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Single mother Hala Ayala wins District 51 Democratic primary in Virginia House of Delegates race.

Single mother Hala Ayala wins District 51 Democratic primary in Virginia House of Delegates race.

Hala Ayala won the June 13th primary to represent District 51 in the Virginia House of Delegates election this fall. Republican Rich Anderson is the current delegate for District 51. These candidates represent the first challenge by a Democrat since 2013. Anderson secured 12,688 votes of 13,515 in 2015.

CONNECT WITH HALA AYALA'S CAMPAIGN:

DISTRICT 51 FAST FACTS

Residents = 80,010
Registered Active Voters = 51,491
Percent Registered = 64%
Total Vote in Last District 21 Race = 13,515
Participation Rate = 21%
Total Vote for Republican last Race = 12,688
Total Vote for Democrat last Race = 0
Localities = Prince William County

This district is made up of 20 precincts within in Prince William County. In 2013 this race was close with a margin of only 1,839 votes out of 24,279 votes. The 2013 campaign 47% participation rate is pretty high, even for a gubernatorial election year. It will take some organizing to score a victory in this district.

Let's take a look at the Vote Share per Precinct from the last cycle to get a picture of weak areas of support for the Republican:

Digging into this data reveals reasonably broad support for the Republican across the precincts. That said Kerrydale might present a soft target, with a relatively low vote rate for the Republican compared to the high volume of people who did not vote the last cycle.

Another factor in this race is the high rate of absentee voters. Any campaign in this district needs to have a grasp of why that is happening and make sure they work absentee voting as part of their overall strategy.

This race is setting up to be a dynamic hard fought race.

Above is a plot of the Republican vote totals in the precincts. The red dots below the line represent the lowest hanging fruit due to softer support for the Republican than those precincts that fall above the line. The encouraging point here is that the largest precinct, furthest to the right, is well below the line. That and half of the six districts around 3,000 active registered voters or more fall below the line.

Just one additional chart. This one shows the change in Republican vote from 2013 to 2015. Those in negative figures show the lost votes for the Republican from cycle to cycle and the others are where he gained ground. Tactically there would be value at looking at the precincts where there was little change. There might be an opportunity to separate yourself in those precincts.

District 51 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 Hala 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 Hala. Let's support the Full Slate TM.

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