The Bulletin

UVA Center for Politics: These Virginia congressional races could be Democratic victories

By: - July 24, 2018 7:06 pm

The University of Virginia Center for Politics says the odds that chambers of Congress will be split between parties after the November election are getting better.

Democrats now have a slightly better than 50-50 chance of winning a majority in the U.S. House, analyst Kyle Kondik wrote in a newsletter this week. And although Democrats could clinch a majority in the Senate by winning some key races, that seems unlikely, analyst Geoffrey Skelley wrote.

Republicans are likely to keep control of that chamber, Skelley wrote.

The most recent analysis doesn’t change the center’s handicapping of Virginia’s congressional races.

The center favors Democrat Tim Kaine as the winner in the Senate race, and has already identified four House Republicans whose seats could be in trouble.

From the outset, the center considered the races of Scott Taylor of District 2 in Hampton Roads and Dave Brat of District 7 in central Virginia to be toss-ups, which could mean expensive and heated races.

The District 5 seat, which opened when Republican Rep. Tom Garrett announced he wouldn’t seek reelection to treat his alcoholism, seems to be leaning in favor of Republican candidate Denver Riggleman.

Northern Virginia Republican Barbara Comstock, though, is in danger, according to UVA’s rankings. 

Part of Republicans’ vulnerability can be attributed to a low presidential approval rating that won’t budge, Kondik wrote, and an influx of money to Democratic candidates.

It’s not that Republican fundraising fell short, Kondik wrote, “it’s that Democratic fundraising was extraordinary, with dozens of Democratic candidates turning in blockbuster quarters and outraising their GOP opponents.”

Each candidate in the Virginia House races UVA identified, except Denver Riggleman in the 5th District, have raised more than a million dollars each to run their campaigns.

Comstock has so far raised the most this cycle, with $3.8 million in the her campaign bank.

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.