Running in "Red America" - District 59 Virginia House of Delegates is ripe for the picking
Democrats have no candidate contesting District 59 as yet this fall. The first filing deadline has passed, but the party can still place candidates on the ballot "by acclamation" through the next deadline of June 13th. Republican Matt Fariss currently holds this post. The Republican was able to secure only 9,312 votes in this uncontested district the last cycle. 2011 was the last race contested for this seat. The position was held by an Independent since 2001, that same Independent was a Democrat who held the seat since the 1985 election.
I am not sure what motivated the change, but the extremely low turnout coupled with the short history of explicit Republican support should make this district reachable by a Democratic campaign here.
DISTRICT 59 FAST FACTS
Residents = 80,010
Active Registered Voters = 48,115
Percent Registered = 60%
Total Vote in Last Race = 9,706
Participation Rate = 35%
Total Vote for Republican = 9,312
Total Vote for Democrat = 0
Total Vote Other = 394
Localities = Albemarle, Appomattox, Buckingham, Campbell, and Nelson Counties
District 59 has a total of 40 precincts with 13 in Campbell County, 10 in Buckingham County, 9 in Appomattox County, 5 in Nelson County, and 3 in Albemarle County. As noted above, this district ought to be within reach of a Democratic candidate, if we can find one, but let's dig deeper into the data to see where the best chances are here.
Here is the share of Active Voters by Locality:
The bar graph above illustrates that no one locality is dominant in this district. That bodes well for an insurgent campaign. That said, Campbell County clearly presents the largest target here.
This next chart shows partisan vote share of total active voters per locality.
This graphic reveals that Campbell County should be targeted quite a bit in this campaign. That said every county presents soft targets to chip away at teh Republican incumbent. The Republican just not have any one stronghold in the area to be found in the data we have looked at so far.
The next bar graph breaks down Republican margin by precinct. The initial at the beginning of the precinct name is the locality for the precinct. A = Albemarle, AP = Appomattox, B = Buckingham, C = Campbell, and N = Nelson.
This bar graph highlights that six of the ten largest precincts with the largest number of people that did not vote are in Campbell County. Bedford Springs does present as the one precinct where the Republican enjoys his strongest support followed by Shipman. Aside from those two precincts, the ten largest precincts are target rich precincts. Those are where I would certainly focus on to win here.
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. This reveals just how weak the support is for the Republican. Four of the top five precincts in terms of active registered voters fall below the line, meaning they are among the weakest precincts for Fariss.
District 59 appears ripe for the picking. That said, it will not by any stretch of the imagination be easy. It is important to challenge for this seat though, it could serve as a surprise as it seems no one expects this seat to flip. It is very flippable though.
Here are more 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 82 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 17 districts across the state that needs a Democratic challenger as yet. Let's run a Full Slate TM.