What’s interesting about this is that there’s no ostensible reason for it. Rep. Bob Hurt came in during the 2010 wave, defeating freshman Democrat Tom Perriello to win Virginia’s Fifth District; and now Hurt’s retiring at the end of 2016. This is a legitimate surprise; Bob Hurt has had no real trouble keeping the seat, is not in any trouble right now, and there’s no particular hint of scandal attached to him. He apparently (I paraphrase) just finds Washington DC to be a festering sinkhole of pointlessness and frustration, and wants to get out of the miasma before it causes permanent physiological and/or psychological damage.
…Hard to argue with that, really.
(Image via Shutterstock)
PS: No, this is not a magical pickup opportunity for the Democratic party. Roll Call on the district:
The open seat should give Democrats a better opportunity to win, but it won’t vault into the first or second tier of opportunities. Mitt Romney carried the 5th District by 7 points in 2012 and Arizona [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] won it by 3 points in 2008. Republican Ken Cuccinelli won the district by 10 points, 51-41 percent, over Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the 2013 gubernatorial race, according to Daily Kos Elections.
Never mind the unfortunate brand name: Daily Kos Elections does solid, reliable work when it comes to who voted for whom, and when. And they take into account how the districts shift because of redistricting, which is honestly some of the most thankless work in this business. But I digress: the point here is that this is pretty safe GOP territory, absent maybe a scandal. And, as far as we can tell… there isn’t one. The best the Democrats could do was some innuendo back in 2012 about him knowing, shockingly, then-Gov. Bob McDonnell. Didn’t take, obviously.
Mind you, if the Democrats had a better House leader than [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ] then they might make a fight of this race. Although the Democrats would be better off if they aimed their sights higher than merely ‘better than Pelosi’ and tried for ‘a competent House leader’ instead…