Winning in "Red America" - we have a good shot in District 14 Virginia HoD if we can recruit a candidate!
Democrats have no candidate contesting District 14 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 Danny Marshall currently holds this post. The Republican was able to secure only 9,821 in this uncontested district the last cycle. Republicans have held this seat since 2001. Before 2001 this seat was held by Democrats as far back as my data goes, which is 1947. That means 64 of the last 70 years this was a Democratic seat.
With that in mind, let's turn our attention to some data.
DISTRICT 14 FAST FACTS
Residents = 80,010
Active Registered Voters = 47,337
Percent Registered = 60%
Total Vote in Last Race = 9,982
Participation Rate = 21%
Total Vote for Republican = 9,821
Total Vote for Democrat = 0
Total Vote Other = 161
Localities = Henry and Pittsylvania Counties with Danville City
District 14 has a total of 33 precincts with 17 in Danville City, 9 in Pittsylvania County, and 7 in Henry County. This candidate does start with a pretty decent bank, but this participation rate is poor. Given the many uncontested districts where the incumbent won 15,000 or more votes, this vote total exposes weakness for this Republican. Let us dive into the numbers to identify the areas to target in this race.
Here is the share of Active Voters by Locality:
The story of where to find the most leverage in this district starts with this pie chart. Danville makes up most of the active voters in this area. The county localities are not insignificant, but the city holds the edge overall.
This next chart shows partisan vote share of total active voters per locality.
The bar graph above highlights the value of Danville. Not only is it the largest voter population, but it nearly yields the fewest Republican votes. That is clearly an indication of weak support and lack of organization for the candidate. Danville has a meager 13% participation rate compared to the more typical rates of 28% for Pittsylvania County and 30% for Henry County precincts.
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. D = Danville City, H = Henry County, and P = Pittsylvania County.
Now, this bar graph reveals that there is significant opportunity across all precincts in Danville which is not surprising given what we see in the first two graphics. More interesting is the amount of weakness in some of the County precincts. Mt Hermon, Ringold and Kentuck in Pittsylvania as well as Irisburg, Mount Olivet and Ridgeway #1 in Henry all make for juicy potential targets.
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 chart highlights a very loose grouping. That is a sign of a lack of organization across the district. The fact that most of those precincts below the line are well below the line are a sign of how weak the support for the Republican is in those locations.
Of the seats not yet with a Democratic candidate declared, this district appears to be the ripest for the picking. This race represents a good chance to pick off an unexpected win, even against a well-funded candidate. The weak show of support even for an uncontested race in the last cycle does not bode well for the Republican. We just need a good candidate to step up!
Here is more reasons 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.
CONNECT WITH YOUR LOCAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
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.