I’ve been keeping track of Virginia’s House of Delegates districts, and specifically which ones have either Democratic incumbents or challengers. As of the moment, I count 20 districts without a Democratic candidate/incumbent, or to put it in a more positive way, I count 80 out of 100 districts with either a Democratic incumbent or challenger to a Republican. Not too shabby, especially given that we still have time to add more Democratic candidates. Also good news — we’ve got Democrats running against all 17 Republican incumbents holding down districts won by Hillary Clinton this past November. So, overall, looking good right now – nice job by everyone involved in recruiting candidates, including Del. David Toscano, Del. Rip Sullivan, Del. Alfonso Lopez, Trent Armitage, independent groups, etc.
Now, the question is which districts should be given the highest priority in terms of time, attention, effort, money, etc. Here’s a totally unscientific list – albeit one that comes from talking to knowledgeable people, looking at the districts and candidates, etc. – of the top 17 districts [UPDATED to 18], (roughly) ranked from the best chance of Dems winning the district to the worst chance in November.
- District 2 (56% Hillary Clinton district): With incumbent Del. Mark Dudenhefer (R) stepping down, with this PW/Stafford County district having gone so strongly for Clinton, AND with two promising Democratic candidates (Jennifer Carroll Foy and Josh King) running against a weak Republican candidate, HD-2 is practically a certain pickup this November, barring something truly unforeseen. The only question is whether the next delegate will be Jennifer Carroll Foy or Josh King.
- District 67 (58% Hillary Clinton district): This Fairfax County/Loudoun County district has an incumbent Republican (Del. Jim LeMunyon) sitting in a big-time Clinton seat, and three Democrats (John W. Carey, Karrie Delaney, Hannah Risheq) vying to take him on. Excellent pickup opportunity here.
- District 13 (54% Hillary Clinton district): This PW County/Manassas Park City district’s a must-win, with crazy Del. “Sideshow Bob” Marshall (R-Outer Space) holding it down and four Democrats (Steven Jansen, Mansimran Kahlon, Danica Roem, Andrew Adams) vying to send him to a merciful retirement. The key here, as it is in many districts, is to minimize Democratic voter “dropoff” from the presidential election. If so, we definitely should win. Let’s do it!
- District 32 (57% Hillary Clinton district): Democrat David Reid is running against the pathetic Del. Tag Greason (R) in this Loudoun County district. We definitely need to win this one, and can certainly do so if Democrats turn out this November.
- District 31 (51% Hillary Clinton district): Democrats Elizabeth Guzman, Sara Townsend and Jatia Wrighten are vying to take on Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R) in this Prince William County/Fauquier County district. Strong pickup opportunity here.
- District 72 (49% Hillary Clinton district): With the announcement by incumbent Del. Jimmie Massie (R) that he will not seek reelection to this increasingly “blue” Henrico County district, Democrat Schuyler VanValkenburg certainly would seem to have a shot if the anti-Trump “wave” is as strong in November as it is now!
- District 50 (53% Hillary Clinton district): This Manassas City/PW County district’s a tough one to rank, as it will depend heavily on whether or not incumbent Del. Jackson Miller (R) is elected Prince William County Clerk of the Circuit Court in a few weeks, thus causing him to vacate his seat. If that happens – and I’m personally rooting for Democrat Jackie Smith to beat him on April 18 – then Democrat Lee Carter (or potentially another Democrat, as I keep hearing rumors someone else is getting in this race) would certainly have a good shot here. If Del. Miller loses the Clerk’s race and thus is still the incumbent in this district, the Dem nominee would still have a shot, but it would be tougher.
- District 51 (51% Hillary Clinton district): Dems Ken Boddye and Hala Ayala are running to take on Del. Rich Anderson (R) in this PW County district. A winnable seat with a strong candidate and strong campaign.
- District 94 (49% Hillary Clinton district): This Newport News district is currently held by Del. David Yancey (R), with Zack Wittkamp the Democratic challenger. Winnable but won’t be easy.
- District 12 (47% Hillary Clinton district): Democrats have a strong candidate in this Giles County/Montgomery County/Pulaski County/Radford City district with Chris Hurst, but Clinton barely won it over Trump and there’s a Republican incumbent (Joseph Yost) holding it down since 2012, so…it’s winnable but won’t be easy.
- District 21 (49% Hillary Clinton district): Thomas Brock (D) and Kelly Fowler (D) are running to take on Del. Ron Villanueva (R). We could definitely win this Virginia Beach/Chesapeake district, but only with a strong candidate and campaign, plus fired-up Democrats who turn out at the polls in November.
- District 42 (57% Hillary Clinton district): Wait a minute, you ask, how can a 57% Clinton district be ranked so low on this list? Very simple – incumbent Del. Dave Albo (R) has proven extremely difficult to beat in this Fairfax County district. Still, Democrats appear to have two potentially strong candidates — Kathy Tran and Nelfred “Tilly” Blanding — chomping at the bit to finally fulfill the wish that “Albo Must Go!” And with all the anti-Trump energy out there right now, this definitely could be the year…
- District 68 (51% Hillary Clinton district): Democrats Dawn Adams, Mary Jo Sheeley and Ben Pearson-Nelson are running to take on Del. Manoli Loupassi (R) in this Chesterfield County/Henrico County/Richmond City district.
- District 40 (51% Hillary Clinton district): Democrat Donte Tanner is running against the very tough Del. Tim Hugo (R) in this Fairfax/Prince William Counties district. Will need a “wave” and a strong campaign to win this one.
- District 73 (50% Hillary Clinton district): Democrats Chelsea Savage, Sarah Smith, Bill Coleman and Debra Rodman are running to take on Del. John O’Bannon (R) in increasingly “blue” Henrico County. Will be tough, but you never know.
- District 100 (49% Hillary Clinton district): Democrat Willie Randall is running against Del. Rob Bloxom (R) in this Accomack and Northampton Counties + Norfolk City district. Another tough one, but winnable with a very big “wave.”
- District 10 (49% Hillary Clinton district): Democrat Wendy Gooditis is running against Del. Randy Minchew (R) in this Loudoun, Frederick and Clarke County district. Tidal wave, anyone?
- District 85 (won by Trump by 1 point; won by Cooch by 2 points, etc.): Democrat Cheryl Turpin running against Del. Rocky Holcomb (R) in this Virginia Beach district. Note that Turpin lost to Holcomb 53%-47% in a special election in January, but that turnout should be MUCH higher in November. Again, I think we need a super-strong wave to win this one..