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Sheep farmer Tia Walbridge wins Democratic primary in District 33 Virginia House of Delegates race.

Sheep farmer Tia Walbridge wins Democratic primary in District 33 Virginia House of Delegates race.

Tia Walbridge won the District 33 Democratic primary for the Virginia House of Delegates race this fall.  Republican Dave LaRock currently holds this seat. There was a Democratic and a Libertarian challenger in the last cycle. Despite the competition, it does appear that LaRock scored a resounding victory with a margin of 4,704 votes out of 20,027 cast in the district.


District 33 Fast Facts

Residents = 80,010
Active Registered Voters = 53,033
Percent Registered = 66%
Total Vote in Last District 33 Race = 20,027
Participation Rate = 38%
Total Vote for Republican last Race = 12,004
Total Vote for Democrat last Race = 7,300
Total Vote for Libertarian last Race = 723
Localities = Clarke, Frederick and Loudoun Counties

There is a total of 28 precincts in District 33. 6 in Clarke County, 5 in Frederick County and 17 in Loudoun County. The Republicans won every precinct, no matter the County in that last race. And while 38% participation sounds bad, it is pretty respectable compared to some of these Virginia districts. This election will be a turnout drive to win. Gotta run up the score across the board.

Let's take a look at some data to see where advantage may be found.

The first graphic is Active Voters Share by Locality.

What you find here is that Loudoun County has the largest share of active voters in this district. That makes them the obvious target for any candidate running in the area. Let's dig deeper still.

Here is the Partisan Vote Share by Locality:

This bar graph highlights the importance of Loudoun County even more. More people did not vote there than are registered in either of the other two counties. That said, there are plenty of active registered voters in the smaller localities to provide a reason to pay some level of attention in those areas as well.

As noted above, though, the Republican crushed it last election. Tactically, based on the bar chart above, it is pretty clear any Democrat will want to focus on Loudoun to make up the ground. But let's turn to precinct-level detail to find some other opportunities here.

Republican Margin of Victory by Precinct.

One way to look at it is to see where the Republican enjoyed their narrowest victories. The idea is to work on flipping each precinct from left to right until you win enough of them to win the election. In this district, this approach may not be best, but looking at the margins is still informative. It will be better to look at it and then the next chart.

Partisan Vote Share by Precinct.

Above is the chart showing the vote share by precinct. There is only one precinct where the Republican did not win a majority of the vote in the last cycle, but neither did the Democrat. When overlayed with the prior Margin of Victory bar graph, you will note that, aside from Greenway Precinct, there is not much room to gain ground on the Republican in a significant way. Where you really want to focus your efforts to challenge the Republican here is to start at Balls Bluff on the left to about Hamilton on the right. These precincts might be the place to focus your energy based just on this data. There are of course other factors to consider.

The final scatterplot shows actual vote totals for Republican and Democrat in the last race compared to total registered active voters in the district. It becomes very clear there is work to do across the board. The gap in each precinct is fairly wide; there seem to be only two precincts that were relatively close considering the small scale of total votes cast.

District 33 will be a heavy lift for any Democrat seeking this seat. That said, there is plenty of weaknesses to be exploited. At a minimum, running here will allow us to move the ball forward in the district. This is why we need to rally behind Tia and support her campaign, to exploit what opportunity can be found here and potentially win this tough seat!!

Here are more reasons why we should support the 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.

Virginia is leading the way. They are doing well contesting 88 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 support the full slate of Democrats running this cycle, tough district or not. Let's work together to support Democrats across the map in Virginia like Tia. Let's support the Full Slate TM.

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