USA Election Watch

Jun 12, 2018

6 min read

Virginia Primary Previews

US Senate (Democratic Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Incumbent Tim Kaine is unopposed.

Republican Primary

Candidates: Nick Freitas, E.W. Jackson, Corey Stewart

Overview: This primary has been one of the craziest so far in 2018, with the presumed frontrunner being Corey Stewart, who ran for Governor in 2017. Stewart narrowly lost in the GOP primary after running a divisive campaign largely based on arguing preservation of Southern heritage through keeping Confederate monuments intact. Stewart was criticized for being too far right socially throughout the campaign, but managed to grad a large amount of rural votes. Stewart is leading in fundraising and would definitely be a disastrous nominee for the Republicans, especially given recent reports of strong ties to white nationalist Wisconsin Congressional candidate Paul Nehlen. However, one of Stewart’s opponents might be just as bad for the Virginia Republican Party. E.W. Jackson is a pastor who ran for Governor in 2013 and is known for making bizarre statements, including once saying that practicing yoga leads to Satan. He actually might be a bit to the right of Stewart and could peel a few supporters from his base in the rural conservative wing of the party. National Republicans are hoping House of Delegates member Nick Freitas can manage to win the seat. Freitas, a strongly conservative tea party member, has somehow become the choice of moderate voters in the race, which makes sense given how moderate his opponents make him seem. Freitas is not really well funded enough to be favored, but he could easily win if the other candidates split the uberconservative support. None of the three candidates will likely have any chance of defeating Kaine, but Freitas is the only option who won’t likely end up embarrassing the party.

Prediction: Corey Stewart wins with 45% of the vote.

Virginia’s 1st Congressional District (Republican Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Candidates: Edwin Santana, John Suddarth, Vangie Williams

Overview: This three-way Democratic primary looks like a very interesting contest between three decent candidates. Edwin Santana might be the very slight favorite, however, as he currently leads in fundraising by a narrow margin. Santana is probably the most liberal candidate in the field, which will help him considering the moderate tendencies of both his rivals. John Suddarth has made a specific appeal to moderate voters. touting his opposition to regulations on pipelines, while Vangie Williams has supported the tax cuts made by the Republican party. Therefore, Santana has a strong chance of winning thanks to those two splitting the same types of voters.

Prediction: Edwin Santana wins with 40% of the vote.

Republican Primary

Incumbent Rob Wittman is unopposed

Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District (Republican Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Candidates: Elaine Luria, Karen Mallard

Overview: This primary shouldn’t be all that contested, as Elaine Luria has successfully managed to bring together most of the key establishment support in this race, including endorsements from the DCCC and Emily’s List. She is more or less a slightly right of center left candidate, which will be fairly popular among the majority of voters in an overall moderate district. Karen Mallard is running a more progressive campaign, but seems to lack the fundraising and endorsements to have that strong of a chance, especially given Luria’s connection to the Navy in a district with a large number of military members.

Prediction: Elaine Luria wins with 65% of the vote.

Republican Primary

Candidates: Scott Taylor (incumbent), Mary Jones

Overview: Incumbent Scott Taylor doesn’t seem to be facing a very strong challenge in this primary. Mary Jones is running a right wins campaign trying to tie Taylor to “globalist ideals” and not supporting Donald Trump enough. That doesn’t seem like it will be a successful strategy, but I guess you never know

Prediction: Scott Taylor wins with 75% of the vote.

Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District (Democratic Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Incumbent Bobby Scott is unopposed

Republican Primary

No Republican candidates filed for the seat

Virginia’s 4th Congressional District (Democratic Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Incumbent Donald McEachin is unopposed

Republican Primary

Candidates: Shion Fenty, Ryan McAdams

Overview: This primary could go either way, with both candidates running very similar campaigns ideologically with similar low fundraising numbers. However, Ryan McAdams is probably the slight favorite, with slightly more conservative views and slightly more fundraising. Either way, the winner will have a tough time defeating McEachin

Prediction: Ryan McAdams wins with 60% of the vote.

Virginia’s 5th Congressional District (Republican Defense, Incumbent Not Running)

Democratic Primary

Leslie Cockburn was selected as the nominee in a convention

Republican Primary

Denver Riggleman was selected as the nominee in a convention

Virginia’s 6th Congressional District (Republican Defense, Incumbent Not Running)

Democratic Primary

Candidates: Sergio Coppola, Jennifer Lewis, Charlotte Moore, Peter Volosin

Overview: This should be a very tough seat for Democrats to try to flip in November, but there are four candidates running in a competitive primary. Jennifer Lewis is the slight favorite, as she has galvanized a decent amount of enthusiasm on the left including an endorsement from Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution group, which sets her apart from her rivals in this race. However, Roanoke County Board of Supervisors member Charlotte Moore will be helped by her standing as the only candidate who has served in elected office, while Peter Volosin could capitalize on concerns about poverty and health care to advance. Additionally, Sergio Coppola could advance by taking a lot of the moderate support he has been campaigning for. Any of the four could win and I actually would be shocked if Lewis was upset here.

Prediction: Charlotte Moore wins with 30% of the vote.

Republican Primary

Ben Cline was selected as the nominee in a convention.

Virginia’s 7th Congressional District (Republican Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Candidates: Abigail Spanberger, Dan Ward

Overview: This will be one of the two strongly contested Democratic primaries tonight, and both candidates could pull off a victory. Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA office, has a lot of local establishment support including from Emily’s List and a crucial endorsement from the Mayor of Richmond. However, Dan Ward, who worked in the state department under Barack Obama, is also considered a very strong candidate and has the endorsement of many labor groups including AFL-CIO. Both have similar policy positions and fundraising, so it’s really a tossup between the two. However, Spanberger’s endorsement advantage might make her a narrow favorite in this election.

Prediction: Abigail Spanberger wins with 55% of the vote.

Republican Primary

Incumbent Dave Brat is unopposed.

Virginia’s 8th Congressional District (Democratic Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Incumbent Don Beyer is unopposed.

Republican Primary

Thomas Oh is unopposed.

Virginia’s 9th Congressional District (Republican Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Candidates: Anthony Flaccavento, Justin Santopietro

Overview: Two Democrats will face off in this primary for what will undoubtedly be a difficult general election matchup. Anthony Flaccavento is the favorite at this point between the two, having hosted over 60 town halls throughout the district to go along with the name recognition from a failed run in 2012. He also has the endorsement of Our Revolution, which could help secure support from the left. Justin Santopietro winning isn’t out of the question at this point, but it doesn’t seem incredibly likely.

Prediction: Anthony Flaccavento wins with 65% of the vote.

Republican Primary

Incumbent Morgan Griffith is unopposed

Virginia’s 10th Congressional District (Republican Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Candidates: Julia Biggins, Alison Friedman, Dan Helmer, Paul Pelletier, Lindsey Davis Stover, Jennifer Wexton

Overview: This is the Democratic Party’s best chance at a flip in Virginia and as a result, there is a very contentious primary today, with four out of the six candidates in decent positions. State Senator Jennifer Wexton has the endorsement of many state establishment members as well as the Washington Post, which is valuable in the DC suburbs where this district is located. Alison Friedman, another Obama State Department official running for Congress in Virginia, has over two million dollars in fundraising, which can really help in such a close race. Veteran Dan Helmer is also considered a strong candidate for this race, and he has gone viral several times among the left for creative campaign videos, including one showing him buying a rifle in under 20 minutes to prove how easy it is at gun shows. Helmer will be helped by his military background in this district, but might end up being a little too far to the left. While Helmer might be too far to the left, Lindsey Davis Stover, a former congressional staffer, might be too far to the right, although her moderate tendencies could grab a lot of former Republicans in the area turned off by Trump. Paul Pelletier and Julia Biggins are both running serious campaigns, but probably don’t have enough fundraising to take down any of the frontrunners.

Prediction: Alison Friedman wins with 30% of the vote.

Republican Primary

Candidates: Barbara Comstock (incumbent), Shak Hill

Overview: Barbara Comstock is a moderate, well-liked, incumbent, but she does face small primary opposition from Shak Hill, who is running against her from the right. Hill ran for Senate in 2014 and has fundraised okay figures, but won’t have too much of a shot at beating Comstock.

Prediction: Barbara Comstock wins with 75% of the vote

Virginia’s 11th Congressional District (Democratic Defense, Incumbent Running)

Democratic Primary

Incumbent Gerald Connolly is unopposed

Republican Primary

Jeff Dove is unopposed