More on a Blueing Virginia

Virginia hasn't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in more than four decades -- but who's to say that it's not on the verge of becoming a blue state (or at least a purple state that is slightly more blue than red)? Take a look, for instance, at the outlook for this fall's legislative contest in the state, courtesy of The Washington Post's Tim Craig.

Virginia Democrats are in a strong position to make substantial gains in the General Assembly in the Nov. 6 election, strategists in both parties say, setting the stage for an expensive battle this fall with Republicans, who are trying to keep control of the Senate and House of Delegates.

With the seats of all 140 delegates and senators up for election, Democrats say they are feeling increasingly confident that they can retake the Senate and pick up three to six seats in the House. Democrats need to gain four seats in the Senate and 11 in the House to grab power from the Republicans for the first time since 1999.


Democrats are energized by what they say was GOP leaders' slow response to the summer-long storm over abusive-driving fees and by President Bush's unpopularity in the polls. Shifting demographics in several GOP-held House and Senate districts have also improved their chances, Democrats say.

Republicans are hoping that passion over the illegal immigration issue will drive voters to back their candidates. GOP candidates will also make the argument that if the party retains control, it would mean lower taxes, controls on development and more education spending. Once voters "understand and hear that message, our candidates stand tall," said Senate Majority Leader Walter A. Stosch (R-Henrico).

We sure saw how well the immigration issue performed in saving the Republican majorities in the United States Congress last fall -- no wonder Virginia Republicans are banking on anti-immigrant sentiments to help them remain in control of the state legislature. (Just ask J.D. Hayworth and Henry Bonilla how tacking to the right on the issue of immigration did for them, or perhaps Vernon Robinson.)

But Virginia Republicans' problems extend far beyond just the state legislative level (which is certainly problematic given the possibility that a wave in state legislative elections can be an omen for things to come). With the retirement of longtime Republican Senator John Warner and the very real possibility that Mark Warner, the extremely popular former Democratic Governor, will jump in the race for the Senate, it seems that the Democrats may be poised to pick up two Senate seats in the state in as many cycles. This comes on top of the possibility that the Democrats will pick up two congressional seats in the state, as well. What's more, Democrats are talking about seriously contesting Virginia on the presidential level, hoping that 2008 could be the first year since 1964 in which a Democrat has carried the state.

So suffice it to say that we may be seeing a very different Virginia than the one many had become accustomed to.

Tags: 2007, General 2008, Senate 2008, Virginia (all tags)




If the Democratic candidate can take Virginia, that pretty much makes the math necessary for the Republican to win impossible, right?

by One Hand Clapping 2007-09-03 12:57PM | 0 recs

Not exactly. If the GOP picks up Ohio and Florida plus all states except VA that they won in 2004, they win, but by a much narrower margin.

I think illegal immigration issue hurts rather than helps the GOP. Many Asian Americans and Hispanics in Fairfax (US citizens) think that Prince William is giving them a warning: not to move into their white areas. Make it scary enough so that the minorities dont move and change the government.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-03 01:09PM | 0 recs
Ohio ...

Remember ... there is no Ken Blackwell in Ohio anymore ... and considering they just elected a Dem as Governor and to the US Senate .. I say odds are pretty good that we can win Ohio in '08 .. I hope the Democratic candidate will campaign in all 50 states ..  just think about that for a second .. the Repubs would sh-t their pants if our candidate did that .. not to mention what the local news would be like in those states

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-09-03 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Ohio ...

I forgot to mention .. if we win everything Kerry did last time .. and flip Ohio .. we win .. the real question is .. how do we turn a spring shower into a deluge?

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-09-03 01:21PM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

the astonishing thing is to look at how many seats are being contested -- in the Senate, only 4 out of 17 Democratic Senate seats are being challenged by Republicans, whereas 13 of the 23 Republican Senate seats have Democratic challengers. in the House, 5 Democratic House seats are being contested by the Republicans, out of 41 (including one D-leaning independent), whereas 28 of the 59 Republican (including two R-leaning independents) seats are being challenged.

and yes, that does mean that a majority of seats are unopposed or just have third party challengers. hooray for gerrymandering.

by johnny longtorso 2007-09-03 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

Six GOP Senate seats are considered vulnerable: ME, NH, MN, CO, OR, VA. And two Dem seats are vulnerable: SD and LA. However, if Hagel retires, his seat in NE becomes vulnerable.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-03 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

It's why we have to find someone for NC ..  make as many seats as vulnerable to them as possible .. not only that ..but we have good candidates in TX and OK .. and Idaho too

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-09-03 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

my mistake -- make that 6 House Democrats, I missed one.

it doesn't help the Republicans that they have 3 retiring Senators (plus two moderates that were defeated by wingnut candidates), and 7 retiring House members, whereas the Democrats only have two retirements total: Sen. Benny Lambert and Del. Don McEachin, the latter of whom defeated the former in the 9th District Senate primary. (neither Don nor his House replacement has a Republican opponent.)

by johnny longtorso 2007-09-03 01:18PM | 0 recs
A few quibbles.

Concerning illegal immigration, there are no Tom Tancredos in Virginia. You can't compare the results from Texas and Arizona in 2006 to Virginia in 2007; you also can't compare an issue in a federal race to an issue in a state race. They're inherently different policies and different debates. Finally, every year that goes by and nothing is done creates more and more people who consider it a top issue.

The problem for the GOP on illegal immigration is that the most vocal opponents of it are extremists. The issue is simmering underneath the surface, and most people are aware of it. But when you ask them about it, they feel pressured to say "I'm not a racist..." or "I support legal immigration". Those distinctions shouldn't have to be made, but they are because of the stigma being attached. Some Democrats have tried to categorically label everyone and anyone who is concerned about illegal immigrants as racist. That is a losing strategy. The GOP is on the right side of the issue with the vast majority of the population, the problem is getting a good message out through the crap that Lou Dobbs and others spew constantly.

If you want to compare election results, however, look at the city of Herndon. In 2005, they built a day labor center with taxpayer funds that basically served as a meeting ground where undocumented workers and employers could meet to arrange work. In the 2006 elections, the mayor and all but one of the city council were voted out of office.

I agree that Davis's 11th district will be tough for the GOP to keep, but Drake seems well-poised in VA-02. After defeating Ashe in '04 and Kellam in '06, two tough opponents, she is now more established in the district and I don't know if she's going to face a strong challenge in '08. The next best opportunity for a pick-up in the district will be if its gerrymandered to include Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Finally, if Mark Warner does indeed jump in the Senate race (something I'm not sold on, but we'll see what happens), the GOP will be favored to win the Governor's mansion in 2009.

by Unabridged 2007-09-03 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

The GOP is on the right side of the issue with the vast majority of the population...

The "vast majority" of the population which favors a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants?  I don't think so.  The only sense in which the GOP is on the right side of this issue is if you believe the Democrats are the party of unrestricted immigration and open borders.

The GOP has an absurdly strong message machine and they have for years.  Any time you find yourself saying "the GOP is losing on this issue because they can't get their message out," you just might be making excuses.

by Steve M 2007-09-03 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

I agree with Steve M rathern than Unabridged. I am in Northern Virginia. When I first moved to this area in 1979, the area was white and they and was the HQ of the American Nazi Party of George Rockwell who was dead by then. I live about five blocks from what used to be his HQ in 1979. Klan used to be active. People who opposed minorities moving into Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria, began to move out to Prince William and Loudon. At least two of the people who did not like minorities are in the anti-illegal movement. It is racism that is driving the anti-illegal message in PW and Loudon. Herndon is an exception to the rule. Kilgore lost because the message he sent to Herndon voters did not resonate with the rest of Northern Virginia. I think that unless Hillary's reverse coattails do a lot of damage, a Democrat will win Davis's seat and Democrat Mark Warner will win the Senate race by carrying Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria by over 60%. He will also come close to carrying PW and Loudon. Thelma Drake will keep her seat in the Norfolk area.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-03 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

You're making the mistake of assuming that the GOP is united on this issue. Clearly, it is not. But while the vocal extremists in the minority get the attention, most of the party is more moderate on the issue. Deportation of 12 million people isn't a possibility.

When I say that they have trouble getting the message out, I don't mean for the party as a whole, I mean for the part of the party that opposes illegal immigration, but is not in the same strand as the minutemen on the border or Lou Dobbs. And because of elements like those, people create and then inflate the attitude that all who oppose illegal immigration are racist.

by Unabridged 2007-09-03 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

If the majority of the party were truly as moderate on immigration as you suggest, the recent Bush-supported immigration bill would have passed in a cakewalk.

Whether you think most Republicans are reasonable when it comes to their rhetoric on immigration, their votes tell a different story.  You can't blame it all on Lou Dobbs.  They had a chance to make a statement with their votes and they passed.

As long as Republican legislators vote in line with the wishes of their most hardcore anti-immigration supporters, that's what they will be judged by.

by Steve M 2007-09-03 09:11PM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

At least it is very difficult to accuse Lou Dobbs of racism. He has consistently opposed illegal immigration and even foreign workers, but he also has opposed outsourcing. His lukewarm handling of the minimum wage debate does raise questions. On the other hand, groups such as FAIR and CIS would not raist their hand to help American workers in support of the minimum wage although they keep saying higher wages to attract American workers, and they have little or no interest in outsourcing. Ditto for Tancredo and the rest of the lunatic wing of the GOP of which there are many including women such as Marilyn Musgrave and Marsha Blackburn. They have consistently opposed the workers on all issues except immigration. Sounds like they just dont want non-white immigrants in their neighborhood. Sounds pretty racist.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-04 04:10AM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

The Bush-supported immigration bill had major flaws in it, and I say this as someone who ardently supports John McCain.

The illusion of the Senate is that you have to take a yes or no approach to everything, and then let others judge where you stand. Say on the issue of illegal immigration there is a scale from 1 to 100. 100 would be open borders, no enforcement, let everyone and anyone in then provide government services to them all. 1 would be close the borders, no immigration of any sort, deport all illegals, etc. Various members of the Republican Party fall along different parts of the scale. I would put the Bush-backed bill at around a 50-60, in terms of moderation. Most of the GOP caucus is under that, some at 40-50, some at 30-40, and some lower and closer to the fringe.

My point is that just because they didn't vote for Bush's bill doesn't automatically mean they support the fringe element of their party. They didn't "vote in line" with the wishes of their most hardcore supporters, because their most hardcore supporters would demand they vote against anything that's not under a 10 on that scale. They voted against what they thought was bad policy.

by Unabridged 2007-09-04 05:12AM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

I completely disagree with you. The House Immigration Reform Caucus led by Tom Tancredo and now has the support of Daryl "the Arab American, I want to be white too" Issa would love to have a legislation brought up to put moratorium on all immigration including immediate family from questionable places, ie., whites marrying Asians from Asia. It wont pass but they will support it. Over the years, people ranging from the racist Georgia GOP delegation in the House to racists representing white flighters in places like Littleton, CO or Huntington Beach, CA, have supported various measures to cut off legal immigration because it brings in too many Asians. Look at all the legislation they have introduced from denying citizenship to the so-called "anchor babies" (this from a party that claims to support babies as long as they are not born) to moratorium on all immigration including spouses of US citizens. Smacks of Chinese Exclusion Act, as far as I am concerned.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-04 06:14AM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

As I said, many immigration opponents tend to be racists everywhere..this is the fact. Look at this mailbag from the UK. It is funny the guys who vociferously support BNP are living and working in foreign countries and even non-white countries such as Dubai. Look at this guy, very funny...Chris ex-pat living in Serbia, but does not want Serbians to work in the UK. And Frederick working in Dubai, but he wants to keep everyone out of his is ok for him to work abroad, but not for foreigners to work in his country:

"I think he may have won the next election. We're full up and that's the truth. It's either him or BNP for me.

Frederick, Dubai, Dubai" /columnists/michael_portillo/article2368 550.ece

I have heard similar comments from white Americans working in Singapore. They would love to live and work there, but they dont like the idea of Singaporeans living and working in the US. Talk about wanting exclusive privilege!!

by Boilermaker 2007-09-04 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

Yes, and those are the ones you can reasonable call racist. But trying to use them to paint anybody who is concerned about illegal immigration (read: most of the country) as racist is wrong.

by Unabridged 2007-09-04 10:33AM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

You can claim to know what's in their hearts if you like, but until they actually propose and pass a bill that's in that 30-40 range, people aren't going to give them credit for moderation.

by Steve M 2007-09-04 06:52AM | 0 recs
Re: A few quibbles.

I never said they were moderate. If anything they will pass 10-20 range bill as they did back in December 2005.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-04 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

And by the way anti-immigration groups such as FAIR and CIS who purport to support the US workers are racists. Why? They only show up when the issues is immigration. They dont care if the jobs are outsourced and there is no minimum wage for the workers. Secondly these groups make a big deal when the American workers are displaced by those in Asia or Latin America. Every year, at least 7,000 American actors are displaced due to Hollywood recruiting people from the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand to play American roles such as a sitcom based in Indianapolis. So much so, some of them are living on the streets in Hollywood and Greater LA. But, these anti-immigration groups dont give a hoot, because these imported foreign actors happen to be mostly if not all white. So, yes, there is indeed a perception that people who oppose immigrants, and even illegal immigrants, are racists.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-03 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

I should say, so yes there is a perception that people and groups who oppose immigration and even illegal immigration are racists, and rightly so.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-03 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

"And rightly so".

This is my problem exactly. I agree that some people who oppose illegal immigration are racists. But to categorically dismiss any concern over the issue as racism is simply ridiculous, and given how big of an issue it is and will continue to be, I don't see how calling the majority of voters racists for their valid concerns is a winning electoral strategy.

by Unabridged 2007-09-03 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

Majority of the voters are not racist. They are concerned. However, majority of the GOP voters, particularly the base are in general racists.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-04 04:11AM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

That's the exact same as me saying the majority of Democratic voters, particulary the base are in general Communists.

For starters, you're flat-out wrong, but more than that, do you not understand the inherent danger in this line of thinking? Believe that the Republicans are wrong. Believe that you can come up with better policies than they can. But believing most of them to be racist is below the standard of decency.

by Unabridged 2007-09-04 05:04AM | 0 recs
Re: More on a Blueing Virginia

I will not make a big deal of it if this was only illegal immigration issue. But, let us look at what the GOP has done. Let us start with Georgia and their attempts to disenfranchise the black voters through ID requirements and harrassment. Let us talk about Lyn Westmoreland and Nathan Deal and the entire Georgia congressional gang trying to "defend the honor of Georgia" against the renewal of the Civil Rights Act. Let us talk about the GOP opposition to the Martin Luther King's Birthday. Let us talk about the GOP trying to appoint judges hostile to school integration.

Interesting that your comparison is to Democrats being called communists. It is actually the GOP which is sounding more and more like communists. Listen to some of the things that Duncan Hunter said about Dubai Ports deal and nationalization of ports. Listen to Dana Rohrbacher wanting to establish a gulag of prison labor to pick fruits instead of a guest worker program, and just listen to congressman Steve King of Iowa..

"King, when talking about America's upper crust which he deems as the "new ruling class", is quoted as saying, "this new ruling class of America is expanding a servant class in America at the expense of the middle class of America," 03/congressman-steve-king-of-iowa-has-hi s.html

A speech directly plagarized from Karl Marx's Das Kapital with some modifications, something the dumb American media failed to point out then in March 2006...then again may be a number of GOP voters have Marxist leanings including Pat Buchanan..may be I am wrong, may be they are not racists after all..more like communists.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-04 12:33PM | 0 recs
Bad Driving Fees

They seem like a good idea to me.  Whatever works to get bad drivers off the road is fine by me, including bankrupting them.

by Adam T 2007-09-03 08:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Bad Driving Fees

Yes, I support it too!

by Boilermaker 2007-09-04 04:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Bad Driving Fees

There are two major complaints with the abusive driving fees:

1) They extend down the list to minor driving infractions, including changing lanes without a turn signal. State officials have said these would only apply if such an action caused an accident, but the truth of the matter is that the police have the ability to determine on their own what someone gets written up for.

2) Because of its adminsitrative convenience, Governor Kaine exempted all out-of-state drivers, despite the fact that in a region like Northern Virginia, over a quarter of all cars on the road are from Maryland, D.C., or West Virginia. This provision has been the basis of numerous lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the fees.

by Unabridged 2007-09-04 05:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Bad Driving Fees

I think if the motorist does not stop for pedestrians on the white strip with or without stop signs, they should be levied a heavy fine. My mother a old lady in her seventies was almost run over by such a motorist in Northern Virginia. And yes, we should nail out of state drivers as well.

by Boilermaker 2007-09-04 06:20AM | 0 recs


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