On 20 June, Virginians in both political parties will be selecting their nominees for the November elections to the General Assembly.
Virginia Democrats seem to be caught in a literal death spiral of trying to out-abortion one another, as flyers are going about accusing certain candidates of being “pro-life” while others proudly announce their fanatical desire to stack the dead baby pile higher than their opposition.
Meanwhile, Virginia Republicans as an electorate seem to be keeping to the Buckley Rule, nominating the most conservative candidates that can win in the November general election.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more contested seats in Virginia (gratuitously stolen numbers from our friends at the Virginia Political Newsletter):
- Amanda Chase (R)
- $100,026 raised
- $19,199 cash on hand
- Glen Sturtevant (R)
- $203,945 raised
- $112,882 cash on hand
- Tina Ramirez (R)
- $218,281 raised
- $31,991 cash on hand
The real catch here is whether or not Tina Ramirez will pull enough votes away from putative frontrunner Glen Sturtevant — a former state senator in his own right — to allow Amanda Chase to sneak back into the GOP after being thrown out of the Senate GOP Caucus (not to mention, accepting cash from the progressive dark money group Clean Virginia). Watching this race with great interest, but mostly because Amanda Chase is utterly unworthy of public office in any form.
- Tim Anderson (R)
- $68,255 raised
- $2,653 cash on hand
- Jeff Bruzzesi (R)
- $176,676 raised
- $70,858 cash on hand
- Christie New Craig (R)
- $116,255 raised
- $79,476 cash on hand
This race is probably leaning Christie New Craig’s way, but Jeff Bruzzesi is certainly not going anywhere. Delegate Tim Anderson — decoupled from Amanda Chase — simply hasn’t done much to get things moving here. This one’s gonna be close.
- Tara Durant (R)
- $295,450 raised
- $88,756 cash on hand
- Matt Strickland (R)
- $51,890 raised
- $15,135 cash on hand
- Joel Griffin (D)
- $108,857 raised
- $14,986 cash on hand
- Ben Litchfield (D)
- $61,651 raised
- $20,619 cash on hand
- Monica Gary (I)
- $39,151 raised
- $4,618 cash on hand
On the Democratic side of the aisle, former Republican turned Libertarian turned Democrat Ben Litchfield — the local progressive favorite — is running against retired US Marine and business owner Joel Griffin, a man whose resume would be an ideal Republican if not for the fact that Griffin — recruited by Sen. Scott Surovell and politically green — is quite sincere about his politics. The race has not turned nasty (yet), but is beginning to pick up in the last week of the campaign.
On the Republican side of the fence, Delegate Tara Durant is overwhelming Republican insurgent Matt Strickland (whose business, Gourmeltz, was famously the target of Northam administration ire for not closing during the COVID-19 pandemic) with pure cash, outspending Strickland 6:1. Both campaigns claim sizeable leads, with Strickland leaning into his name ID and Durant leaning into endorsements from all three Virginia statewide Republicans. Both candidates are ideologically similar; Strickland is more the happy warrior, Durant is both deliberative and very kind.
Look for this one to be a close race with the advantage in SD-27 going to the Republicans once the nominations are over.
Virginia Republicans are in an excellent position to pick up seats in the Virginia State Senate, which at present is under Democratic control.
Of the remaining open seats, Republicans should safely carry at least five (SD-01, SD-03, SD-10, SD-17, and SD-19), while Democrats should safely capture just three (SD-21, SD-32, SD-33).
Of the remaining three open seats?
SD-27: Safe Republican (Youngkin 53.8% McAuliffe 45.3%)
SD-30: Tilts Democratic (Youngkin 47.8%, McAuliffe 51.5%)
SD-31: Tilts Republican (Youngkin 50.0%, McAuliffe 49.4%)
Most telling are Biden’s numbers among independents, where the Democrats are suffering a 30 point deficit in the polling aggregate. For those paying attention, this is the voting demographic which Northam rode into the Governor’s Mansion in 2017.
As Virginia Democrats have continued to move to the left on questions such as Critical Race Theory, DEI, “defunding the police”, transgender issues and abortion on demand, suburban Virginians are sending a clear message that sane beats crazy every time.
If these tea leaves maintain their present condition? Virginia Republicans stand on the verge of reversing 2017, giving Youngkin a chance to prove himself a conservative and House Republicans a chance to reverse many of the ill-considered policies of the Northam reign of shame.
Trying to win over suburban moms worked for the Democrats in 2017; winning over suburban dads in 2023 just might save Virginia.