Running in "Red America" - District 3 profile Virginia House of Delegates - Democratic candidate needed!
Democrats have no candidate contesting District 3 as yet this fall. The first filing deadline has passed, but the party can still place candidates on the ballot through the next deadline of June 13th. Republican Will Morefield currently holds this post. The Republican was able to secure 14,325 in this uncontested district the last cycle. That is decent support for a race not contested since 2013. Even so, it is important Democrats try and field a candidate in every district.
Here is why.
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.
With that in mind, let's turn our attention to a rural red district in Virginia.
DISTRICT 3 FAST FACTS
Residents = 80,010
Active Registered Voters = 46,455
Percent Registered = 58%
Total Vote in Last Race = 14,444
Participation Rate = 31%
Total Vote for Republican = 14,325
Total Vote for Democrat = 0
Total Vote Other = 119
Localities = Bland, Buchanan, Russell and Tazewell Counties
District 3 has a total of 51 precincts with 24 in Tazewell County, 17 in Buchanan County, 7 in Bland County, and 3 in Russell County. The participation rate in the area is about the norm for odd year elections but could mean there is some real opportunity to be found as well.
Here is the share of Active Voters by Locality:
Tazewell and Buchanan Counties contain the bulk of the Active Registered Voters in this district. Both do present some areas of real opportunity for any Democrat running in this area.
This next chart shows partisan vote share of total active voters per locality.
The bar graph demonstrates the scale of Tazewell County in this district. It also yields the lowest participation rate in the last election. These facts make it not only the biggest prize but also the softest target. That bodes well for any insurgent campaign here.
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. B = Bland, BU = Buchanan, R = Russell, and T = Tazewell.
Once you start breaking it down into precinct levels, you can find the hidden gems. Of course, the four biggest targets are in Tazewell County (Jeffersonville, Cedar Bluff, Richlands, and Graham precincts), but Swords Creek precinct in Russell County and Hurley precinct in Buchanan County are definitely worth some early work in any campaign plan. You want to work everywhere, but these areas should draw some level of focus at the least.
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 tight range reflects stable support for the Republican. The encouraging aspect of this graphic is that six of the largest ten precincts fall below the line. That signals at minimum some measure of softness in support in those precincts.
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.
CONNECT WITH YOUR LOCAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
We need people to step up across Virginia. We are doing well contesting 79 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 20 districts across the state that needs a Democratic challenger as yet.