Blue Louisa: A blog Covering Central Virginia & national politics from a progressive perspective
With the primary elections coming up next week, Louisa County voters have two distinct sets of choices. On one side, there’s the 17th Senate Democratic primary between Ben Hixon, and Amy Laufer. And on the Republican side, there’s Rich Breeden running against Bryce Reeves.
The other two state districts representing Louisa County, the 22nd Senate and the 56th House of Delegates aren’t having primaries this year, likewise with all local County elections. While there’s much to recommend about both Democratic candidates running for the 17th Senate District seat, the same can’t be said for either of the Replican’ts.
The two term incumbent; Bryce Reeves history of voting against his constituents interests on just about any issue you care to name is well documented, while his challenger has no history to speak of, and whose FB page and web pages is so generic that it's meaningless.
Blue Virginia recently posted up a poll of Democratic Senate primaries taking place around the state, and as you can see there are several primaries in and around the 7th Congressional District, that should be interest to Louisa’s voters, particularly the 10th, the 11th, the 12th, and the13th Districts.
While the Senate district which concerns most people in Louisa the 17th, is a bit of an uphill battle, given sufficient turnout it could flip Democratic, especially considering that Ed Houck held this seat for 28 years before Reeves last minute RPV sponsored smear campaign in 2011 won it for him.
And it would be nice to see Yasmine Taeb, knock off the infamous DINO “Dominion” Dick Saslaw in the 35th Senate District, given his financial advantages, the odds of that happening are slim.
As you can see from the chart below, many State Senate races should be competitive.
Since Abigail Spanberger’s victory over Dave Brat in the 7th Congressional District was won largely on the strength of heavy Democratic turnout in parts of Richmond, and Henrico and Chesterfield County’s, what happens in the 10th, 11th and the 12th Senate primaries and general elections will determine the Democrats chances of retaking the Senate this fall.
While there is no Democratic primary in the 13th Senate District, the fact that the vile Dick Black has resigned, gives Delegate John Bell (87th) an excellent chance of beating either of the two Republicans running for this open seat.
According to Chaz Nuttycombe’s analysis of the 10th Senate race, this is the most likely of the three Richmond area districts to flip Democratic, and the choices in this race are between Eileen Bedell, who ran against Dave Brat in 2016, Zachary Brown, and Ghazala Hashmi.
Virginia’s 10th Senate district includes parts of the city of Richmond as well as Chesterfield and Powhatan Counties. The district has become increasingly Democratic in in recent years, with both Hashmi and Bedell spending much of their cash on television ad production and airtime.
Bedell’s campaign is using an agency that does both digital and direct mail, listing all expenses as “Consulting Fee” so it’s difficult to determine what’s mail and what’s’ digital spending. And Hashmi’s campaign is running her television spot as an ad on Facebook, while, Zachary Brown is creating his own digital ads.
Another Democratic prospects for picking up a Senate seats is the 11th Senate District, currently held by pistol packing Amanda “Church Lady” Chase, formerly Dave Brat’s 2014 campaign manager before taking office in 2015. With the Democratic choices between; Amanda Pohl, and Wayne Powell, best known for running against Eric Cantor in 2012.
The 12th Senate District seat currently held by Republican Sibbohan Dunavant, should also be another highly competitive race. On the Democratic side of the aisle, there's the primary between Debra Rodman, the current 73rd House of Delegates representative and Veena Lothe and Marques Jones, former chair of the Henrico Democratic Committee.
Virginia’s 12th state Senate district consists of a huge number of voters from Henrico County with a smaller portion living in Hanover County, and is another district, which has gotten bluer over the past few elections. With Debra Rodman putting far more money into digital advertising than most other Democratic campaigns
While Veena Lothe hasn’t spent any money on consultants over the last two months, with her campaign manager creating the campaign’s Facebook ads in-house, a more cost-effective strategy than hiring a digital agency
Reportedly, the DPVA was playing favorites in this race. Starting with Governor Ralph Northam’s PAC asking the DPVA to commission a poll through the 3rd party “The Way Ahead” group for this seat, with the PAC sharing the results of this poll with Rodman, but not the two other Democrats running for this seat.
According to Brandon Jarvis, the editor of Richmond2Day, Northam’s PAC also offered Melissa McKenny a prominent activist in Henrico County $1M in campaign funds if she joined the Democratic primary race. Since all of this took place shortly before the Governor’s “blackface” yearbook photo came out, it may be a moot point, as the Governor’s and Lt. Governors ability to raise funds has greatly diminished since then.
How this loss of “rainmakers” at the top of the ticket affects the DPVA’s ability to channel money into downstream Senate and House races; and particularly House seats which have been vacated by Democrats seeking Senate seats, like the 73th, (Rodman), and the 87th (Bell) is anyone’s guess.
What should be of concern to all Democrats in Virginia is that the State Party seems to be emulating the DCCC’s attitude about pre-selecting “winning” candidates with little regard to the preferences and needs of the local voters.
Only, instead of protecting incumbents, the State Party appears to be going all out to retake the Senate, while doing relatively little to retake the House of Delegates. Seemingly oblivious that it was a Democratic Blue Wave, which enabled them to pick up 15 seats in the House of Delegates.
A wave which reduced the Replican’ts margin in the House of Delegates from a near super-majority to a one-seat majority. And while it was the most “deplorable” of the Replican’ts who were voted out of office in 2017, Democrats now have to defend most of those seats while picking up at least 1, preferably 2 seats to regain control of the House.
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