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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: The Blue-ing of Virginia

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

Sabato’s Crystal Ball covers today’s state legislative elections in Virginia.

“In an era of political nationalization that is bleeding down the ballot even to state-level races, the best bet in all three states would be to go with partisanship. And that’s where we’re leaning: Our ratings for the gubernatorial races in Kentucky and Mississippi remain Leans Republican and, while we don’t issue ratings for specific state legislative chambers and races, our sense is that the Democrats are better-positioned than Republicans to win both the Virginia House of Delegates and (especially) the Virginia Senate…..

Virginia, driven by the growth of demographic groups favorable to the Democrats, is moving away from the Republicans. That change is coming specifically in many affluent, highly-educated suburban areas that used to vote Republican but now do not in large part because of a negative reaction to Trump’s candidacy and presidency. This has been enough to offset a Republican trend in the more rural, less diverse, and less populated western part of the state. Virginia’s overall trend toward the Democrats is in some ways decoupling it from its traditional political association with the conservative South and realigning it with the states of the Mid-Atlantic, such as Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey (which has elections of its own next week, as described below). To be clear, Virginia is not as Democratic as those states are, but its direction may be similar…..

Overall, the most important races in Virginia are being contested on turf that is, on paper, favorable to Democrats. Following the House remap, Clinton carried 56 of the state’s 100 districts, and Republicans currently hold seven of those districts. Democrats don’t hold any Trump-won seats. In the Senate, where districts have not been redrawn, Republicans hold four Clinton-won seats, while Democrats don’t hold any Trump-won seats. In fact, none of the 19 Democratic-held Senate seats (out of 40 total) appear flippable for Republicans….”

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