Today, the writer will look at races in Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. One can also throw in the three electoral votes of DC which will go to Biden. Thankfully, this liberal hell hole is not and never should be a state. Part 2 will cover New York and New Jersey later today.
A gubernatorial, Senate and single House seat are on the ballot, all currently held by Democrats and all that will be won by Democrats on Election Day. It is not that Delaware is so stone-cold liberal; it is more like the GOP is demoralized and no viable candidates will step forth. Get out of the Wilmington area (which is like a Philly suburb), head south through the state, and it takes on characteristics of the more rural and conservative areas of the South. Unfortunately, most of the population is that northern county.
Baltimore and redistricting after the 2010 Census dictate the political terrain in Maryland. The state actually once had more than one Republican in the House but that was altered when the conservative district which encompassed the panhandle area was drawn closer to DC giving the Democrats an edge. As a result, only the Eastern Shore-based First District has a Republican representative.
Occasionally, the fine folks of Maryland will elect a “Republican” governor like Larry Hogan, but to prevail they have to be of the virtue-signaling, NeverTrump stripe. If not Baltimore itself, four of the eight districts are close enough to that city or DC. If there was any chance for the GOP to pick up a seat, it would be in the Sixth District (the one redistricted after 2010). If 2018 results are any indication, it would take the right candidate, stars aligning, and possibly some voodoo to pull it off.
Despite the enthusiasm over the GOP candidacy of the Kimberly Kasic in the Seventh District race, she is swimming uphill against Kweisi Mfume, the current Democrat incumbent. However, she has made noise in the campaign, among the GOP, and in conservative circles, so she has a future. Regardless, this writer sees no changes here.
West Virginia is fighting with Wyoming for the honor of being the reddest state in the Union. That has not always been the case. They, after all, gave us Democrat Senators David Rockefeller and Robert “KKK” Byrd. One of their current Senators, Joe Manchin, is a Democrat. And lest we forget, the current Governor, Jim Justice- up for reelection this year- won as a Democrat and then switched parties. So voters in West Virginia are not below electing Democrats, but that will not be the case this year.
Republican incumbent Senator Shelley Moore-Capito is up for reelection. The race is on nobody’s radar and with Trump’s continued approval in the state, she will be reelected. Likewise, Trump will handily win this state.
This writer does no see any changing of the guard in West Virginia. It has been one of the most staunchly pro-Trump states and Manchin’s days may be numbered in the Senate as there are rumors this may be his last term (set to expire in 2024). There was some dalliance with a gubernatorial run this year, but he decided against it.
Like neighboring Maryland, districts adjacent to DC hold the bulk of the population and usually dictate statewide outcomes for Senator and President. Democrats currently hold a 7-4 advantage in House seats here with four of those districts being DC suburbs, so we can discount them off the bat.
That leaves, realistically, the 2nd and 7th Districts. The other District of note is the 5th District, an open race, as incumbent GOP rep Rob Riggleman lost his primary to Robert Good. However, this district takes in a large, GOP-friendly part of the state.
In the 2nd District, Scott Taylor won his primary and tries to win back his old seat lost to Elaine Luria in 2018. This district is nominally rated GOP by the Cook PVI and tilted toward Clinton in 2016. Located in the southeast corner of the state, the main city is Virginia Beach. The 7th District is sometimes referred to as a DC suburb, but it is more an exurb that extends into the southern part of the state far removed from DC and encircles Richmond. The seat is currently held by Democrat Abigail Spanberger.
There is one final consideration: the First District held by Republican Rob Wittman. Although he won in 2018 by 11 points, the district went for Clinton in 2016. That is because the northern part of the district skirts the DC suburbs.
Suffice to say, the House races in Virginia may give us an early indication of where this election is headed. Should the GOP recapture one of the two seats lost in 2018 while holding onto their current seats (a good chance), Virginia may be tighter than most are predicting.
There is also a Senate race with Democrat Mark Warner, the incumbent, taking on Daniel Gade. This race could be closer than expected, especially if Trump performs better than most people expect, but Warner’s name and incumbency will likely prevail.
There is one question of importance on the ballot this year. Following on the trend of other states, voters will be asked whether new Congressional districts should be drawn by an independent commission rather than the state legislature.
At the Presidential level, if not for those DC suburban districts, Trump would have a better chance, but this writer cannot, at this point, see him winning Virginia. There is one card to be played and that is the liberal overreach by the Democrat governor and legislature. The Democrats do not hold large majorities in either the state senate or assembly. Unfortunately, there are no state government elections in 2020 to change that.
Next: New Jersey and New York later today