A month has come and gone since Elections Daily released our first ratings for the 2021 Virginia elections. Since then, some candidates have entered the statewide races and more House of Delegates races are taking shape. While we do not have a ton of changes for you this month, we do have some key updates. Virginia continues to be the main focus of the two parties going into 2021, with more twists and turns to come.
The Statewide Faces
Not much has changed in the overall state of all three statewide races. Terry McAuliffe is still the favorite in the Democratic primary for Governor, while a recent poll shows incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring with a sizable lead over challenger Jay Jones. On the Republican side in those races, businessmen Pete Snyder and Glenn Youngkin have both made their candidacies official. With a convention now confirmed, expect them both to be in play for the nomination. In the AG race for Republicans, Leslie Haley has joined the field, coming from suburban Chesterfield County. Haley has a good background for the role and it will be interesting to see how she matches up against Jason Miyares.
The Lieutenant Governor’s race on both sides continues to get crowded. With six credible candidates, including four current Delegates on the Democratic side, this primary continues to be competitive. One of the first shots were fired after the end of the past fundraising quarter. While Sam Rasoul led all candidates in money raised, he came under critique from Sean Perryman and others for accepting donations from energy companies. The fundraising period also showed some disappointment for Delegate Elizabeth Guzman. She only raised $156,000, well behind all other major candidates.
The Republican side also got larger this past month. Former delegate Winsome Sears hopped in, with former VA-10 candidate Aliscia Andrews also rumored to be jumping in. Former Northern Virginia-area delegate Tim Hugo has taken up many an endorsement so far. This includes both western Congressmen in Ben Cline and Morgan Griffith. Hugo, even in a convention format, is now looking like a clear frontrunner for the GOP nod here.
House of Delegates Ratings Changes
We have only one actual change in our House of Delegates ratings this month. With retirements still possible to come and candidates still able to jump in, there’s still time for much of this to change. We also update about the state of some of our close races as well, even with no changes to their current rating.
- HD-10: Our only shift of the month, HD-10 will shift from Leans Democratic to Tossup. This is after the first fundraising period showed Nick Clemente, the only GOP candidate declared so far, nearly even with incumbent Wendy Gooditis in fundraising. While this was a double-digit Biden seat in November, Gooditis only won by four and five points in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Both years were very favorable to Democrats in the state. With 2021 unlikely to be at those levels of favorably for Democrats, this is a seat we see being close. The seat is also based in Loudoun. While in NOVA, unlike Fairfax or Prince William, it is still heavily white. This means it could be open to some return towards the GOP. The fundraising alone shows Clemente to be a serious candidate though, and we feel comfortable moving HD-10.
HOD Race Updates
Although HD-10 is our only change in his update, we did want to give some updates on races we gave some thought to this past month. These races are ones we’re watching for potential changes in March, but we just didn’t feel comfortable changing now.
- HD-51: With many of the competitive seats, quality candidates will matter for the GOP. This is especially true in NOVA. In the 51st, local Republicans might have an issue here. Jeff Dove is currently one of the two candidates. Dove, while not necessarily being far-right, is also a major carpetbagger. His PO Box is located in Alexandria and he has no connections to Prince William County. While we all agreed that Dove winning the nomination alone wouldn’t change this seat to Likely Democratic, it pushes it much closer to there than to Tossup. Republicans would be better off nominating another candidate here.
- HD-100: The 100th is a marginally Democratic district held by a well-know legacy. Robert Bloxom Jr is one of the VA GOPs strongest electoral candidates in the state nowadays, beating back tough challengers in both 2017 and 2019. However, this is a seat that is shifting to a darker shade of blue in recent years. It’s why we still rate it as a Tossup. However, Democrats are reportedly struggling to find a good recruit for this seat. Bloxom will certainly not go unopposed, but unlike most competitive GOP held seats, no Democrat has yet declared.
- HD-02: The special election for this seat back in November was incredibly close for such a blue seat. Candi King won by only three percentage points in a seat President Biden won by nearly 30. This is a seat that should be quickly in the Safe Democratic column, but we held off after the close special. We nearly moved it back to Safe Democratic this month, especially since this seat will more than likely have a revision to the mean come the fall. In the end, we decided to stay the course and wait to see who the GOP puts up here. If the nominee is someone like Heather Mitchell, this seat stays at Likely Democratic. Anyone else, and we likely move it off the board.
I want to again thank Dawson Weinhold and Ethan Chen for helping Elections Daily with this. They continue to be growing contributors to the site and you should read the pieces they’ve written here so far. Elections Daily will continue our Virginia 2021 coverage throughout the year; we appreciate all the support and we will have another update for you all in March.