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Early VA State Senate Soundings (Subject to Change Of Course!) on Labor Day!

Here are my thoughts based on stuff I hear and stuff I am told on the likelihood of whether the GOP will hold the state senate:

With (gasp!) 25 contested races our of 40 it will be interesting on election night.  21 is the magic number

Solid D – 2(Locke), 5(Alexander), 9(McEachin), 18(Lucas), 25(Deeds), 30(Ebbin), 32(Howell), 34(Petersen), 35(Saslaw) = total of nine.

Probably D – 6(Lewis), 16(Dance), 31(Favola), 33(Wexton), 36(Surovell), 37(Marsden), 39(Barke) = total of seven for 16

Solid R – 4(McDougle), 14(Cosgrove), 15(Ruff), 22(Garrett), 23(Newman), 24(Hanger), 26(Obenshein), 27(Vogel), 28(Stuart), 38(Chafin), 40(Carrico) = total of eleven

Probably R – 8(DeSteph), 17(Reeves), 20(Stanley) = total of three and that makes 14

16 D  14 R

Let’s start in order:

District 1 – The incumbent D John Miller has a huge money advantage over R Mark Matney but he had not yet sealed the deal with the voters in 2007 or 2011.  (Sandy is helping Matney and that ought to be worth a point or two in this election!)  So this is a likely D district at this point.  17 D 14 R

District 4 – This ought to be a super easy win for Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment and it probably will be over vastly underfunded Hugo Reyes.  But the news has not been uniformly favorable for the incumbent and some tea party and evangelical types might stay home or only vote in local races.  Norment will win but he’ll have to spend some money this time.  17 D 15 R

District 7 – Another easy win ought to be here for Senator Wagner but he has a greatly funded opponent and I am told the D’s see blood in the water here so they are putting money into this race.  If so, this might be a toss up.  Added to that is the alleged involvement of the senator in the infamous “slating” controversy last year.  I’ll wait to see so it is a toss up.  17 D 15 R 1 tossup

District 10 – This ought to be a great race to watch.  Lots of people are trying to tell me Glen Sturtevant has this one fairly safely in the bag but I’m not convinced.  Gecker will have lots of money and if you do not like nasty campaigns, move to a safe seat instead!  I also think the Libertarian Carl Loser might have an impact.  I call it a toss up – 17 D 15 R and 2 tossups

District 11 – Amanda Chase pulled off a major upset in a three way race.  She suddenly had a campaign veteran – E. Wayne Powell.  I know Wayne (I like him too but we’re solidly for Chase here at the blog!) and he’s going to be a formidable campaigner (He ran against Eric Cantor and had clever signs that looked like realty signs for houses with Cantor for Sale and Powell Not for Sale.  The combo was very effective in the message.  Cantor had to run negative ads and there was that bar complaint at a key moment.) and I would not overlook Powell.  Slight advantage for the Rs.  17 D 16 R and two tossups.

District 12 – I am told this is a good GOP district and it should go to the GOP – The party will or have united behind Dr. Dunnavant and she should win easily.  17 D 17 R and two tossups.

District 13 – Senator Dick Black is great but he might be in a dogfight.  I suspect this will be a nasty fight, too.  McCabe has some money for a fight but Black has more and he’s a canny campaigner.  Let’s call this a tossup, too.  17 D  17 R and three tossups.

District 19 – I do not have a good feel for this seat.  David Suetterlein is the legislative aide for the incumbent and it reads like a GOP seat (Floyd and Salem, parts of Bedford County, Roanoke County, Franklin County, Montgomery County and Wythe County) but I am heading a sounding or two about how Michael Lawrence Hamlar is doing well in fundraising and he is slightly ahead of the Republican in money.  I’ll say slight advantage for the Republican.  17 D 18 R and three tossups.

District 21 – John Edwards, the incumbent Democrat seemed to be in serious trouble with two prominent opponents:  Republican Nancy V. Dye and independent Don Caldwell.  I am hearing that this race is leaning toward the incumbent.  18 D 18 R and three tossups.

District 29 – This is the district of retiring Senator Chuck Colgan.  I think the GOP picked the best candidate – Manassas Mayor (and son of a long time Delegate Harry Parrish) Hal Parrish.  he is leading the money race, too.  But the district may be tilted slightly toward the Dems in statewide races but the turnout is lower in senate races.  I say probably R – 18 D 19 R and three tossups.

If you scratched me for a “No Tossup” count – here it is:

I think the Republicans win all three but just barely.  Gecker could win in the 10th and McCabe could win in the 13th.  That would give the GOP solid control of the upper chamber with 22 seats to 18 for the Dems.

I plan to live blog the senate races on election night…


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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