It is that time of the month again. Campaign finance reports have been released in Virginia and it’s time to make some ratings changes. The team has seven changes for you all this month, which we’ve explained below:.
- HD13 (Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic): Imagine saying that Danica Roem is in a safe seat to someone back in 2017. It’s a rapid shift, but that is now clearly the case for 2021. Manassas has moved sharply away from Republicans, and GOP candidate Chris Stone is not running a strong campaign here. He’s brought in almost no money compared to the machine that is Roem. No outside help seems to be coming for Stone, either, and with the current state of the district, this is one that is off the board completely.
- HD26 (Likely Republican to Safe Republican): Democrat William Helsey has been able to keep up with incumbent Republican Tony Wilt in fundraising thanks to his own deep pockets. The first period without a personal donation however, Helsey’s fundraising was abysmal. He only raised $7,000 while burning through $30,000, suddenly giving Wilt a decent cash advantage. Add in Wilt’s strong incumbency plus the fact this is still a Trump +6 district, and the team felt comfortable moving this off the board and to Safe R.
- HD50 (Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic): Rarely do we prognosticators say that an incumbent getting primaried is a good thing for the incumbent party, but the 50th district is one of those districts. Professional poaster Lee Carter was knocked out by Michelle Maldonado on primary day back in June. That caused us to move this seat to Likely Democratic. Now, a poor GOP candidate is making us move this to Safe Democratic. Steve Pleickhardt seems to have no interest in raising money, plus he is reportedly having back surgery this summer. That not only limits his ability to campaign, but also any ability to self fund. This is now a safe seat for Democrats.
- HD62 (Leans Republican to Likely Republican): Similarly to HD50, a poor candidate here has us making the change. Carrie Coyner is a strong incumbent in the first place, and Democratic nominee Jasmine Gore is raising no money. This is a seat that will probably find itself off the board if Gore continues to show no improvement in fundraising. With this being a major 2019 target and a Biden seat, the 62nd is the biggest recruiting failure for Virginia Democrats this cycle. Coyner is clearly favored and seems set for re-election.
- HD75 (Leans Republican to Tossup): The biggest change of this update – we’re moving the 75th away from a favored Republican flip back to the Tossup column. Incumbent Roz Tyler has accrued a fundraising machine this cycle, one that should help with turnout. While her opponent, Otto Wachsmann, hasn’t been poor at fundraising, it hasn’t matched Tyler’s. We simply can’t say that Wachsmann is favored anymore. This is now firmly a tossup seat, though still one that Republicans still have a good shot in.
- HD81 (Leans Republican to Likely Republican): Another Republican-favoring change this month, we now see incumbent Barry Knight as clearly favored. This seat is still a Trump seat and Knight has Democratic opponent Jeffrey Feld beaten strongly in cash on hand. Knight is also a strong incumbent for the seat as-is, and with Republicans expected to perform better in the Virginia Beach area, he’s clearly favored. This isn’t a safe seat, but it is one where Republicans and Knight are clearly favored in now.
- HD93 (Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic): In a similar style to districts 13 and 50, 93 is one that is just off the board for Republicans. The Republican nominee has raised no money to compete in this Biden +15 seat, and Mike Mullin fits this seat really well. It’s very hard for us to see a scenario where Republicans pull out a victory here, so we are confident in moving this to Safe Democratic.
Seats to watch
- HD21: This is a seat we currently have rated as Likely Democratic, but it is one of those Virginia Beach seats we can see snapping back. Plus, Republican Tanya Gould nearly matched incumbent Democrat Kelly Fowler in fundraising this period, and the Virginia GOP is apparently planning on dumping some money into this race. It’s one we’ll be watching in the later months.
- HD40: If we did tilt ratings, this would not be a Leans Democratic seat. But, for now we still are keeping the 40th there. However, Harold Pyon is decently keeping up in fundraising with Dan Helmer. And Pyon’s usage of the “Young Kim” strategy is having an effect on the race; he is almost certain to overperform among the decently-sized Asian population in the district. We aren’t moving it yet, but this is one that could end up on the Tossup list by fall.
- HD82: A current Safe Republican seat, we struggled on whether we should put this seat on the board. It is still a Trump seat, and one that has good odds to swing back towards Rs from 2020. But, it is also an open seat, and the two candidates are about even in fundraising. We don’t want to make the change to Likely Republican just yet, but this seat is one that we could see coming on the board in the final months.