Virginia is another state whose electorate will vote on Super Tuesday, March 3rd, but polling here has been infrequent. The Research America, Inc. firm tested the state (9/3-15; 882 VA registered voters), however, and found that former Vice President Joe Biden has a substantial lead here as he does everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
According to RA, Mr. Biden records 23% preference, which is a big lead against the rest of the field. Tied for second place with just 9% apiece are Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg trailing with just 5 and 4% support, respectively. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and businessman Andrew Yang follow with 2% support. All others record 1% or less.
A total of 219 House Democrats and one Independent have signed the petition pledge indicating they will vote for at least some version of an impeachment resolution. Doing so would impeach, or indict, the President, and send the charge to the Senate for a potential trial and motion to remove from office. Among the signers are several members who have competitive re-elections, are in Trump districts, or have primary competition. The lone Independent, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), will likely face attacks from both sides as he presumably seeks re-election as an Independent or minor party nominee.
The Democrats supporting impeachment who already face credible general election opposition are (listed alphabetically by name) Reps: Cindy Axne (IA), Gil Cisneros (CA), Sharice Davids (KS), Antonio Delgado (NY), Abby Finkenauer (IA), Lizzie Fletcher (TX), Andy Kim (NJ), Susie Lee (NV), Elaine Luria (VA), Tom Malinowski (NJ), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL), Chris Pappas (NH), Katie Porter (CA), Harley Rouda (CA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Abigail Spanberger (VA), and Lauren Underwood (IL).
Dr. Cameron Webb (D), a University of Virginia physician and former White House Fellow, says he will mount a campaign against freshman Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Manassas). Despite the Democratic trend in the Virginia 2018 elections, Mr. Riggleman was able to score a 53-47% open seat victory over former national news programming director Leslie Cockburn (D) and keep the seat in the Republican column. It is likely that Mr. Riggleman will be even stronger here in 2020. President Trump, for example, scored a 53-42% win here over Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite him losing the statewide vote, 44-50%.
Some retirement rumors had begun swirling around seven-term Virginia Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Montross/ Fredericksburg) but those have been quickly extinguished. After raising $231,000 in the second quarter, Rep. Wittman yesterday announced that he is running for re-election.
The 1st District, which stretches from the outer Washington, DC suburbs to the area just east of Richmond and ending west of Williamsburg, is reliably Republican. Rep. Wittman is a heavy favorite for re-election after winning 55-45% last November in a state turning more Democratic. President Trump carried the seat 54-41%, and Mr. Wittman has averaged 59.4% in his seven congressional elections. At this point, the only announced Democratic candidate is 2018 nominee Vangie Williams.
Some Republican leaders were hoping to recruit state Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) into the 7th Congressional District next year to challenge freshman Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Glen Allen) but that plan may have hit a bump in the road. Mr. Freitas was looking to win re-election to the state House this year in a landslide to strengthen his position, but now it appears his filing was not successfully completed meaning he is disqualified. If he is to run for the state House, it looks like he will have to run as a write-in candidate.
Former Virginia Congressman Scott Taylor (R), who lost his Virginia Beach anchored congressional district after one term, announced yesterday that he will challenge Sen. Mark Warner (D) next year. Acknowledging that he will be an underdog in the race against Sen. Warner, Mr. Taylor is nonetheless moving forward with his campaign. As Virginia continues to move left, Sen. Warner is viewed as a solid favorite for re-election even though he barely escaped (49.1 – 48.3%) a surprise finish opposite Republican Ed Gillespie in 2014.
Hampton University gives us our first major look at the Old Dominion Democratic presidential primary (taken 5/29-6/6; released 6/20; 1,126 VA registered voters likely to vote in the Democratic presidential primary) and, like the recent Florida poll (see above), former Vice President Joe Biden claims a 30+% lead with Mayor Pete Buttigieg gaining momentum. Here, the numbers break 36-17-13-11-7% for Mr. Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Buttigieg, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), respectively. Virginia has 99 first ballot delegates, ranking it 12th highest of the 57 delegate voting entities.
One freshman congressional district that won’t feature the 2018 candidates is Virginia’s 5th CD. Yesterday, Democratic nominee Leslie Cockburn, who secured 47% of the vote against businessman Denver Riggleman (R), says she will not return for another campaign.
Remaining in the Democratic primary is Marine Corps veteran Roger Dean Huffstetler, who finished second in the 2018 Democratic contest. Without another strong contender entering, Mr. Huffstetler will likely have the inside track to winning the party nomination and then facing Rep. Riggleman late next year.
Despite Sen. Mark Warner (D) being re-elected in a close 2014 election, he does not appear vulnerable heading into 2020. Media reports are suggesting that the National Republican Senatorial Committee leadership is attempting to recruit defeated Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) into the race against the two-term incumbent. Mr. Taylor purports to be considering the Senate campaign but, with Virginia trending decidedly leftward, a race against Sen. Warner will not likely end well for any Republican.
While Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) now faces serious potential criminal charges for an alleged 2000 rape in North Carolina, two polls were conducted testing whether respondents believe that Gov. Ralph Northam (D) should resign over his past racial antics.
The Washington Post-Schar Poll and the Democratic survey research firm Civiqs, polling for the liberal Daily Kos Elections website, arrived at very different results. The Post’s survey (2/6-8; 706 VA residents) found the state split as to whether Gov. Northam should resign. According to this data, 47% believes he should step down while another 47% says Mr. Northam should remain in office.
But, the Civiqs results (2/5-8; 868 VA registered voters) see a much different sentiment. According to this study, by a whopping 60-24%, the electorate says he should resign.
Though the polls were conducted over the same time period, the Post’s survey includes all adults while Civiqs segmented only registered voters. At this point, Mr. Northam says he will not resign and the flap involving Lt. Gov. Fairfax makes it more likely that the Governor will hold his position.
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