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All right, I've been waiting and waiting for the state Board of Elections to put a final candidate list up, and I'm fed up with them, so I'm going with what's posted on the Virginia Public Access Project. If anything changes, I'll edit the diary, assuming that the list gets posted while this is still on the front page.

First, let's talk competition. 27 out of the 40 seats in the Senate are being contested by more than one candidate, and 23 of those have both a Democrat and a Republican running. Redistricting has not helped the Democrats avoid a surfeit of challengers; Republicans have fielded candidates in 18 of the 22 seats held by Democrats, while Democrats only have candidates in 5 of the 18 Republican-held seats.

The House is much worse for democracy than the Senate; only 38 out of 100 seats have two or more candidates running, and only 27 of them have a Democrat and a Republican in the race. Republicans have put forth candidates in 12 Democratic seats, while Democrats have candidates in 13 Republican-held seats. Both parties have candidates in the two seats currently held by an Independent (one of whom is retiring). But as we all know, Governor McDonnell proclaimed the House map to be fair and balanced, but the Senate map was a partisan gerrymander.

After the jump are my ratings tables, ratings changes, and a few post-primary updates.

Senate

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
6th: Northam/D
21st: Edwards/D
33rd: Herring/D
36th: Puller/D
37th: Marsden/D
1st: Miller/D
31st: open/D
39th: Barker/D
17th: Houck/D
20th: Reynolds/D
38th: Puckett/D
13th: open/R
22nd: open/R
Ratings Changes

6th (Ralph Northam - D) - Moved from Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic - The winner of the Republican nominating convention was '10 VA-02 primary loser Ben Loyola. He's rich, but he had to move into the district to run there, and consequently doesn't seem to have much in the way of a base of support, beyond the Republicans that picked him to be their nominee.

10th (John Watkins - R) - Removed from the list - Watkins should be challenged by a strong Democrat, given that his district has been shifted significantly away from the Republicans (at 41% Deeds, 52% Obama, it's about as Democratic as the state as a whole), but challenger David Bernard hasn't raised much money, aside from a $15,000 check from himself. I doubt this one will end up being close.

13th (open - R) - Moved from Likely Republican to Lean Republican - The unthinkable happened, and former Del. Dick Black managed to pull off a primary victory. This is still going to be an uphill climb for Democrats, especially since their nominee, Shawn Mitchell, is an untested, first-time candidate, but they got the opponent they wanted to run against.

29th (Chuck Colgan - D) - Removed from the list - With Colgan running for another term, Republicans struggled to come up with a candidate here. They finally settled on former Thelma Drake staffer Tom Gordy, because nobody else would run. Gordy does not look like he has the ability to defeat Colgan in a district that has been made significantly more Democratic.

31st (open - D) - Moved from Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic - Barbara Favola won the primary convincingly, but I remain unconvinced that she is a competent campaigner. The district's lean (55% Deeds, 61% Obama) should be enough to carry her across the finish line, but it looks like Democratic money is going to be sapped in a race that shouldn't be competitive.

37th (Dave Marsden - D) - Moved from Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic - Jason Flanary defeated Steve Hunt, Marsden's opponent from the 2010 special election, to win the Republican primary. Flanary outspent Hunt in the primary, but much of his funding is coming from his own pockets, which suggests that Flanary's appeal may be limited to Republican primary voters. Marsden has also gotten his fundraising operation into gear, pulling in a tidy $150,000 since April.

Post-Primary Updates

21st (John Edwards - D) - Del. Dave Nutter won the Republican primary to take on Edwards, and has been the recipient of Bob McDonnell's largesse, but primary turnout in this race was anemic, even by Virginia standards, and Nutter didn't even bother to try to win the Roanoke area, relying only on the Montgomery/Giles portion of the district.

22nd (open - R) - A five-way race for the Republican nomination ended with a victory for Tom Garrett of earthquake-prone Louisa County, who won with 26% of the vote. In fact, his victory came despite losing all but two localities in the district, Fluvanna and Louisa. Democratic nominee Bert Dodson has a shot here, especially if he can run up a big margin in Lynchburg, but this is a very tough district for Democrats (53% McCain, 64% McDonnell).

36th (Toddy Puller - D) - Jeff Frederick easily won the Republican primary with 69% of the vote, but only managed to tie his opponent in the Fairfax portion of the district. Toddy Puller has a lot of work to do, but she should be the victor, given the district's Democratic lean.

39th (George Barker - D) - Republican Miller Baker crushed his primary opponent by a 73-27 margin. Not much else to say here.

House of Delegates

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
12th: open/D
93rd: Abbott/D
2nd: open/D
10th: open/D
34th: Comstock/R
64th: Barlow/D
87th: open/D
9th: Poindexter/R
21st: Villanueva/R
42nd: Albo/R
94th: open/R
13th: Marshall/R
31st: Lingamfelter/R
67th: LeMunyon/R
99th: open/D
Ratings Changes

3rd (Will Morefield - R) - Removed from the list - Morefield isn't a strong incumbent, but the district has shifted hard to the Republicans and his opponent hasn't raised a whole lot of money.

4th (Joe Johnson - D) - Removed from the list - No Republican filed to run against Johnson; I guess they're content to wait for him to retire.

12th (open - D) - Moved from Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic - Democrats have a local elected official running, while Republicans have some dude. Doesn't look too competitive now.

31st (Scott Lingamfelter - R) - Moved from Lean Republican to Likely Republican - Lingamfelter has always gotten around 55% of the vote when he's had an opponent, but Democrat Roy Coffey is going to have to show a lot better fundraising to be competitive.

32nd (Tag Greason - R) - Removed from the list - Looks like no Democrat stepped up to run against a weak freshman. Good job, guys.

37th (David Bulova - D) - Removed from the list - After initially-strong fundraising, challenger Brian Schoeneman has burned through most of his money. Bulova is not the strongest incumbent, but with Chap upballot in much of his district, he should have little trouble beating Schoeneman.

51st (Rich Anderson - R) - Removed from the list - Same situation as the 32nd, except Anderson is somewhat stronger than Greason.

86th (Tom Rust - R) - Removed from the list - The most Democratic House district held by a Republican, and Democrats didn't even find someone to run. Again, good job, guys.

94th (open - R) - Added to the list at Lean Republican - Virginia's unusual system for nominating candidates allows for surprise retirements at the last minute. Del. Glenn Oder resigned in August to take a job helming the Fort Monroe Authority. Republicans then nominated local businessman David Yancey, while Democrats picked Oder's '09 opponent, Gary West. Now, West did pretty poorly in '09, losing by a 2-1 margin, but that was against an incumbent, swimming upstream against McDonnell's coattails (the district is 61% McDonnell, 50% Obama). I think only two Democrats challenging Republican incumbents even made it past 40% of the vote that year. Anyway, this will be a short campaign, and West's biggest advantage is probably the fact that this district overlaps almost entirely with John Miller's Senate district, so he could see some favorable coattails.

Post-Primary Updates

10th (open - D) - Republicans picked Randy Minchew to be their nominee, but despite outspending his opponents significantly, Minchew only managed a 3% victory. This race should be competitive in November.

87th (open - D) - Republican David Ramadan outspent his primary opponent by 10-1, but he only managed a 56-44 victory. Probably not a good sign for him in the general, but nobody has ever complained about having too much money to spend on an election.

99th (open - D) - Democrats found a candidate here, but the Republican primary winner, Margaret Ransone, is dominating the money race, and this is not a favorable district to Democrats. It's a 100% guaranteed Republican pickup.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent diary (3+ / 0-)

    Great work as always. If you want to x-post this at Blue Virginia, I'll be happy to "promote" it to the front page. Thanks.

  •  SD-19 (0+ / 0-)

    Where do you put this race between Bell (I) and Smith (R)?

    "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

    by SouthernINDem on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 03:07:32 PM PDT

    •  Good question (0+ / 0-)

      It's hard to say, since Bell jumped in so late. To win he's going to need Democrats to turn out to vote for him along with Independents and whatever moderate Republicans are left in the district, and that's a pretty tough coalition to build these days. I'm not sure whether Democrats are going to be willing to pull the lever for a former Republican, even if he is the more moderate choice.

      One thing in Bell's favor is Botetourt County was removed from the district (the old 22nd district, that is), which gave Smith the margin of victory both in the primary and general elections in 2007. However, I'm not sure whether Bell can win over the "new" parts of the district (pulled in from the old 19th, 20th, and 21st districts), which are very conservative. And of course, starting late gives Bell little time to fundraise, set up a campaign organization, etc.

      In shorter terms, I'd say it's Likely Republican. I don't have it on the list because I haven't seen any indication that Bell would caucus with the Democrats.

  •  David Bernard for SD-10 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel

    The only race that has come on my radar so far, and only recently, is SD-10. Progressive Majority has endorsed him, which makes him on my list for helping. He sounds like a good candidate and it looks like a race worth putting some money into. I have very little to give (I put a fair amount into Wisconsin) and recently gave to David Weprin running for NY-9 (Weiner's seat) against a teabagger in a close election. But VA-SD-10 sounds like it should be on my list. So I just gave a small donation through Act Blue (seems I'm only the second person to do so!)

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. Read the PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT Newsletter

    by mole333 on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 05:21:00 PM PDT

  •  The rural seats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel

    Do you think anything has changed in Reynolds or Puckett's seats in the past few months?

    "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

    by SouthernINDem on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 07:47:40 PM PDT

    •  McDonnell is pouring money into those seats (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SouthernINDem

      He's given Bill Stanley $93,000 and Adam Light $50,000. Which isn't surprising, those are the two seats I would target the most if I were him.

      •  Luckily, both incumbents have (0+ / 0-)

        campaigning prowess and enough money to win with.

        How The Doctor does redistricting: 'I'm going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilize, street-level maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve jammie dodgers and a fez.'

        by KingofSpades on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 08:08:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Edd Houck (0+ / 0-)

        How much is McDonnell and the GOP going after Edd Houck? I know Democrats helped him in redistricting, but it is still a GOP leaning seat. I noticed both have raised some serious money, which makes me think they may run some ads on DC tv, in addition to Charlottesville.

        "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

        by SouthernINDem on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 08:10:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Houck's opponent is another beneficiary (0+ / 0-)

          of McDonnell's largess, to the tune of $50,000. I've heard he's already been running TV ads, presumably in the Charlottesville media market, since he doesn't have that much money.

          •  I hope Dems keep the Senate. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cville townie

            I would guess they have a somewhat better than even chance.

            How The Doctor does redistricting: 'I'm going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilize, street-level maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve jammie dodgers and a fez.'

            by KingofSpades on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 08:31:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It could have been stronger (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cville townie

              But the Senate Dems wilted in the face of claims that the original map was too gerrymandered despite the House GOP doing exactly the same thing. It added another Richmond area district that was a sure Dem seat and created chaos in Virginia Beach for incumbent Republicans. The map that we ended up with is not nearly as good.

              But anyway, I think we'll hold it, barely.

              Solid Liberal Democrat, Democrat, born and raised in VA-06, went to school in VA-05, back in VA-06 for the time being.

              by GeoffreyVS on Sun Sep 04, 2011 at 10:51:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Has any party actually (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DCCyclone

                ever suffered at the polls purely because of opposition to a gerrymander?  Has that ever been as big an issue as the economy, taxes, jobs, scandals, etc.?

                On two cases now (Arkansas and Virginia's senate) we have seen Democrats back down from more ambitious maps when they had complete power to enact them, for fear they were too "controversial".  But has saying screw that and going for a crazy map ever really caused a backlash?  Furthermore, has that backlash ever outweighed the benefits of the gerrymander?

                •  No, and there was no public pressure that... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  KingofSpades

                  ...concerned state Senate Dems, as I explained in my comment below.  McDonnell vetoed the map, so they had to change it.

                  43, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and a boy, Democrat, VA-10

                  by DCCyclone on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 07:36:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  They never "wilted," the map got vetoed (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KingofSpades, Skaje, cville townie

                State Senate Dems didn't face any public pressure at all that concerned them.

                McDonnell vetoed the map, and they had to play ball to get a new one, or else let the courts draw it which I understand they viewed as much more risky for Democrats than I and many other activists had originally thought.

                43, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and a boy, Democrat, VA-10

                by DCCyclone on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 07:36:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, disagree totally on SD-31 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sawolf, cville townie

    I realize you have it as lean D and Ben Tribbett in his typical recent poor judgment has it as slight-lean D, but I think it's way off to think this is going to be that close.  I live in this district and am clued in probably more than anyone else on DKE, although I can't and don't claim to be an insider.

    Favola will hold Deeds' 55%, maybe do better than that.

    Favola personally appears to be a problematic candidate, but she's running a very serious campaign.  Keep in mind I live in McLean, not in her Arlington base, and I got plenty of mail from her in the primary in addition to a couple voter contact calls from volunteers, and a robocall from Janet Howell.  And very soon after the primary her campaign manager, Adam Scott, knocked on my door during his canvass of my neighborhood.  I knock on doors for candidates, Pam Danner in HD-34 this cycle, regularly in my neighborhood, and I was able to help him a bit with some tips on some of the people on his walk list.

    So Favola is doing the stuff a serious campaign should do, in spite of whatever personal flaws she has.

    And all of the above is already move voter contact effort than I ever saw from Deeds up here a couple years ago.

    Even if turnout in Arlington is depressed, it's going to be at least half the total voters, and Arlington is going to give Favola a bigger margin than Merrick could ever hope to get from the combination McLean, Great Falls, and Loudoun.  The McLean precincts lean Democratic in the first place, that makes it even tougher for Merrick.

    Ben Tribbett and occasionally others like to talk about cross-effects, and complain that Favola would hurt Danner and other Dems in the Fairfax County precincts, but they never seem to recognize the inverse, that Danner, Foust, and others in Fairfax help gin up Democratic base turnout to Favola's benefit.

    The only argument suggesting that Favola could do worse than Deeds is that the turnout model, all other things being equal, is worse for us in the off-off-year like this one, than in a Governor's election cycle like 2009.  But all other things are not equal, because Deeds ran a Godawful campaign in every facet, including field, and had the worst underperformance imagineable for a Democrat--even losing Fairfax County, which is really hard for a Democrat to do.  And still he got 55% in this district.  So I think it's awfully tough to argue Favola will do worse than 55%, and IMO likely D is a more accurate rating for this contest.

    43, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and a boy, Democrat, VA-10

    by DCCyclone on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 07:53:56 AM PDT

    •  I get where you're coming from (0+ / 0-)

      and it's good to hear that Favola's campaign machinery is well-run, even if the candidate herself is subpar, but I'm still not confident enough that this race is in Likely D territory.

      Favola's decisive win in the primary did give me confidence in her ability to win, though.

      •  A few more things re Favola (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KingofSpades

        First, I don't think Favola's flaws are visible to the public, or anything that can be easily conveyed.  Jaime attacked her for a lot of stuff I think no one cares about, it was only through the blogs that I learned about Favola's behavior that rubbed people the wrong way.  It's hard to use that kind of material in mail or other advertising, and I doubt Merrick can do much more.  Voters just aren't interested in personal manner or temperament unless it rises to scandal or otherwise hits them in a way that makes them feel threatened, which Favola's doesn't.

        All this came through in the primary, as even Tribbett did some math on primary turnout and found that Dems suffered no decline that one might expect from disillusionment over subpar candidates.  The only declines compared to the 2007 HD-34 Dem primary between Vanderhye and Rick Sullivan were as should be expected in McLean precincts that were both Vanderhye's and Sullivan's home base, compared to Favola and Areizaga-Soto coming from Arlington.  Keep in mind Tribbett had commented once many weeks earlier that neither Favola nor Jaime was campaigning much outside Arlington, so it would've been easy for turnout to dip in Fairfax and Loudoun--but it didn't, compared to reasonable expectations.

        Second, it's obvious Favola overperformed in the primary in McLean, Great Falls, and Loudoun, compared to her skeptics' expectations.  She really crushed Jaime almost everywhere, and I mean crushed.  Keep in mind I'm in McLean and got tons more mail from Jaime than from Barbara, and I got a couple volunteer calls from him, too, in addition to a door-knock when I wasn't home (door hanger was there when I got home from work one night).  So Jaime was aggressive in my area, and still he got rolled.

        Third, the first my household has heard from Merrick came post-primary.  Keep in mind my wife and I have been voting here only since moving here in 2008, and my wife self-IDs as an indy (albeit a center-left one who usually votes the same as me), so we're used to getting mail and calls from Republican candidates notwithstanding my being an active Democrat.  So had Merrick reached out outside the GOP base any earlier, in my house we'd know.

        I'll add one more thing, that Merrick mailer came from the RPV, not Merrick's own campaign.  So the state GOP definitely is invested in this, and the mailer was a full-color piece of several pages.  As is normal for McLean candidates, the words Republican and conservative never appeared (except for the note that the RPV paid for the piece).

        I'm increasingly confident the warning bells are much ado about nothing.  The tangible signs all point to a comfortable Democratic win.

        43, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and a boy, Democrat, VA-10

        by DCCyclone on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 04:04:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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