Two Possible Scenarios for the Virginia 8th CD Democratic Primary


    I was playing with numbers in the 8th CD Democratic primary, and came up with a couple scenarios for final results that seem plausible to me. Both scenarios assume that Fairfax County plus Falls Church will make up 42% of the vote; Arlington County 36% of the vote; and Alexandria 22% of the vote. In Scenario 1 (click on image to “embiggen”), Don Beyer wins Fairfax/Falls Church 48%-20%-17% over Patrick Hope and Adam Ebbin, respectively; Ebbin wins Alexandria 23% over Beyer, Lavern Chatman and Bill Euille at 20% each; and Hope wins Arlington with 45% of the vote over Beyer with 32% and Ebbin with 11%.

    In Scenario 2 (click on image to “embiggen”), Beyer wins Fairfax/Falls Church with 41%, while Hope and Ebbin tie at 23%; Ebbin wins Alexandria with 23% over Beyer, Chatman and Euille at 20% each; and Hope wins Arlington with 35% over Beyer (30%) and Ebbin (25%). This is basically the “Ebbin’s Being Underestimated Scenario.” In this scenario, Ebbin surges in Arlington, going from 11% in Scenario 1 to 25% in Scenario 2, and cutting into Hope’s Arlington share (goes down from 45% to 35%). I don’t think it’s highly likely that will happen, but it’s possible. Plus, I’m never going to underestimate Adam Ebbin, having done that once before (in his Senate primary against Rob Krupicka and Libby Garvey), which Ebbin won in come-from-behind fashion.

    As it looks to me right now, in both scenarios, Don Beyer would win the election. For Patrick Hope to win, he’d have to significantly increase his share of Fairfax County/Falls Church. In Scenario 2, for Adam Ebbin to win, he’d have to really eat into Hope’s share of Arlington County, while increasing his Fairfax/Falls Church share.

    As for the other candidates, let’s just say that in playing around with the numbers – which are based on whatever information I’ve been able to glean from the various campaigns, FEC reports, etc., plus discussions with knowledgeable Dems – I’m not seeing paths to victory for them. The problem for the Alexandria candidates (with the exception of Don Beyer, who really isn’t an Alexandria candidate per se; even though he lives in Old Town now, he has a much wider profile for a variety of reasons, such as that he was LG for two terms and ran for Governor), is that there are so many of them, meaning they cannibalize each others’ support in Alexandria, plus they don’t have much name ID outside of Alexandria, and most don’t have the financial resources to gain that name ID over the next 7 weeks.

    Note that these are nothing more than my best guesses at the moment, that a LOT can change, and that I could be wildly wrong. I’d love to hear your (substantive) responses, based on your own analysis of the numbers and how the election might play out. Thanks.

    P.S. It’s worth noting that in the 2013 Democratic LG and AG primaries, Arlington accounted for 39.5% of the vote, Alexandria for 24.8%, and Fairfax/Falls Church for 35.7%. In my scenarios, Arlington is 3.5 points lower, Alexandria 2.8 points lower, and Fairfax/Falls Church 6.3 points higher. If the shares are closer to the 2013 primary, that would tend to help Patrick Hope and hurt Don Beyer. We’ll see…

    • FreeDem

      What are you using for basing the different scenarios? Such as the relative size of the localities in the primary? As you note, recent statewide primaries have seen higher shares for Arlington and Alexandria.

    • hitmanwhit

      Certainly seems to be a three way race between Hope, Ebbin, and Beyer at this point.  

    • That’s what I wonder.

    • BFKelleher

      How exactly, in scenario 1, do you give Shuttleworth 2% while other candidates like Hyra and Levine only get 1%?

    • SethM

      Your scenarios ignore some crucial data indicating that Adam Ebbin has a significant opportunity to win this race.  First, Adam currently serves 36% of the likely 8th District voters – far more than any elected official in this race, and he is the only elected official who has won elections in significant portions of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Falls Church.  

      In 2011 Adam’s grass-roots campaign won in Fairfax County – where he was not well known – with 39.5% of the vote, in Arlington where Libby Garvey was a strong incumbent by 42.8% of the vote and in Alexandria where Rob Krupicka was a strong incumbent he still earned 34.84%.  In short, Adam has the name recognition and strong political skills to win this race.

    • charleyconrad

      I have been canvassing for Adam on several campaigns and I say “Don’t Count Adam Out”  I have knocked on a lot of doors and I know that Eighth District primary voters are too smart to be taken in by expensive mail pieces and long lists of progressive legislation that candidates promise to pass.  With up to 10 candidates the electorate will be deeply divided which will benefit Adam Ebbin more than any other candidate.  As the incumbent representing a large portion of the 8th district he is well known for passing legislation and unparalleled constituent services.

      After years of knocking on doors for Adam and other candidates I can get a feel for how the electorate is moving.  I experienced that feeling in the special state senate election when everyone was saying “Rob has it in the bag”.  That was not the feeling I had on the doors and Adam went on to win a nice victory.

      So the bottom line is that Adam Ebbin is in an excellent position to win the primary.

    • HRogers

      It is of course easy to play with numbers and understandable to reach the easy conclusion that a multimillionaire business man with high name recognition has a strong advantage even though he has not held elective office since 1998, but I respectfully disagree.  Your analysis discounts the fact that Adam Ebbin already represents over 1/3 of the eighth district and his come-from-behind win in a very tough primary for State Senate in 2011.

      From my perspective, Adam’s legislative accomplishments are far more significant than your analysis indicates.  Adam persuaded Republicans and Democrats in Richmond to end the hybrid car tax, extend Medicaid to pregnant immigrants and remove restrictions on solar panels in housing developments.  He persuaded two governors to sign the first executive orders to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ state workers and the list goes on and on.  Between Adam’s strong electoral skills and his unparalleled legislative history I see a very clear path to his winning this primary.

    • kindler

      …and the geographic analysis is thoughtful.

      Still, in a primary where turnout is sure to be low, it really depends on who turns out their supporters.  I could see either Adam or Patrick really galvanizing their bases and eking out a narrow win.

    • FreeDem

      Remember how the fact that Adam had barely represented any of the State Senate District meant that the race was Rob’s to lose?


      Adam was able to connect with Fairfax voters where he had no previously established ties. That’s an impressive feat. At the same time, the example of Adam’s State Senate primary demonstrate the importance of being open-minded about any candidate connecting with the mass of voters, in this case Fairfax again, and not assuming that they’ll automatically go to Beyer.

    • drgonzo9917

      We have zero polling at the moment so all this is just speculation founded on – in my opinion – faulty analysis. The fact is Fairfax/Falls Church doesn’t have the influence you’re giving it for Beyer. But more importantly, no one has been spending much money yet, except Beyer on mail he doesn’t need to buy. The candidates are going to start spending now, and we’ll see what that does in polling if anyone does any. But honestly we don’t know how much support anyone has at the moment, and the truth is any poll at this point is probably going to have a majority “undecided.” This race is just heating up, and I think if Levine can start getting some more press, he’ll come out as the one to challenge Beyer. He’s good at events and debates, and sure he’s got a bit of the theatrical but he’s a lawyer after all, but one who knows his stuff. My issue with Beyer is that he feels entitled to the seat. So he was LG and an ambassador (big deal, I don’t defend knucklehead appointees even if they’re nominated by a Democrat, like our illustrious Hungarian and Norwegian ambassadors), he’s a big business shill who has name ID because he’s sold cars here since his political career ended. We need energy in this seat. Moran stagnated and became a go-along-to-get-along politician. Levine has the energy.

      But the truth is the leader in this race is far from clear right now, and until we get some legitimate numbers (or hell even just some leaked numbers from a campaign, biased as they will be) this is all just various speculation.

    • pvogel
    • SethM

      FreeDem makes some excellent points, especially in his scenarios for Ebbin or Hope surges.  Frankly I think that many people are over-estimating Beyer’s potential.  With all of the candidates emphasizing very similar issues experience will be a key factor.  As FreeeDem said, “Ebbin has the best track record in the Virginia State Legislature for the right votes and focusing on issues where he can make a difference.”  When people start to look closely at Beyer’s record – which ended in 1998 with a significant election loss – they will see some very disconcerting positions.  

      Hope’s strongest argument is that “it’s time for Arlington to have a Congressman.” Conveniently forgetting that Jim Moran lived in Arlington for a number of years.  Hope represents about 39% of Arlington but he has never been on a ballot in Alexandria, Fairfax or Falls Church.  

      This race is about the future of the 8th District and how we want to be represented in Congress.  Adam has fought for progressive values long before he became a legislator.  In Richmond he mastered the art of unifying moderates from both sides to focus on bite-sized chunks of progressive legislation.  

      On the crucial question of who can do more for the Democratic Party in Virginia, Ebbin has raised over $300,000 for grass-roots campaigns throughout the Commonwealth.  

      As the campaign heats up I am confident that eight district voters will recognize that Adam Ebbin is truly the best person to represent us in the 21st Century.