Jennifer Lewis loses the battle in the Sixth: Her next battle … the 20th?

Jennifer LewisOK, so I’m hearing that Jennifer Lewis is thinking she’s smart because she didn’t put a year on her congressional campaign signs, implying she may challenge Ben Cline again in 2020.

How about another idea: running for a House seat in 2019?

I suggest this because Lewis, who lost to Ben Cline in her bid in the Sixth Congressional District, getting a tick over 40 percent district-wide, ran very, very well in precincts comprising the 20th House District, which is currently represented by Republican Dickie Bell.

To wit: Lewis, a political newcomer, defeated Cline, a 16-year veteran member of the Virginia House of Delegates, in Staunton, with 56.3 percent of the vote, and only lost Waynesboro by 33 total votes, a 0.43 percent margin.

Put those together with the four precincts in Nelson County that lean Democratic, and, well, there’s still Augusta County, which distinguished itself by giving just shy of 70 percent of its votes to the reprehensible Corey Stewart, who isn’t even a good white nationalist, if you’re into white nationalists.

Seriously, voters who want a white nationalist representing them in the Senate, you could do better than Corey Stewart.

Back to Lewis: and a dose of reality.

Forty percent is a high-water mark for Democrats in the Sixth District, but don’t read me writing that as saying, wow, the sky is the limit for Jennifer Lewis!

I’d suggest that 40 is a ceiling, for Lewis or whoever else will want to challenge Cline in the future.

Cline is a fine man, a husband, father, a smart guy, who unfortunately has allowed himself to be co-opted by the Trump wing of his party.

He can do that in the Sixth, because the Sixth is reliably Republican.

And congressional districts are much, much bigger than state house districts, like the 20th, which, yes, presents challenges, but I’d suggest that Lewis has already won more than half the battle, by running so well in the district’s two cities, against a well-known Republican like Cline.

I’d suggest, based on what I saw today in the vote totals, that the 20th is in play in 2019, and Lewis is the Democrat best-positioned to pull the upset.

Nobody ever listens to me.

Column by Chris Graham

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