Saxman: Virginia House of Delegates District 83 Analysis

The #1 House of Delegates race is the Virginia Beach seat of incumbent Democrat Nancy Guy – District #83.

This is my first district analysis and this race is going to be a doozie!

The election of Joe Biden as POTUS has changed the landscape of Virginia politics by reducing the antipathy towards Republicans now that Donald Trump is no longer in the White House.

No one disputes that. The question that the parties, campaigns, candidates, and consultants cannot agree on is by how much.

That’s the question.

Given that Biden won the Commonwealth by ten points over Donald Trump and that the national generic ballot average for Democrats is now just +1, I think we can ball park the shift in the generic ballot here in Virginia – for now – in the four to five point range towards the Republicans. Some sources back that up with polling intel, but nothing shareable at this point – especially since very few people were paying close attention during the early rounds of polling this summer.

Several factors will come into play – most notably a drop in enthusiasm by Democrats coupled with a desire to win by the Republicans. These can be subtle shifts but they add up quickly in toss up districts like the 83rd.

That said, this is a very difficult re-election for first term delegate Nancy Guy who has shown a willingness, on occasion, to buck the party line. That’s always a nice selling feature in districts like this, but it might not save her given the national narrative.

Key data point – Guy beat incumbent Chris Stolle by just 27 votes in 2019 with a massive turnout operation in which she won more votes than the Democratic candidate in 2017 during a statewide election. That’s impressive; however, it was a highly targeted district with over $2.4MM total spend.

The 83rd:

2018 – Tim Kaine +17 over Corey Stewart – about the statewide average.

2017 – Ralph Northam +11, Justin Fairfax +4, and Mark Herring +6

2017 – Chris Stolle +13

2016 – Clinton +4 but under 50 or 49-45.

Republicans have fielded attorney Tim Anderson who defeated Stolle’s comeback bid in the nomination.

Anderson is LOATHED by Democrats but doesn’t shy away from the fight. He trails Guy badly in fundraising 258k to 41k – Cash on Hand (COH) as of the last report.

Given the national narrative dynamics and natural atrophying from winning a presidential election, Nancy Guy’s chances here might depend more on Tim Anderson’s lack of appeal with cross over voters that Chris Stolle carried in 2017.

Democratic atrophy could be quickly reversed with their antipathy for Anderson, but it won’t come near to their negative feelings for Trump.

This is a Tilt Republican Pick Up.

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