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District 6 Virginia House of Delegates - still need a Democratic contender!

District 6 Virginia House of Delegates - still need a Democratic contender!

Democrats have no candidate contesting District 6 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 Jeffrey Campbell currently holds this post. The Republican was able to secure 15,921 in this uncontested district the last cycle. Republicans have held this seat since 2005. The prior 13 years before then this was a Democratic seat. It has bounced back and forth over time. It is neither parties stronghold if we take the time to work it.

With that in mind, let's turn our attention to some data.


Residents = 80,010
Active Registered Voters = 44,935
Percent Registered = 56%
Total Vote in Last Race = 16,186
Participation Rate = 36%
Total Vote for Republican = 15,921
Total Vote for Democrat = 0
Total Vote Other = 265
Localities = Carroll, Smyth and Wythe Counties

District 6 has a total of 38 precincts with 18 in Carroll County, 11 in Wythe County, and 9 in Smyth County. These numbers reveal a decent participation rate, relatively speaking, for one of these odd year elections.  This Republican enjoys some fairly stable support for an uncontested district

Here is the share of Active Voters by Locality:

Each county making up this seat have a sizable number of Active Registered Voters in them. Aside from Carroll and Wythe being the largest and with the same share of voters, Smyth coming in at 24% of the population is respectable. We will need to dig deeper to see where to set priorities.

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

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The bar graph above demonstrates yet more stability. Each county has about the same rate of support for the Republican. The lowest participation rate is found in Smyth County at 32% with the highest being Wythe County at 38%. That is not a particularly large difference at all.

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. C = Carroll, S = Smyth, and W = Wythe.

Even at this level, it is pretty apparent the stability of the support for the Republican. That is not to say there is not an opportunity to be found, just that it will take attacking some of the strong points to gain traction.  There is not much low hanging fruit here. I would start with Saltville precinct in Smth County and then consider early work in the Wytheville precincts as well.

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 that stable support found in the other charts. This is a challenging district no doubt. Most of the largest precincts in terms of active registered voters are above the line. That is an indication of stronger support and better organization for the incumbent in those areas. You would prefer to have more of those falling below the line, but, we need to compete for these votes in any event.

While this will be a heavy lift, Democrats in the area ought to compete for this seat if they can.

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.

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 79 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 20 districts across the state that needs a Democratic challenger as yet.

Winning in 'Red America" - District 7 Virginia House of Delegates needs a Democratic candidate!

Winning in 'Red America" - District 7 Virginia House of Delegates needs a Democratic candidate!

JMU professor Cathy Copeland aims for Virginia delegate race - by Christina Ziu | The Breeze Mar 31, 2017

JMU professor Cathy Copeland aims for Virginia delegate race - by Christina Ziu | The Breeze Mar 31, 2017