It’s been over a month since Ben “Not Larry Sabato” Tribbett and Chaz Nuttycombe last updated their Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate ratings, so with just 64 days to go until November 5, it’s great to see these two astute Virginia political analysts each out with brand-new ratings. See below for their summary graphics and explanatory tweets. Also, here are a few takeaways:
- Chaz Nuttycombe’s last ratings, over a month ago, had the House of Delegates rated at 53D-47R (a 6-seat Democratic advantage, and a net 4-seat pickup from the 49 House of Delegates seats Democrats currently hold), and the State Senate at 23D-17R (a 6-seat Democratic advantage, and a 4-seat pickup from the 19 State Senate seats Democrats currently hold). Chaz’s current ratings have the House of Delegates at 54D-46R (an 8-seat Democratic advantage, and a net 5-seat pickup from the 49 House of Delegates seats Democrats currently hold), and the State Senate at 23D-17R (no net change from Chaz’s previous Senate ratings).
- House of Delegates ratings changes by Chaz are: Del. Danica Roem (D-HD13) goes from “likely” to “lean” reelect; Del. Lee Carter (D-HD50) also goes from “likely” to “lean” reelect; Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-HD10) improves a bit, from “Toss-Up” to “Tilt D”; Joshua Cole (D-HD28) slips a notch, from “Tilt D” to “Toss-Up”; Sheila Bynum-Coleman (D-HD66) improves a notch, from “Tilt R” to “Toss-Up”; Clint Jenkins (D-HD76) improves a notch, from “Toss-Up” to “Tilt D”; Karen Mallard (D-HD84) slips a notch, from “Tilt R” to “Lean R”; Jess Foster (D-HD88) falls a notch, from “Likely R” to “Safe R.” There’s only one State Senate ratings change: Amanda Pohl (D-SD11) improves from “Likely R” to “Lean R” vs. Sen. Amanda Chase (R).
- Ben “Not Larry Sabato” Tribbett has generally moved things in the Democratic direction from his previous ratings, which had it at 47 “Lean R” or better vs. 43 “Lean D” or better, plus 10 tossups in the House of Delegates; 20 “Lean D” or better “before tossups are counted” in the State Senate and “a clear edge [for Democrats] to win a State Senate majority this fall.”
- Currently Ben has the House of Delegates rated at “47 seats slightly leaning or better for D’s, and the GOP at 46 seats slightly leaning or better” and the State Senate staying the same as in Ben’s previous ratings (20D-19R-1 Tossup).
- Key House of Delegates ratings changes by Ben include: HD76 (Democrat Clint Jenkins vs. Republican Del. Chris Jones) from “Leaning Republican” to “tossup”; HD40 (Democrat Dan Helmer vs. Republican Del. Tim Hugo) from “Likely Republican” to “Leaning Republican”; HD66 (Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman vs. Speaker Kirk Cox) from “Likely Republican” to “Leaning Republican”; HD10 (Democratic Del. Wendy Gooditis vs. Republican Randy Minchew), HD13 (Democratic Del. Danica Roem vs. Republican Kelly McGinn), HD51 (Democratic Del. Hala Ayala vs. Republican Rich Anderson), HD91 (Democrat Martha Mugler vs. Republican Colleen Holcomb) all moving from “tossup” to “Slight-Lean Democratic”;
- Ben has seven tossups in the House of Delegates right now: HD28 (Democrat Joshua Cole vs. Republican Paul Milde); HD30 (Democrat Ann Ridgeway vs. Republican write-in candidate, Del. Nick Freitas), HD50 (Democratic Del. Lee Carter vs. Republican Ian Lovejoy), HD68 (Democratic Del. Dawn Adams vs. Republican Garrison Coward), HD73 (Democrat Rodney Willett vs. Republican Mary Margaret Kastelberg, HD76 (Democrat Clint Jenkins vs. Republican Del. Chris Jones) and HD85 (Democrat Alex Askew vs. Republican Rocky Holcomb).
- I could certainly see a net Democratic pickup in the House of Delegates in the 3-5 seat range (getting Democrats to 52-54 seats), and a net Democratic pickup in the State Senate in the 2-5 seat range (getting Democrats to 21-24 seats). Huge caveat, though: the outcomes on November 5 are heavily dependent on whether Democratic odd-off-election-year voter “dropoff” relative to Republican “dropoff” is minimized or even eliminated this election, as that’s clearly been a big, structural disadvantage for Democrats in the past. If, for instance, Virginia Democratic voters continue to turn out in large numbers, due to anti-Trump anger or whatever, then the night of November 5 should be a happy one for Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw and House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, and a very unhappy one for current Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment and current House Speaker Kirk Cox. If, on the other hand, Democratic voters aren’t enthused to turn out on November 5, perhaps because they (wrongly) don’t see the connection between the state legislature and pushing back against Trump, then it could be a mediocre or even bad night for Democrats. In short, while all these ratings are certainly based on candidate and campaign strength, they’re also making implicit assumptions regarding Democratic voter turnout, which I’d argue is highly uncertain at the moment. How about you?