Toscano’s Epic Fail: Virginia Democrats, peaking too soon, gain +1 seat in the House
From the heady and hopeful days of the million women pink-hat march on Washington D.C. the first weekend after President Trump’s inauguration, Virginia Democrats looked like they were finally going to break through and significantly cut into the Republicans’ super majority. After all, Hillary Clinton carried 17 Republican incumbent House districts, and two Northern Virginia Republicans, Dave Albo and Mark Dudenhefer, were retiring. That gave the Democrats an automatic two-seat gain before the first pitch was thrown.
Then David Toscano, House Democratic Minority Leader, lost total control of his game plan.
Scores of enthusiastic Democratic candidates filed against Republicans. Virginia Democrats had a record number of primaries, and in most cases their voters nominated the most left wing, Trump-hating candidate on the ballot. This backfired for a number of reasons.
First, it motivated the Republicans to take these challenges seriously, and money started rolling in for both sides.
Second, 17 of the Democrat challengers signed on to a call for socialized medicine in Virginia and other crazy progressive initiatives, like certain types of gun confiscation, that are far out of Virginia’s mainstream.
Third, while most of the Democrats were trying to make Trump and Washington D.C. the issue – except for Danica Roem in District 13 – Republican incumbents ran local races and stressed their neighborhood roots and constituent service.
Fourth, the huge anti-Trump tidal wave that Democrats had hoped would fuel their toppling of entrenched GOP incumbents fizzled out as the summer dragged on. Their prayers for an October federal government shutdown dashed, many Democratic challenger campaigns began to wane, withering on the vines of non-starter campaign issues, like Medicaid expansion.
Finally, the silly rope-a-dope game GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie played with President Trump was supposed to depress the Virginia Trump turnout, leaving the Democrats with unprecedented gains.
Then the Latino Victory Fund ran the now infamous and racially charged black pickup ad, and accomplished in one week what Gillespie couldn’t do in 12 months of campaigning: it united and motivated Trump voters to come out on November 7.
So I predict the Democrats gain +1 seat, and epic fail for the DPV.
HD – 2 Open
Jennifer Foy (D) over Mike Makee (R)
Mail it in – this is a blowout. Foy is the Democrats’ best candidate in 2017.
HD – 42 Open
Kathy Tran (D) over Lolita Mancheno-Smoak (R)
Smoak gets smoked. We’ll miss you, Dave Albo.
Upset Special – GOP Gains
HD – 87
Subba Kolla (R) over John Bell (D)
The revenge of Chris Lacivita. After sitting out the Virginia statewide races, and stuck with running a hopeless gubernatorial campaign in New Jersey, noted Virginia GOP consultant Chris Lacivita took on one House race in Virginia.
You get Lacivita to focus on one HD race, with an Indian candidate in a district where Indian-Americans make up 17 percent of the district and all hell breaks loose. Lacivita is driving Bell batty, and he got about 500 early Indian-American votes for Kolla through a free health clinic. Kolla pulls the upset.
Joseph Yost (R) over Chris Hurst (D)
Hurst should win. Yost should lose. Pigs fly and if your grandmother had wheels she’d be a trolley car. Yost is a beast. He wins again because people like him.
Jim LeMunyon (R) over Karrie Delaney (D)
LeMunyon is Virginia’s version of the energizer bunny. He runs and runs and runs…and keeps winning a big bad blue district. Tip O’Neil was right: all politics is local.
Col. Scott Lingamfelter (R) over Elizabeth Guzman (D)
- Never bet against the Colonel
- Never bet on extreme Left wing candidates against the Colonel
- The Communist Party USA needs a fresh candidate for President in 2020. That’s a better fit for Ms. Guzman than HD 31.
Tag Greason (R) over David Reid (D)
Tag is not just another pretty face. He’s also a boring candidate. He avoids media, plays hide and seek, and locks the doors & shuts the blinds. What’s not to like? Take a nap, Greason wins again in a snooze-fest.
Ron Villanueva (R) over Kelly Fowler (D)
The Virginian-Pilot endorsed Kelly Fowler. Villanueva is chairman of the House transportation committee. No roads for you! The Pilot’s editorial peeps are so silly. The Pilot loses again. Does anyone care? No. Ronnie V. romps.
Mike Mullin (D) over Heather Cordasco (R)
Mullin, a former Commonwealth Attorney, is running a centrist campaign as the incumbent. He’s one of the most moderate Dems in the House. Heather Cordasco is becoming the Harold Stassen of the Peninsula. She runs for something every cycle – and loses. She’ll keep her streak alive.
Bob Marshall (R) over Danica Roem (D)
Bob Marshall and his wife Catherine provide the best constituent service of any member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He knows his voters personally. This is how he wins.
Danica has run a very spirited race. But when she made the decision to make her Transgender transformation a centerpiece of her campaign, she traded off winning for trail blazing. She’ll be back, and she may win this seat in the future. But not this time, not now: District 13 voters aren’t quite ready for that…yet.
Rocky Holcomb (R) over Cheryl Turpin (D)
Rocky Holcomb is the weakest Republican candidate running as an incumbent this cycle. Cheryl Turpin is the best Democratic challenger candidate this cycle. Under any other scenario, Holcomb takes the pipe. But he’s bailed out by his boss, Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle, who is facing a competitive challenge by his former Deputy, John Bell. The Stolle Beach machine will get their vote out in droves, which helps put Holcomb over the top!
Portsmouth Sheriff’s Race:
Our hero, Sheriff Bill Watson, in Portsmouth beats the entire Louise Lucas Democratic machine and wins again – BIG!
Lucas kicked Watson off the Democratic line and tried to run him out of town on a rail. Watson responded by running as an Independent and put the entire Democratic Portsmouth machine on trial.
Voters will respond and Watson will get re-elected.
For my previous predictions on the statewide races, see here. I’m right 97% of the time.
So, what’s Va Repubs strategy now for battling the redistricting that will keep Va too blue for too long?
This has been a heartbreaking and eye opening day
Ah, the joys of prognostication. Someone bookmark this.
John, I think you’re wrong on HD2. If the overall environment is good enough for Gillespie to win, then Makee has a good shot there. It’s at least not a blowout in the other direction (though Foy is indeed a formidable opponent).
What do you think will happen in the John McGuire and Eddie Whitlock races????
Both win 55-45