Virginia State Senate Pickup Opportunity for Dems About to Open Up?

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    According to Jim Nolan of the RTD, “Breaking: State Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan retiring at the end of his term in 2015. Senate power struggle likely to ensue.” If true, that could open up a serious, major Democratic pickup opportunity for 2015. Keep in mind that Dems need to hold all their incumbent seats and to pick up a net of one seat to regain control of the Virginia State Senate, so this one could be crucial for Medicaid expansion and just about anything else you care about. As you can see from the graphic below (click to “embiggen”), Watkins holds a district that was won by Mark Herring in 2013, and is the “bluest” of all the Virginia State Senate districts currently held by Republicans. Democrats, start your engines…now! 🙂

    P.S. It yet again demonstrates how far-far right the Virginia GOP has lurched, when someone as conservative as John Watkins feels like he would have lost a Republican primary, so better get out while the getting is good.

    UPDATE: According to WTVR reporter Joe St. George, “Democratic sources told CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George $2 million could be spent on the 2015 election and that Jon Baliles,  a Richmond City Councilman, could be considering entering the race as well as Chesterfield County  Supervisor Dan Gecker.”


    • Henrico – Today, Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico), chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, issued this statement on the pending retirement of Senator John Watkins (R-Powhatan). Senator McEachin said, “I have been fortunate to serve alongside Senator Watkins in the last seven years since I was elected to the Virginia Senate. He is the true epitome of a statesman and a Virginia gentleman, always doing what he truly believes is right for the Commonwealth. Although we do not always agree, Senator Watkins is always cordial, open to new ideas and willing to work with anyone to benefit Virginia. He refrains from knee-jerk partisan responses and vitriol. This past year, over the objections of the strident partisans in his own Party, he supported expanding access to health care and worked tirelessly to make it a reality.

      “Senator Watkins’ devotion to principle over partisanship, to committed and invested constituent service and to involvement in the community is an example to all of us. I will miss him and I wish him the best in this new phase of his life,” Senator McEachin concluded.

    • Reporters –

      I just wanted to make the point, as you’re covering Sen. Watkins’ retirement announcement, that Democrats have consistently won the 10th senatorial district in statewide elections over the last three years.

      Also note that Democrat Jon Baliles defeated a Republican for Richmond City Council in part of the district in 2012; Dan Gecker, an Independent, defeated a Republican incumbent for the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors in 2007.

      The Senate Democratic Caucus intends to vigorously contest SD-10 in the 2015 election, and the Republicans should not take this blue-trending district for granted.

      Please find recent election results below. The numbers speak for themselves.

    • runbmc

      What is our bench here and can they win?

    • For more than 30 years, John Watkins has dedicated his life to serving the people of the Commonwealth. In both the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia, he has been a leader for legislation that has improved transportation, focused on business development, and fought to make Virginia a better place to live, work, and raise a family. I appreciate John’s willingness to work with me to try and find a way to provide health care for 400,000 Virginians. He has a strong record of putting policy above politics, and it has been an honor for me to work with him. John has been a champion for all Virginians.

    • runbmc

      seem likely to go with Del. Manoli Loupassi if he wants it.

    • bentonsandy

      Is not in the district.

    • truthteller

      Definitely curious to see who we’re up against

    • FreeDem

      This seat was THE seat to focus on in 2015, and now the Republicans will have to risk an open nomination process that could very easily produce a far-right wing Tea Partier.

      Christmas has come early.