electric rate increases and uranium mining). These issues are perhaps chiseling away at Hurt’s support on the margins, but not posing a major impediment to his victory.
The big question in this race is turnout, particularly students (UVa) and African-Americans.
If Perriello can replicate, or at least approximate, 2008-level turnout, he can win. National polls show these two demographic groups being disenchanted with Democrats; whether locally they are with Tom “Progressive Hero” Perriello remains to be seen.
Hurt 52% | Perriello 46% | Clark 2%
Winner: Rick Boucher
This is a district the GOP should win. But Boucher has done a lot of people a lot of favors over 28 years.
How someone who voted for job-killing, anti-coal legislation is still polling better than House of Delegates Republican leader Morgan Griffith is perplexing. But Boucher is.
However, this race is still going to be close. This is our nail-biter of the campaign season and may take weeks to find out the final outcome.
Southwestern Virginia isn’t a place you live; it’s a place you’re from. This has been a centerpiece of incumbent Rick Boucher’s campaign and, so far, it has worked: many 9th District voters are convinced that Rick Boucher is from southwestern Virginia and Morgan Griffith is an outsider.
In truth, the district boundary is Griffith’s property line—only a few feet from his house—and Virginians who live east of Roanoke might be surprised to learn that Salem is not in southwestern Virginia. Boucher claims those feet separating Griffith’s house from the district’s boundary separates Griffith from the rich cultural heritage and worldview shared by residents of the 9th District; Griffith counters by arguing that after more than two decades in Washington, Boucher has lost touch with that very mindset, as evidenced by his support for the radically liberal Obama-Pelosi agenda and his authorship of the devastating Cap-and-Trade legislation.
Griffith has taken this message on the road since winning the Republican nomination, and has literally logged thousands of miles in his car, traveling the district to attend small-town festivals and even cattle auctions in an effort to introduce himself and his limited-government message to voters far
removed from his Salem-based House of Delegates district.
Griffith, in conjunction with the NRCC and Americans for Job Security, has been blitzing the
airwaves for months with the simple message that a vote to reelect Rick Boucher is a vote for the Obama agenda. Voters seem to be responding positively to Griffith: SurveyUSA is showing Griffith closer to Boucher than any challenger has been in recent memory (several partisan polls have shown a dead-heat or even a slim Griffith lead) and Boucher is clearly feeling the heat as he has abandoned the generic ads he airs every two years and produced a bevy of new ads attacking Griffith and reaffirming his commitment to job creation in the 9th District.
In the campaign’s closing fortnight, Griffith’s task is three-fold: minimize crossover Republican votes, ease voters’ concerns that he is an outsider who doesn’t “get” the district and its residents, and blunt Boucher’s defense that he has attracted thousands of jobs to the district.
With the 9th’s unique combination of old-school Democrats, union miners and university faculty and staff, despite the district’s conservative bent in national and statewide elections, Boucher still has a solid base to work from.
In a Republican year, amplified by voter anger over all things Washington, this hurdle will be lower than usual – and it’s a hurdle Morgan Griffith can jump, but may not be able to overcome.
Boucher 50.1% | Griffith 49.8%
Winner: Keith Fimian
As the race in the 11th comes down to the wire, the biggest issue is going to be getting out the vote. This is a district that went 54% – 43% for Connolly and 57% – 42% for Obama in 2008. Yet just a year later, Fairfax and Prince William both went for McDonnell, 51 – 49 and 58 – 41 respectively. Given the state of the current political environment, the legions of motivated Republican and Tea Party activists in this district, and a general malaise that has enveloped the Democratic party in Fairfax, the momentum in this race definitely favors Keith Fimian.
Connolly has high name recognition but his negatives are also high as well – no amount of running biographical ads or puff pieces are going to move his reelect numbers higher, and according to internal polling we’ve seen, they never rise higher than 47%. Connolly’s base of support is in Fairfax, the larger of the two jurisdictions in the 11th, but he’s been trying to spend more time in Prince William to raise his ID and profile there. It’s not going to work, primarily because Prince William is far more conservative ideologically than Fairfax and the folks in Prince William aren’t buying Connolly’s chameleon like portrayal of himself as some kind of a fiscal conservative.
Connolly’s fundraising has also dried up. As noted on Bearing Drift, Connolly raised around $400k during the 3rd quarter, while Keith Fimian raised two and a half times as much – over $1 million – for the same time period. Connolly’s bankrollers can see the handwriting on the wall and they aren’t going to throw good money after bad. Connolly has been up on TV across the district for about two weeks now, including multiple buys with an ineffective attack ad on both network TV and cable. He’s blowing through his money faster than he can raise it. In terms of money, the two candidates are neck and neck in total fundraising, with Connolly outraising Fimian overall by a mere $2500 – and Fimian has the backing of at least one major 527 group with a million dollar ad buy up – Connolly doesn’t. And with labor stretched thin defending so many more important Democrats to their interests, it’s unlikely he’ll see a large influx of union money in the next two weeks. The AFL-CIO has done direct mail into a number of districts, but in this environment, direct mail isn’t going to cut it.
Past strategies for winning the 11th have focused on running up the vote totals in Fairfax while ensuring a solid turnout on Prince William. But that strategy has backfired, most recently in the Republican primary, where Keith Fimian won by holding Fairfax even and running up the numbers in Prince William. Herrity actually beat Fimian in Fairfax 51 to 49, but Fimian destroyed Herrity in Prince William 75% to 25% and that was where the margin for victory came from. Fimian can win this race the same way – keeping close with Connolly in Fairfax County and then running up the vote totals with a solid GOTV effort in Prince William.
Fimian has the organization and momentum in his favor. He’s capable of running a campaign in every area of the 11th, not simply Fairfax, and that’s why he’s going to pull off a major upset on November 2 and send Gerry back to SAIC.
Fimian 52% | Connolly 47%
Winner: Jim Moran
Although the political climate is anti-incumbent, this is exactly opposite in Virginia’s 8th District (Alexandria, Arlington, and portions of Fairfax) where Jim Moran is anticipated to head into his 11th term as Congressman.
While not free of political scandals, Moran remains popular in this liberal-leaning district. Moran has been tied to the PMA Group scandal, which dogged the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), and has been less than friendly to voters (see the example).
Murray has put in a good challenge: He has raised over $300,000 and has qualified for the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program. But in a district that has grown government-dependent, it does not look feasible that he has even the opportunity to win .
Until this district is redrawn, if ever, it will remain a Democratic haven, sucking down tax-dollars at the expense of the rest of the Commonwealth and nation.
Moran 64% | Murray 35%
Winner: Rob Wittman
As Senator John McCain was losing the nation and the Commonwealth in his campaign for president by 53-46 margins, he still carried this district with 51% of the vote in 2008. Wittman, who was running for his first full-term that year, did more than five points better. Wittman even beat out McCain in raw votes by more than 10,000.
It is possible that Krystal Ball’s recent publicity will stiffen turnout for the Democrats, but it won’t be near the 2008 Obama surge.
More to the point, Republican turnout is sure to be much higher than in 2008. Wittman began his career in Congress dealing with some headaches from the right, but those largely disappeared when he refused to back TARP.
This won’t be close.
Wittman 67% | Ball 30% | Parker (IG) 3%
Winner: Bobby Scott
Despite the Republican wave and anti-incumbent fever, the deck has been stacked against a Republican nominee from the outset in this district. Bobby Scott did virtually no campaigning until September and will easily win the district over Republican Chuck Smith.
There have been few, if any, signs of a campaign even taking place in Norfolk, Portsmouth and Newport News, this despite Republicans putting up their first nominee since 2004 and the candidate being from Hampton Roads.
The GOP campaign has been plagued with infighting, turf wars and pointless chest-puffery.
Three campaign managers later, Chuck Smith’s campaign has packed-up and left behind their Newport News headquarters and concentrated their campaign efforts in the Richmond area, where it appears the Republican Party of Virginia is, for all points and purposes, running the race. Combine that dysfunction with endorsements by former 3rd District Republican nominee candidate Coby Dillard for Libertarian James Quigley, little fundraising success for either Quigley or Smith, and little inroads into the African-American community, Bobby Scott will handily win another term in Congress.
The only question at this point is if the 34% of Winsome Sears in 2004 is attainable for Smith.
Scott 59% | Smith 29% | Quigley 10%
Winner: Randy Forbes
Andrea Miller, as regional coordinator for MoveOn.org and the Democratic candidate in 2008, managed to garner just over 40% against Republican Randy Forbes when there was a strong anti-GOP incumbent mood and Obama and Warner were at the top of the ticket
This is not 2008. And Forbes has done nothing the past two years to warrant a change. His solid conservatism, support for the military, fiscal discipline, leadership in international affairs, and innovative approaches to energy, are just some of the reasons he continues to be a valuable voice for Virginians in Congress.
LeGrow, who, in the district that formerly hosted the headquarters of the Christian Coalition, is a self-proclaimed atheist, is LeGone.
Republicans are also extremely motivated to vote, if just for the protest. Our only question is whether it will be a 30 or 40 point win.
Forbes 68% | Legrow 32%
Winner: Bob Goodlatte
In a year that could produce historic losses for congressional Democrats, the 6th District Democratic Committee could not even field a challenger to nine-term incumbent Republican Bob Goodlatte.
Goodlatte is not without opposition as he faces two challengers: Libertarian Stuart Bain and independent/New Whig Party-endorsed Jeff Vanke.
Some Democrats may gravitate toward Vanke, who supports capping the profits of insurance companies and extending amnesty to illegal aliens, but no independent polling of this race has been released to show how much of the Democratic vote he might expect to receive.
Even without the support of the Roanoke Tea Party, Goodlatte, who is generally popular and widely regarded in the district as a fiscal conservative, a faithful and competant representative, and a reliable vote against the Obama-Pelosi agenda, can expect to be reelected comfortably–possibly garnering as much as 90 percent of the vote.
Goodlatte 85% | Bain 5% | Vanke 10%
Winner: Frank Wolf
In 2008, 30 year incumbent Frank Wolf outpolled Barrack Obama by just shy of 6 percentage points. Not only did he survive the Democratic tsunami that swept Capitol Hill, Wolf thrived.
Known for his prompt, dedicated constituent service, Wolf has also been able to run on his accomplishments. He’s frequently used his influence on the House appropriations committee to bring substantial federal tax monies back to the tenth district. Wolf is also respected for his international advocacy for religious freedom and human rights. And, for all the advantages of incumbency, Wolf still hasn’t stopped reaching out to new voters and building relationships with the next generation of Republican leaders.
Despite some tea party members and conservative leaders disappointment with certain of Wolf’s fiscal votes – for TARP and the prescription drug benefit plan, among other things – Wolf did not have a Republican nomination challenger this year. In addition, Wolf has actively courted the Tea Party and was warmly received at their luncheonearlier this month.
Wolf’s Democratic opponent, Jeff Barnett, has struggled to raise funds and does not have the resources to get his message out to the district. Barnett also struggles to earn media attention, as Wolf has limited their opportunities for joint exposure to the last few weeks of the election.
While some members of the minority have simply the first voted “no” through the first two years of the Obama presidency, informed voters in the 10th District have no trouble identifying ideas Wolf has brought to the table. He has championed a bi-partisan Commission on deficit reduction and taken Attorney General Holder to task refusing to prosecute Black Panthers for voter intimidation. And, he’s been involved in helping create or retain federal jobs and improve the transportation networks across his district.
Voters in the 10th District know Frank Wolf – and they like him.
Wolf 61% | Barnett 35% | Redpath 4%
Winner: Eric Cantor
Why will he win? Because he always does.
Whine though they might, neither Democrat Rick Waugh nor Independent Floyd Bayne have presented themselves as credible alternatives to Cantor. The 7th District is arguably the most Republican District in Virginia.
In 2000 Cantor squeezed past Conservative State Senator Steve Martin by a margin of 264 votes in the Republican primary to replace retiring Tom Bliley. Since that time, Cantor has never received less than 62% of the vote.
While criticized for his vote on TARP, No Child Left Behind, and other big government programs, Cantor preaches conservatism and fiscal responsibility and says this time Republicans will mean it.
As the Minority Whip, he’s the second most powerful Republican Congressman. When the GOP takes back the House in November, Cantor is expected to be the new Majority Leader if he doesn’t make a play for the Speaker’s Chair.
Cantor 69% | Waugh 22% | Bayne 9%