With the normal candidate filing period over (local party apparatuses can still choose candidates until June 20th) and the 1Q fundraising numbers in, we have three changes that see three seats move off the board this time around.
- HD-69 (OPEN) – Likely Republican to Safe Republican: One of our earlier hedges in this cycle, York Supervisor Chad Green did indeed clear the field with his entry, and, as was expected, incumbent Democrat Mike Mullin decided to pass on a re-election bid. With Mullin out of the way, plus the fact this is a Trump 2020 seat, we’ve taken this seat off the board and put it confidently into the GOP column.
- HD-75 (Incumbent Carrie Coyner, R) – Likely Republican to Safe Republican: For multiple reasons, this seat is just the one area Democrats have struggled with in the past two cycles. Coyner, who started as a member of the Chesterfield County School Board, has struck out as a more moderate presence among the GOP cause in Virginia. Democrats did not find a candidate until after the filing deadline, when Stephen Miller-Pitts was chosen as their candidate. The fact that recruiting took that long tells me that this isn’t going to be a seat with much focus for VA Democrats this year. Without heavy backing, a hard fight to beat Coyner will become nearly impossible in my eyes. Thus, we’re moving it off the board.
- HD-94 (OPEN) – Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic: As with the other two seats, this was one that was always on the edge of competitiveness. With Phil Hernandez no longer having to worry about a primary, the fact that the fundraising of none of the three GOP candidates have impressed me, and the lack of a competitive state senate race in this seat are all reasons why this seat comes off the board here. I just do not see a pathway where Phil Hernandez does not become delegate for the 94th and for that reason, it’s moved into the safe column.
Seats to Watch
- HD-66 (Incumbent Bobby Orrock, R): We’ve kept this narrow Trump 2020 seat on the board for now, but in May there’s reason to believe this could come off the board. Orrock was one of the few delegates to outperform Glenn Youngkin in a delegate race (he did so by more than 2%), and he has a decent amount of money banked for this race. We’ve kept it at Likely Republican for now due to redistricting making around 40% of the district areas that Orrock hasn’t represented previously, but unless Democrat Mark Lux sees a big increase in fundraising soon, this will come off the board.
- HD-71 (Incumbent Amanda Batten, R): I really went back and forth on shifting this to Leans Republican this time around after Democratic challenger Jessica Anderson raised an impressive $71,000 this cycle. However, I’ve kept it at Likely Republican for two reasons.
1) Much of Anderson’s money came from small dollar donors, which is impressive. However, due to Anderson’s large TikTok following, I’m not certain how many of those small dollar donors came from Virginia, much less her district. The money makes it much easier for her to campaign, but doesn’t say the full story about whether people in Virginia think she can win.
2) Other than the City of Williamsburg, the rest of this seat resides in the uncompetitive 26th Senate district, which means Anderson will have to do heavier lifting on turnout in the crucial James City portion of this seat and that is going to be a challenge.
However, this race does have my attention in a way I did not expect it to at this time.