Sorry for the click-baity headline. Of course he has a chance; in fact, he’s still heavily favored to be re-elected.
Look, I get the impulse to dunk on the guy, and it’s not undeserved. On top of which, Freitas has earned his fair share of enemies in both parties across the commonwealth (and in Minnesota), but when you actually stop and think about the circumstances for a second, it’s quite clear how things will turn out.
Everybody points to the 2010 Alaska Senate race. For the few who are unfamiliar, incumbent Lisa Murkowski lost the Republican re-nomination to Joe Miller, then ran a write-in campaign and won. But the circumstances there were quite different from Freitas, and not just because her last name was a lot harder to spell. Murkowski ran against both a Democrat and a Republican on the ballot, and successfully navigated a three-way race.
In contrast, Nick has an easier name to spell, and only the Democrat will be on the ballot, one who is explicitly listed as a Democrat on the ballot. This is a Northam 38 percent district; the overwhelming majority of voters will be looking to pull their levers for Republicans — and also remember that there will be several down-ballot races featuring local Republicans who are also working to turn out the vote.
That means there will be sample ballots, and sample ballots will clearly instruct the majority of voters who go to the polls looking to vote Republican on how to select a write-in instead of a Democrat, and how to put the letters N-I-C-K and F-R-E-I-T-A-S in that order.
Adding to Freitas’s good fortune is the fact that, in much of the district, they just saw the Freitas name on the ballot in June; not to mention last June, when Nick ran for U.S. Senate. It’s not like they’ll need reminding of who he is (or how to spell).
The only other similarity with Lisa Murkowski is that both of them ran a write-in as an incumbent, which means that fundraising should come easily. Already, rumors have swirled (and Bearing Drift has confirmed) that Nick has raised over $500K already this fundraising quarter.
Some still grumble, though, that Nick will require any extra money to win at all. However, campaign sources have reported to Bearing Drift that as part of running a fully-funded campaign, Nick has already invested $60K in other Republican races across the commonwealth. Far from imperiling the GOP House majority, Nick’s fundraising prowess is actively contributing towards maintaining it.
Meanwhile, the Democrat raised $14K last quarter , leaving her with $6,500 in the bank. The only real question is whether the state Democratic Party will invest money in the race to prop her up. Odds are, Democrats are smart enough to realize everything I wrote above, but part of me hopes they do throw a couple of grand into the 30th District rather than helping prop up Democrats in competitive races who are having fundraising problems , like Wendy Gooditis or Lee Carter.
Anyways, dunk on Freitas if you like, but the reason this is getting so much attention is because there’s nothing else going on in August. Once the campaign sprints begin in September, the 30th District will become an after-thought, and when Nick wins in November, it’ll just be a quirky footnote that his 2019 re-election was as a write-in.
Here is Freitas’s press release below:
Freitas Officially Announces Write-In Campaign“The Delegate for the 30th District will be selected by the people, not bureaucrats in Richmond.”
Culpeper, VA – After the State Board of Elections refused to allow any Republican on the ballot in the 30th District on a party-line vote, Delegate Nick Freitas (R-30) officially announced today that he would mount a write-in campaign for the November election.
With the announcement of the write-in campaign, Delegate Freitas stated the following:
“I am incredibly disappointed in the decision by the Board of Elections to refuse access to the ballot for the Republican Party in the 30th District on a party-line vote. Their decision to not allow any Republican on the ballot means they are attempting to disenfranchise Republicans in the 30th and denying all voters in the district a choice this November. There is no way to read this choice by Governor Northam’s appointees as anything other than a partisan power grab at a time when control over the House of Delegates is up in the air.
“Because of this decision by the Democrats currently in charge in Richmond, today I am officially announcing that I am mounting a write-in campaign as the Republican nominee in the 30th District. Being the Republican nominee for the 30th District is not a responsibility that I take lightly, and so I am committed to running to hold this seat for the Republican Party. The conservative majority in the 30th deserves an advocate fighting for them in the General Assembly and does not deserve to be disenfranchised by Richmond bureaucrats.
“I know that there are a number of incredibly difficult races across the Commonwealth this year, and so I am also announcing that I will not ask for any financial help from the Republican Caucus for my campaign. Those dollars need to go to the races they were intended and I am committed that my campaign to retain this seat will not impede the efforts to elect other Republicans across Virginia. I look forward to the campaign ahead and vow to ensure that there is a conservative voice representing the 30th District in spite of the partisan politics stemming from Northam’s Board and Department of Elections.”