Home 2021 Elections Sabato’s Crystal Ball Takes Its First Look at Virginia 2021 Governor’s Race,...

Sabato’s Crystal Ball Takes Its First Look at Virginia 2021 Governor’s Race, Starts As “Leans Democratic”

But adds, "a Likely Democratic rating would be justified"


See here for Sabato’s Crystal Ball’s first look at the Virginia 2021 governor’s race. Here are a few highlights (my comments in parentheses).

  • “Virginia Democrats are trying to win three consecutive gubernatorial races, a feat the party has not accomplished since the 1980s.” (Yep, although I doubt that particularly matters these days, with Virginia having shifted so much.)
  • “Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) is the favorite for his state’s Democratic nomination, though he faces a diverse field.” (Agreed; it’s his to lose, as long as the numerous other candidates divide up the “not-Terry” vote…)
  • “Virginia’s open-seat race starts as Leans Democratic in the Crystal Ball ratings.” (I’d actually put it at “Likely Democratic” right now, given the disarray and WAAAAYYY-out-of-the-mainstream candidates on the Republican side, Biden’s strong approval ratings, etc.)
  • “A former chair of the Democratic National Committee, McAuliffe entered the race with a known fundraising advantage.” (Yep, could be massive)
  • “[E]ither [Jennifer McClellan or Jennifer Carroll Foy] would be the first Black woman elected governor of any state. McClellan, though, has more experience in government and cited quality public education as her highest priority.” (The question is, what are Dem primary voters looking for? My guess is some are looking for experience, some for more “charisma” or the most progressive candidate.)
  • “[E]ven as a sitting statewide officer, Fairfax has generally not been a factor in the race — with only $79,000 in the bank, as of January, he lacks any major endorsements.” (Yep, and that doesn’t seem likely to change, although note that Fairfax has generally been second in the Dem primary polling, albeit well behind McAuliffe.)
  • Carter co-chaired Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) 2020 primary campaign in the state…Still, unions have not rushed to endorse Carter, and he is far behind in fundraising. (It’s gonna be tough for Carter to gain traction…)
  • “The bottom line for the Democratic race is that the well-funded McAuliffe appears to have a significant edge. As Virginia doesn’t have runoffs, he could simply win with a plurality in a divided field.” (Which is what Predictit thinks right now…86 cents for McAuliffe, 9 cents for Carroll Foy, 2 cents each for McClellan and Fairfax, Carter not included in the market at all.)
  • “With a convention, GOP tries to avoid chasing away swing voters” (Yep, exactly; in general, the GOP seems to be the party of voter suppression.)
  • “The convention format may have the effect of hampering state Sen. Amanda Chase’s prospects.” (Yep, certainly with Ranked Choice Voting it will be much harder for her…)
  • [A]ny Republican who makes it out of the convention will have to be prepared for an uphill campaign against the Democratic nominee. In recent general elections, Virginia Republicans have earned about 45% of the vote, but getting much past that has proved challenging.” (Agreed.)
  • “Broadly, the Republican brand has been on the decline in the state’s suburban localities, which are still growing relatively rapidly. “ (And there’s zero sign of Republicans moderating in any way…to the contrary, if anything, they’re getting even MORE extreme, if that’s even humanly possible!)
  • “While Virginia Republicans certainly have their work cut out for them, and a Likely Democratic rating would be justified, out of an abundance of caution, we’ll start the race off as Leans Democratic.” (Yeah, it’s Likely Democratic right now.)

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