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.
|Likely D||Lean D||Tossup||Lean R||Likely R|
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.
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
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.
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.