Leahy: There’s More To the 2021 Elections Than Northern Virginia
Virginia’s statewide elections have always been about numbers — where the voters are, how many are certain to cast ballots for one side or another and which, if any, can be persuaded to either change sides or just stay home.
Hulking over all of those calculations and concerns, however, is the even bigger number: 271,000.
As The Post reported, that was Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) victory margin over Ed Gillespie (R) in the 2017 gubernatorial race. It didn’t matter that Gillespie ran up the score in Southside Virginia (+57,000), Southwest Virginia (+65,000) and the Shenandoah Valley (+48,000).
Northern Virginia alone canceled them out and left plenty extra to handle surprises elsewhere. Those surprises didn’t materialize. Northam’s victories in Hampton Roads and central Virginia (+81,000 and +48,000, respectively) made his win a landslide.
But it’s an open question whether central Virginia, where the Democratic ascendancy rose to new heights thanks to ex-president Donald Trump, will follow Northern Virginia’s lead. Republican gubernatorial Glenn Youngkin’s strategy is to hold Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former governor Terry McAuliffe to a tie in central Virginia, as part of a wider strategy to lessen Northern Virginia’s outsize influence.
Democrats, then, have a toehold in part of Chesterfield. And it’s been just enough to help another Democrat: 7th Congressional District Rep. Abigail Spanberger.