Chris Graham: Politics is a long road
The aftermath of the November elections has Virginia with eight Republicans and three Democrats in the House of Representatives in the next Congress. This despite the fact that Virginia voters were divided much more evenly than those numbers would suggest – with GOP candidates getting just 60,000 more votes than their Democratic counterparts on the aggregate.
How can that be?
Simple. It’s all about being organized. And as organized as Democrats are in even-year elections, taking the past two Senate and presidential races, and running neck-and-neck in the aggregate at the congressional level, Republicans rule the day in the odd-year Novembers.
Even when Mark Warner and Tim Kaine were winning gubernatorial elections in 2001 and 2005, Republicans were controlling things down-ticket, taking three of the four races for lieutenant governor and attorney general. Then came 2009, when the GOP took all three statewide jobs in addition to pulling themselves into a tie in the State Senate that gave the party effective control of that chamber.
Due at least in some part to an effective 2001 legislative redistricting, Republicans have held 60-seats-plus in the House of Delegates for several cycles now, meaning when legislative districts were redrawn in 2011, well, it’s kind of obvious now, isn’t it?
Partisan redistricting is what it is, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, if ever. Which means it’s incumbent on Democrats to put at least some effort into those odd-year elections, if they want to have any input into the next redistricting, all the way down the long road in 2021.
That’s right, folks. The next legislative redistricting is eight years hence.
It’s going to be a tough next few cycles for Dems running in General Assembly districts drawn by Republicans for the benefit of Republicans, but that’s life in our two-party democracy.
This is the work cut out for new Democratic Party of Virginia chairwoman Charniele Herring. For what it’s worth, I’d much rather be playing Republican Party of Virginia chair Pat Mullins’ hand.