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Running in "Red America" -Democrats need a candidate in District 19 Virginia House of Delegates - data snapshot

Running in "Red America" -Democrats need a candidate in District 19 Virginia House of Delegates - data snapshot

No Democratic candidate is presently challenging for the District 19 seat. There was one announced candidate that has now dropped out.  Republican Terry Austin currently holds this district. This seat has an interesting history. An Independent served in this post for many years until Austin won the seat in 2013 when the Independent did not run. In the last cycle, Austin only won 12,272 votes in an uncontested race.


Residents = 80,010
Active Registered Voters = 50,205
Percent Registered = 63%
Total Vote in Last Race = 12,487
Participation Rate = 25%
Total Vote for Republican = 12,272
Total Vote for Democrat = 0
Total Vote Other = 215
Localities = Alleghany, Bedford and Botetourt County with Covington City

District 19 is made up of 44 precincts with 16 in Botetourt County, 12 in Alleghany County, 11 in Bedford County and 5 in Covington City. On its surface, this appears to be a very conservative district. In the last race challenged by a Democrat, the Republican vote jumped up to 16,000 votes. That said, there are some pretty clear areas to attack based on this public data alone.

Let's take a turn to some charts.

Here is the share of Active Voters by Locality:

Botetourt and Bedford Counties dominate the Active Registered Voter Counts in this district. This pie chart gives you an idea where you need to go to get most of your votes, that said, you should never ignore any area in your campaign.

This next chart shows partisan vote share of total active voters per locality.

The bar graph shows pretty level participation rates across all localities in the district. That means there is no weak point in one area over another looking at the data at this level. I mean, a 25% participation rate overall means there are weaknesses to exploit everywhere, but this chart does not highlight a particular weak point to focus on over another.

The next bar graph breaks it down precinct by precinct. The initial at the beginning of the precinct name is the locality for the precinct. A = Alleghany County, B = Bedford County, BT = Botetourt County and C = Covington City.

While looking at the data by locality did not expose any weak points, looking at this same data by precinct is enlightening. There are seven precincts where the Republican did not draw a single vote. That is a clear sign of a lack of support in the area. There is no more definitive sign in fact. 

Either the people in these precincts do not like the candidate, or there is simply a complete lack of organization there. Either way, this reveals potential areas to exploit. You at least want to take a hard look at these precincts when developing your plan.

The final scatter plot shows actual vote totals versus the Active Registered Voter total per precinct. The weakest support for the Republican will be the precincts below the red line. The most interesting thing to note here, beyond those precincts where the Republican drew no votes, is that five of the seven largest precincts fall below the line. That does not mean a guaranteed victory there, but it does show a weakness of organization in the large precincts.

This review is analysis solely based on publicly available data. If you work with me, I can help you zero on down to address by address data once I get a hold of your voter file to analyze.

District 19 will be a tough race for any Democrat seeking this seat. That said, there is a lot of reason for hope in this district. It is important we run in all of these districts, and hopefully the party can find someone here!

Here are some reasons why we should field a full slate of candidates.

The best way, for a political party, to connect with voters is to ask for their vote. Last cycle, Democrats did not contest 44 out 100 House of Delegates seat in Virginia. Those 44 seats represent roughly 3,520,000 Virginians. It does not matter your view on the issues, if a party does not run candidates in your district, it is less likely you will support that party consistently. If Democrats do not ask for these votes, the message to Virginians living in these mostly rural districts is the Democratic Party is not interested in their concerns. 

This issue is not unique to Virginia either. In the last cycle,  Democrats did not compete in 1,479 state legislative races nationwide. The districts we did not compete in represent more that 117,000,000 people. We often ask how people in "red America" can so consistently vote against their interests.

They are not voting against their interests at all; they are simply voting for those showing an interest in them.

As noted above, it is of critical importance we try to field candidates in as many districts as possible. If you can run, please do. These state legislative races are vital to our Democracy. They are the most local seats with enumerated powers in our Constitution. The power to change our Constitution rests in the state legislatures hands, and Republicans only need 24 more seats to control the number of states they need to do just that.

We need people to step up across Virginia. We are doing well contesting 81 of 100 districts this cycle. That said, if we want to start to bridge the rural and urban divide, if we want to represent all people across the state, heck across the nation, we need to step up and ask for their votes. Let's work together to find a candidate to challenge for this seat and across the other 18 districts across the state that needs a Democratic challenger as yet. Let's run a Full Slate TM.

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