With the Republicans having selected their 2021 statewide governor/LG/AG ticket, where do things stand right now? See below for a few thoughts and predictions, including from State Senator Scott Surovell, Del. Marcus Simon, former LG Bill Bolling, political analysts Ben Tribbett and Chaz Nuttycombe, PredictIt, etc. My thoughts are that:
- With a Democrat in the White House, we need to expect that Virginia Republicans will be energized/fired up (even if it’s for all the “wrong” reasons) and that Virginia Democrats will take their collective foot off the pedal, after four years of intense, exhausting “resistance” against Trump.
- It is absolutely crucial that Virginia Democrats *not* get complacent, or go back to “sleep” as they were to a large extent pre-Trump. Because the fact is, the fight for our democracy is faaaar from over, and the Trump Republican Party is faaar from defeated. Don’t forget that, and don’t let your guard down for a minute!
- In selecting Glenn Youngkin/Winsome Sears/Jason Miyares, the Republicans have a ticket that’s right wing for sure, but that also has good diversity in terms of geography (Miyares is from Virginia Beach, Sears lives in Winchester now and used to live in Hampton Roads), gender (two men and one woman), ethnicity (Miyares is Cuban-American) and race (Sears is African-American). We’ll see how the Democratic ticket looks after 6/8, but it would almost certainly be advantageous to get some diversity on there…
- Glenn Youngkin ran pretty hard right to win the VA GOP nomination, but he’s also got a long business background and doesn’t necessarily come across as a right wingnut. Plus, he’s worth like $350 million and can basically spend unlimited amounts of money, both on his own race as well as helping “down-ballot” Republicans. That’s a big problem for Virginia Democrats, who probably would have had a large money advantage if Amanda Chase or Kirk Cox had won the VA GOP’s gubernatorial nomination.
- Yes, Joe Biden and Mark Warner won Virginia easily in November 2020, and Ralph Northam won by 8.9 points in November 2017, and Democrats now have a 55-45 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, but remember, as we headed into November 2017, Democrats were at just 34 out of 100 members of the House of Delegates, which starkly illustrates the extent to which *voter turnout* – or more to the point, relative lack thereof on the Democratic side in elections other than for president and other federal offices – can allow Republicans to win big, even though Virginia is a “blue” state in presidential elections at this point, when Democratic voters turn out in droves. Well guess what, Virginia Democrats need to turn out in droves (and donate, volunteer, etc.) in NON-presidential election years too, or Virginia Republicans absolutely could win again!
- Bottom line: I agree with Chaz Nuttycombe that the statewide races currently lean Democratic, although I think Ben Tribbett makes a solid case why one could even more it to “toss-up” right now. I also strongly agree with Sen. Surovell and Del. Simon that “It is very much a race and no one should take it for granted,” so Democrats “need to do the work, organize, & make sure voters understand what’s at stake.” And finally, I agree with former LG Bill Bolling that in the end, “the outcome of the election will be decided by three things”: 1) “Who is the most fired up?”; 2) “Who does a better job reaching out to the critical swing voters in Virginia?”; 3) “What external events, that are yet unknown, will impact the November election?”
P.S. The good news is that I haven’t heard a single Democrat acting overconfident or complacent by any means…
Recap of GOP Governor convention and a preview of the TMac-Youngkin race. pic.twitter.com/BrlFZXSTQj
— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) May 12, 2021
.@WinsomeSears is the VA GOP Lieutenant Governor nominee. Like the rest of the ticket, she'll have to run more toward the middle to boost her chances of winning the statewide contest.#VAGov, #VALG, #VAAG are all Lean Democratic: they're the most competitive elections in 2021. pic.twitter.com/tnYYKRuGHr
— Chaz Nuttycombe (@ChazNuttycombe) May 11, 2021