Home 2017 Races With 53.9% of the Vote, Ralph Northam Won 58/100 Va. HoD Districts;...

With 53.9% of the Vote, Ralph Northam Won 58/100 Va. HoD Districts; Dems Appear to Have Won 49 or 50 HoD Seats


According to VPAP (see graphic, below), Ralph Northam won 58 out of 100 Virginia House of Delegates districts, even though he “only” won 53.9% of the vote (to 45.0% for Ed Gillespie and 1.1% for Libertarian Cliff Hyra).  See below the graphic for some detail on how this played out, and also how Dems ended up with only 49 or 50 House of Delegates seats, despite Northam winning 58 House of Delegates districts.

  • In HD-62 (Chesterfield County), Northam won 49.5%-49.4%, while Democratic House of Delegate candidate Sheila Bynum-Coleman lost to incumbent Republican Del. Riley Ingram 51.7%-48.2% (clearly, there were some Northam/Ingram voters here).
  • In HD-76 (Suffolk, Chesapeake), Northam won 49.8%-49.2%, but unfortunately there was no Democratic candidate in this district against Del. Chris Jones (R).
  • In HD-83 (Virginia Beach, Norfolk), Northam won 50.3%-48.3%, while Democrat David Rose-Carmack lost to Del. Chris Stolle 56.6%-43.3% (lots of Northam/Stolle voters here).
  • In HD-28 (Stafford County, Fredericksburg), Northam won 50.8%-47.8%, but Republican Robert M. “Bob” Thomas, Jr. appears to have defeated (pending recount?) Democrat Joshua Cole 50.08%-49.73% (11,833-11,749; definitely some Northam/Thomas voters here).
  • In HD-27 (Chesterfield County), Northam won 50.9%-47.6%, but Democrat Larry V. Barnett barely lost to Republican incumbent Del. Roxann Robinson 50.21%-49.78% (some Northam/Robinson voters made the difference here).
  • In HD-84 (Virginia Beach), Northam won 52.1%-46.7%, but Democrat Veronica R. Coleman lost to Del. Glenn R. Davis, Jr. (R) by a 51.65%-48.12% margin (a good number of Northam/Davis voters here).
  • In HD-100 (Accomack County, Northampton County, Norfolk), Northam won 52.7%-46.3%, yet Democrat Willie C. Randall lost to Del. Robert S. Bloxom, Jr. (R) by a 52.18%-47.64% margin.
  • In HD-40 (Fairfax County, PW County), Northam won by a whopping 54.7%-44.4%, yet it appears that Del. Tim Hugo (R) held on, pending possible recount, to defeat Democrat Donte Tanner by a tiny 15,103-14,988 (50.11%-49.73%) margin. Clearly, there were a lot of Northam/Hugo voters here…
  • Most astonishingly, in HD-94 (Newport News), Northam won by a 13.3-point margin (56.0%-42.7%), yet somehow the incumbent Republican Delegate, David Yancey, holds a miniscule edge of 11,597-11,584 over Democrat Shelly Simonds, pending recount. Obviously, there were a TON of Northam/Yancey voters here. Sigh.
  • Another interesting district is HD-68 (Chesterfield County, Richmond City, Henrico County), where Northam romped (56.7%-42.2%), yet Democrat Dawn Adams barely defeated incumbent Republican Del. Manoli Loupassi 50.38%-49.55%. So…tons of Northam/Loupassi voters, but not enough for Loupassi to survive, given Northam’s 14.5-point edge in the district.

So what this the result of Republican gerrymandering? Not according to Kenton Ngo, who tweeted a bit earlier today: “My earlier pronouncements that VA House 2011 wasn’t a dummymander appear to be wrong. @vpapupdates says Northam won 58/100 Delegate seats (not counting D-leaning absentees) while winning 54% of the vote…I think because Rs have, against all odds, picked up a D problem…What usually happens is that Democrats are packed into a number of 80%+ D seats because of urban racial voting patterns/VRA compliance, and the MOST Republican districts don’t get to that level. Easier to gerrymander. But now, rural Republicans are so heavily concentrated…that you can’t crack them up to gerrymander as easily. Can’t drag Republicans out of SWVA. There are now 5 R seats that were 75%+ Gillespie. Spatial concentration is hitting urban Democrats AND rural Republicans in Virginia. (Hard to transfer to other states.)”


  • Interesting post, but I see it another way.

    When you gerrymander, your goal is to have a few districts packed heavily with the Other Party and lots of 55% districts packed with Your Party. The idea is you can easily win 55% districts with some room to spare, and you want have as many of them as possible to increase your numbers in the legislature.

    This works well normally. If your state has 10,000 people with 44.5% Rs and 55.5% Ds pPretty close to Virginia where Ralph got 54.5% of the vote), Rs can still gerrymander a legislature to be 70% R, even though some Rs are intermixed among packed Dems in 80/20 Districts.

    You can have:
    30 seats with 80 D/20 R = 2400 D and 600 R
    70 seats with 45 D/55 R = 3150 D and 3850 R
    Total 5550 D and 4450 R.

    BUT in a landslide tsunami, in my hypothetical example, where Dems run 10 points better than usual….you would get 100 Ds in the legislature!

    Obviously no gerrymander is this perfect but you get my point. Gerrymanders are designed to withstand the normal ebbs and flows. 55/45% is actually a 10% margin because 10% more of one party is voting and 10% less of another party is voting.

    But when you move outside the safety range in a blowout election where more than 10% of the electorate is acting unusually, the gerrymander actually harms the gerrymandering party even worse than it would without the gerrymander.

    This is all a pure analysis, of course, and does not take into account the party splitting Lowell mentioned. But if you examine the data at the precinct level, you may find out that it’s not all ticket splitting. It’s quite possible that while virtually all Gillespie voters chose their Republican delegate, some Northam voters left the delegate line blank.

  • Kenneth Ferland

    Your assuming large numbers of split ticket voters in these districts. But your basing that on just raw percentages, their could in fact just be a lot of Dem under votes, folks voting Northam at the top and not filling in anything on delegate races.

    If split ticket voting was prevalent I am sure that largely due to incumbency on the part of the Republican, we can pick up many of thouse seats when they become open or by having our challenger try again next time so they can build build on the name recognition they built up.

  • From the VA House Dems:

    House Leadership Calls on Gloria Chittum and Marie Gozzi to Count Military Ballots

    House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring today issued the following statement calling on Gloria Chittum and Marie Gozzi of the Stafford County Electoral Board to count the reported 55 absentee ballots of military voters:

    “Voting is a fundamental right, and it is unconscionable that Gloria Chittum and Marie Gozzi are refusing to count the votes of a reported 55 members of our military. We will continue to fight to ensure every voice is heard and every vote is counted in HD-28.”

    House Democrats secured 49 of the chamber’s 100 seats in a wave election on Tuesday night. HD-28 is one of three districts that remains too close to call. HD-40 and HD-94 also remain in play.