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Healthcare professional Melissa Dart wins District 56 Democratic nomination for Virginia House of Delegates.

Healthcare professional Melissa Dart wins District 56 Democratic nomination for Virginia House of Delegates.

Melissa Dart won the Democratic primary in District 56 Virginia House of Delegates race. Republican Peter Farrell currently holds this seat. There has not been a Democratic challenger since 2009. Farrell drew 15,126 votes in this uncontested race the last cycle. Farrell has decided not to seek reelection for this district. That means Dart will be facing Republican Paul Maguire in the fall election.

CONNECT WITH MELISSA DART'S CAMPAIGN:

DISTRICT 56 FAST FACTS

Residents = 80,010
Active Registered Voters = 50,546
Percent Registered = 63%
Total Vote in Last Race = 15,126
Participation Rate = 30%
Total Vote for Republican last Race = 15,126
Total Vote for Democrat last Race = 0
Localities = Goochland, Henrico, Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties

There is a total of 29 precincts in District 56. Louisa has the most precincts with 15 while Goochland has 5, Henrico 7 and Spotsylvania just 2. While Louisa has the highest count of precincts, voter registration in the Henrico County precincts appears high since they are only a few points behind Louisa on total active voter share percentage as seen in the pie chart below.

Here is the share of Active Voters by Locality:

Just judging by the pie chart, it is clear the focus will be on Henrico and Louisa County precincts.

Here is a bar graph showing the Republican vote share of active voters by precinct.

This chart highlights the areas with the most opportunity. Those areas are largely the precincts in Henrico County given the high volume of people who did not turn out there. So while both Henrico and Louisa are important, just given the opportunity shown in the data, I might start off by reviewing Henrico more closely.

The final scatter plot shows actual vote totals for the Republican versus the Active Registered Voter total per precinct. The weakest support is in the precincts below the line. These precincts would likely be an excellent starting point for building support for any Democratic campaign in this district.

District 56 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 Melissa 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 Melissa. Let's support the Full Slate TM.

 

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