Tomorrow, the Commonwealth of Virginia will elect its General Assembly. All House and Senate seats are in play. The Republicans currently hold slim majorities in both chambers.
Virginia, of course, has been trending Democratic. It elected a Democratic governor, Tim Kaine, two years ago, and a Democratic Senator, James Webb, last year. According to the Washington Times, the Republicans are expected to keep their majority in the House, but the Dems are thought to have a shot at picking up the four seats they need to take control of the Senate for the first time since 1995.
It’s important to note, though, that a strong state Democratic party doesn’t mean that a liberal like Hillary Clinton has a good shot at carrying Virginia. The state Democratic party did well during the 1980s and early 1990s, electing three consecutive governors, but Republican presidential candidates continued to dominate. Kaine and Webb are more or less in the tradition of the Democrats (for example, Chuck Robb) who won statewide during that era.
On the other hand, the recent Democratic surge is fueled by Northern Virginia, where voters are quite liberal. Except, apparently, on immigration. The Washington, D.C. media market has been flooded lately with campaign ads. Often it’s difficult to tell which candidate is the Democrat and which the Republican. Candidates from both parties generally are presenting themselves in the same light — they’re tough on illegal immigrants and moderate on social issues.
If that’s the pitch in Northern Virginia, I’m guessing that, whatever happens tomorrow, Rudy Giuliani (if he’s the nominee) defeats Hillary Clinton in Virginia.
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