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Steve McBride wins primary to represent Democrats in District 8 Virginia House of Delegates race.

Steve McBride wins primary to represent Democrats in District 8 Virginia House of Delegates race.

Steve McBride won the primary for the two Democrats vying to compete against Republican incumbent Greg Habeeb for the District 8 Virginia House of Delegates seat. This race has not had a Democratic contender since 2011. It is great to see people like Steve stepping up to challenge a seat like this.

Connect with Steve McBride's campaign:

DISTRICT 8 FAST FACTS

  • Residents = 80,010
  • Active Registered Voters = 51,822
  • Percent Registered = 65%
  • Total Vote in Last District 8 Race = 17,386
  • Participation Rate = 33%
  • Total Vote for Republican last Race = 16,684
  • Total Vote for Democrat last Race = 0

There are four localities in the district, Craig County with 11 precincts, Montgomery County with 6 precincts, Roanoke County with 13 precincts and Salem City with 10 precincts. The participation rate is pretty sound for one of these House of Delegates campaigns, particularly given that it has not been contested since 2011. That said, 33% participation ain't great, so let's take a look at where we should attack to try and win this district!

The first graphic is a pie chart highlighting the share of active registered voters found in each of the four localities within this district.

Roanoke County precincts have the most active registered voters by far. That said there is solid representation from both Montgomery County and Salem City precincts as well. Despite decent balance in the number of precincts, the precinct size in terms of active registered voters varies a great deal across the localities.

The next chart is a bar graph showing the vote share by locality in 2015.

The strongest locality for the Republican is the smallest. Craig County turned out at a high (for this type of off national cycle campaign) 47%. The most exciting part of this is that Salem City only came in at 25% participation for the Republican. That would draw my attention early and often given that weak support. Roanoke and Montgomery Counties have enough people that did not vote to work hard as well, even though the Republican participation rates there are higher.

It is time to dig a little deeper by looking at some precinct-level data. First up is the Republican Vote share by precinct. The initial preceding each precinct name represents the locality the precinct is in. C = Craig County, M = Montgomery County, R = Roanoke County, and S = Salem City.

As noted above, Salem City is an area I would probably work heavily given the data. The data shows that most precincts there provide consistent opportunity. The exciting part is that it also makes clear some precincts to target in the other localities. Montgomery Precinct B-2, Roanoke Castle Rock, Oak Grove, Poages Mill and Green Hill are all intriguing targets since there is a lot of votes there to be had still despite being the strong points for the Republican as well.

The final chart is a scatter plot highlighting the relative strength of support in each precinct for the Republican. Anything below the red line represents the weaker than the norm support for the Republican so would be areas to consider. The narrow range of the dots shows stable support for the Republican. That said, the precincts between 2,000 to 2,500 active registered voters all present pretty decent opportunities.

District 8 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 Steve and support his 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 the Democrats across the map in Virginia like Steve. Let's support the Full Slate TM.

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