Virginia: Ain’t purple no more, it’s blue

virginia logoCredit to Virginia Republicans for drawing district lines to give them an 8-3 edge in representation in the U.S. House heading into Election Day 2018.

It’s not like they’d done anything to earn that edge. Democrats had won the last three presidential elections in Virginia, the last three Senate elections in Virginia, had swept all three statewide offices the last two state cycles in Virginia.

But, ah, gerrymandering. The spoils of maintaining control of the General Assembly in 2009, giving the GOP the ability to herd Democrats into smaller numbers of state house and senate districts, and U.S. House districts.

The firewall had a hole burned through it in the 2017 state elections, that should have ended with Democratic control, and didn’t on a fluke.

Bringing us to tonight. That 8-3 Republican majority in the U.S. House is now a 6-5 Democratic majority in the U.S. House.

It was a safe bet that Jennifer Wexton was going to wax Barbara Comstock in the 10th, with its huge contingent of federal workers and Latino and Asian immigrants.

But … Dave Brat losing the Seventh? The Seventh was drawn for Eric Cantor, who, when it was drawn, was expected to be in line to be House Speaker. Remember that?

Sure, then Cantor flubbed, wasn’t anti-immigrant enough, and lost a primary to Brat. But: Cantor only lost because he got out-flanked on the right.

The Seventh should never have been in play, so Brat’s loss, to Democrat Abigail Spanberger, is good work on the part of the Spanberger campaign.

And then: Scott Taylor in the Second. OK, Taylor flubbed early on, trying to help get another candidate on the ballot to split the protest vote, but, again, the Second seemed reliable.

Republicans actually ended up doing well to stanch the bloodletting at that. The Fifth had seemed to be in play, but Denver Riggleman, despite running to the far right, was able to hold off Democrat Leslie Cockburn, and actually more than hold her off, winning by more than 7 percent, and more than 22,000 votes.

That said, yeah, the Fifth has only had anything resembling a Democrat represent it for two of the past howmanyever years, Tom Perriello from 2009-2011.

Only one other moderately close race Tuesday night: in the First, where Republican Rob Wittman defeated Democrat Vangie Williams by 11 percent.

On the aggregate, the 6-5 Democratic majority in the Virginia House delegation seems a fair representation based on the votes cast for candidates statewide.

House Democratic candidates received just under 1.83 million votes all told, only slightly off the 1.87 million votes cast for U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine.

House Republican candidates received just under 1.39 million votes, outpacing Republican Senate nominee Corey Stewart’s 1.35 million.

Breaking that down to percents: it was Democrats 56.9, Republicans 43.1.

That ain’t purple: Virginia is blue.

Column by Chris Graham

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