Previewing The Score: 2018 Election Prognosis
As recently as ten years ago, Virginia was seen as reliably Republican in national and statewide elections. Virginia had not voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1964 but that changed in 2008, when the state went for Barack Obama, which it did again in 2012 and, in 2016, Virginia was the only Southern state to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Republicans have not won a statewide race – for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, or U.S. Senate – since 2009. In Virginia’s off-year elections in 2017, Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate for governor, received more votes than any candidate for governor in Virginia history. At the same time, Republicans nearly lost control of the state House of Delegates, going from a 65-seat majority to 51 seats, with a special election coming up on November 6 that could, if the Democrat wins, result in a tie. Next year the entire state legislature, House and Senate, is up for election and Republicans are teetering on the edge of losing their General Assembly majority for the first time in more than twenty years.
In this year’s congressional elections, there are competitive races in districts designed to favor Republicans, notably the Fifth District, which has an open seat, and the Seventh, where incumbent Dave Brat is defending solid Republican territory against Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger and potential Libertarian spoiler Joe Walton.
Earlier this year, I spoke to political scientist Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, about the results of the party primaries in Virginia this June.
Yesterday, I returned to the GMU campus to ask Rozell about the 7th District race and others as we approached the mid-term elections.
Another Virginia race has attracted national attention, where Republican Barbara Comstock – who significantly outpolled Donald Trump in Virginia’s Tenth District in 2016 – is fighting off a robust challenge by Democratic state senator Jennifer Wexton.
Rozell told me about recent survey results in that district.
If the competitive races in Virginia all favor the Democrats, the state’s congressional delegation could shift from 7 Republicans and 4 Democrats to 7 Democrats and 4 Republicans. The number of women representing Virginia in Congress could triple, from one to three.
I asked Rozell if Virginia is a bellwether for the rest of the country. What will results in Virginia say about how congressional elections will turn out nationally?
The full interview with Mark Rozell will be available for listening on The Score podcast on Saturday morning, November 3. Other guests will be attorney Elliott Harding, who has filed a lawsuit on behalf of two young Virginians who are prohibited by law from purchasing a handgun from a licensed gun dealer; Jake Grant of Young Voices, who has been exploring “illiberal democracy” in places like Hungary and Brazil; and Matthew Feeney of the Cato Institute on the topic of facial recognition technology as a threat to our civil liberties.
Come back soon to hear the complete episode of The Score.