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With Just Over Four Weeks Until Virginia Primaries on 6/20, Here Are Sam Shirazi’s Thoughts and Predictions – and Mine as Well.

H/t Chaz Nuttycombe, CNalysis


With only a bit over four weeks to go until the 6/20 Virginia Democratic primaries, Chaz Nuttycombe is out with his Democratic primary predictions for State Senate; see here for those and here for the Democratic House of Delegates primaries (note: requires paid subscription to read). Also, check out this podcast for Chaz discussing the Democratic State Senate primaries with Sam Shirazi, who provides his thoughts and predictions. For highlights, as well as my own thoughts (in green/bold), see below.

  • SD04 (Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Montgomery County, Salem City; Leans Republican; Democratic candidates Trish White-Boyd, DA Pierce, Luke Priddy; incumbent Republican Sen. David Suetterlein): Chaz and Sam think this primary will come down to Priddy and White-Boyd, with Sam saying that neither has a clear advantage. (I agree this comes down to Priddy and White-Boyd, and I agree that it’s not clear either one of them has the advantage in this primary. As for November, Suetterlein is the HEAVY favorite, if not a complete lock to win unfortunately.)
  • SD11 (Albemarle, Charlottesville, Amherst, Nelson, Louisa; Strongly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Del. Sally Hudson and Sen. Creigh Deeds): Sam points out that the majority of this district is Albemarle, with a bunch in rural areas, and that it’s not just progressives from Cville voting in this primary. So…Sam thinks Deeds has the advantage in rural areas and Albemarle, and thus in the primary overall, but it’s not that Hudson has no chance of winning. (I agree; Deeds is the favorite for a bunch of reasons – name ID, likeability, money, endorsements, etc. – but Hudson has a shot if she can get huge turnout from Charlottesville and from younger, more progressive voters in the rest of the district. Hudson also could use a major infusion of $$$.)
  • SD13 (Henrico, Prince George, Petersburg, Hopewell, Dinwiddie, Sussex, Charles City, Surry; Solidly Democratic; Democratic candidates Sen. Joe Morrissey and former Del. Lashrecse Aird): Sam argues that is one of the top races on primary night, that “the last six months have been rough for Joe Morrissey” with a huge defeat in the VA04 Democratic primary by now-Rep. Jennifer McClellan, plus lots of bad stories about his personal life. Also, Aird has received “a lot of high-profile endorsements,” with people “sensing blood in the water” that it’s “time to get rid of Joe Morrissey.” Also, Aird should do well in Henrico County, whereas Petersburg – where Morrissey could do well – is just 15% of the district. In the end, Sam thinks this one could go either way. (For a bunch of reasons, I think Aird is favored here, although certainly Morrissey could still win – despite all his scandals and Aird’s money advantage. Why? Because Aird is a woman, and women have the advantage in Virginia Democratic primaries for the General Assembly; because Aird has plenty of money, maybe even a money advantage; because Morrissey has had tons of bad publicity; because a lot of this district is “new” to Morrissey; because Aird is 100% pro-choice while Morrissey is definitely NOT reliable on that crucial issue; etc. One other wildcard here: let’s see how many Republican voters turn out on 6/20 to vote for Morrissey, given comments like these from Trump/MAGA Republicans.)
  • SD14 (Richmond/Henrico; Solidly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Sen. Lamont Bagby and Katie Gooch):  Sam says this one’s not competitive, that “Bagby has this in the bag.” (I agree; this one’s not competitive at all; Sen. Bagby will win easily.)
  • SD18 (Chesapeake/Portsmouth; Strongly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Sen. Louise Lucas and Sen. Lionell Spruill): Sam says it’s very tough to pick a winner in this one, with two heavweights duking it out, with Spruill focused much more locally and Lucas emphasizing her resistance to Youngkin on social media and in general. So in part, the question is what will motivate Democratic voters more in this district. Also note that 64% of this district is in Chesapeake, which is Sen. Spruill’s turf, with the remaining 36% in Portsmouth, which is Lucas’ base. (I agree; this one’s a tossup, although if anything I’d say it might slightly lean Spruill based on the fact that he has a lot more of the new district, plus is heavily focused locally in that district, including in the Black churches.)
  • SD21 (Norfolk; Solidly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Del. Angelia Williams Graves vs. Norfolk City Council member Andria McClellan): Sam thinks Williams Graves, who is Black, has the advantage given that the majority of voters in this primary will be African American. So for McClellan to win, she’s have to make inroads into the African-American community. (I agree; Williams Graves is the favorite here for the reasons Sam mentioned.)
  • SD27 (Stafford, Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg; Slightly leaning Republican district; Democratic candidates Joel Griffin and Ben Litchfield): Sam says this could be a competitive district in November and Joel Griffin is being backed by party Democrats who think Griffin would have a better shot in the general election. Also, Griffin has more money but Litchfield has significant grassroots support, so…”we’ll see.” (I think Griffin is favored in this one based on big money and endorsements edges, although Litchfield has a shot if he has a huge “ragtag army” of grassroots supporters, as Jim Webb liked to call it. We’ll see.)
  • SD29 (Prince William, Stafford; Strongly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Sen. Jeremy McPike and Del. Elizabeth Guzman): Sam notes that this district is very diverse ethnically and racially, including about 25% Hispanic; and it’s not clear which candidate the African-American community will support. So…either candidate could win this one, with McPike having a “slight advantage” but Guzman possibly winning if she can get out the Hispanic vote. (I’d say this one’s a tossup, as Guzman is a better fit demographically for the district and is a strong campaigner, but McPike’s an incumbent with a big money advantage)
  • SD31 (Loudoun, Fauquier; Leans a bit Democratic, but definitely competitive; Democratic candidates Russet Perry and Zach Cummings): Sam thinks Perry “is going to be the winner here,” with “most of the outside people watching this race view Perry as the stronger candidate, and she’s gotten most of the endorsements from statewide officials and Democratic Party officials outside of Loudoun.” Cummings, in contrast, has some support from within Loudoun County, including Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall. Also note that this district is going to be crucial in November for Democrats to have a majority in the State Senate. (Agreed; Perry should win this one easily due to advantages in money and endorsements, the fact that she’s a woman and perceived as the strongest candidate in this crucial district in November, etc.)
  • SD32 (Loudoun; Solidly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Del. Suhas Subramanyam and former Del. Ibraheem Samirah): Chaz thinks Del. Subramanyam is “heavily favored” and Sam agrees with that assessment, noting that Subramanyam has the advantage in money, endorsements, “the large Indian-American population,” etc.. (I agree with Sam’s analysis on this one.)
  • SD33 (Prince William, Fairfax County; Strongly Democratic district; Democratic candidates former Del. Hala Ayala and former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy): Sam says there are two credible candidates with high name ID, plenty of money, lots of endorsements, so…very hard to pick who’s going to win. (Mostly agreed, but I’d say this one leans towards Carroll Foy, who has the money advantage and probably generates more enthusiasm among Democratic primary voters)
  • SD35 (Fairfax County; Strongly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Sen. Dave Marsden and Heidi Drauschak): Sam thinks this is “in many ways…a continuation of the 2019 primary between leader Dick Saslaw and progressive challenger Yasmine Taeb,” it’s “basically the same district 35,” with Saslaw backing Marsden and Taeb backing Drauschak. According to Sam, Drauschak has “really run a credible challenge to Marsden, and it really comes down to whether the district voters want someone new, someone younger, a different generation in the State Senate or do they want to give Marsden another term.” So, Sam thinks it’s a very unpredictable primary, with probably a “slight advantage” to Marsden, but he definitely wouldn’t be surprising if Drauschak wins. (I’d say this one’s a tossup, for the reasons Sam stated. It might even lean slightly towards Drauschak if she matches or exceeds Marsden in money.)
  • SD36 (Fairfax County; Strongly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Sen. George Barker and Fairfax County School Board member Stella Pekarsky: Sam says Pekarsky has the slight advantage, with Barker having only a very small percentage of the new district in his current district. So…on that alone, Pekarsky has the advantage, with Barker “one of the most endangered incumbents.” (I’d say Pekarsky has the edge, although not an overwhelming one by any means, for a bunch of reasons – she’s a woman, she is very well-known in this new district, she’s got plenty of money, she’s more in tune with the Democratic “base” electorate, etc.)
  • SD37 (Fairfax County, Fairfax City Falls Church; Strongly Democratic district; Democratic candidates Sen. Chap Petersen and Saddam Salim): Sam thinks Sen. Petersen still has a big money and name ID advantage, “but having said all that, I think this is a very serious challenge from Salim,” including getting more “mainstream endorsements” like former Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn. Still, Sen. Petersen probably has a slight advantage due to incumbency, name ID, money, etc. The question is whether Salim can catch up by primary day. (I agree with this analysis. We’ll see if Salim can close the gaps in money and name ID by June 20; if he can, then he can win, as he’s a much better fit than Sen. Petersen for this deep-blue, progressive district. One other wildcard here: let’s see how many Republican voters turn out on 6/20 to vote for Petersen, given comments like these from Trump/MAGA Republicans.)
  • SD40 (Arlington; Solidly Democratic district; Democratic sandidates Sen. Barbara Favola and James DeVita): We all agree that this one’s not competitive, with Sen. Favola almost certain to win overwhelmingly.

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