How do we predict the 2020 Virginia House races will go?
Like many other Southern states, Virginia has a Democratic heritage. This became replaced by a thorough streak of Republican-ness in the 1990s and 2000s, but with the swinging of Northern Virginia back into the blue camp, Virginia is turning blue again. However, this time, Virginia’s tilt blue is less of ancestral moderate and conservative Southern Democrats ditching the party (they have all left by now) and more of the state becoming politically liberal. This is fueled in large part by “NoVA” but the Republicans got some bad news in the mid and late-2010s: they started losing the Richmond suburbs and their friendlier areas of Hampton Roads.
The Republican Party in the commonwealth is looking for any signs of life they can get. Will they find them in the 2020 Virginia House races, or are they bound for more disappointment? We predicted all eleven of Virginia’s races here.
US House Rating Scale
The 2020 Virginia House races are rated as below, without the need for the phenomenon called the “tossup.”
2020 Virginia House Races Current Prediction Summary: October 31
Current Virginia US House Map
There are more Republican districts in the good old USA than this one taking up most of Virginia’s non-Eastern Shore peninsulas, but Democrats winning at the district level here is unusual. Rob Wittman would probably wish for a little less of Northern Virginia in his district, given the commonwealth’s trends, but he appears to be safe.
Elaine Luria is heading for a possible 2018 rematch with Scott Taylor. Virginia Beach is a big-time military city, but while they tend Republican, Luria is military herself. She may get re-elected in 2020 but would need some redistricting help to secure herself beyond that. This is the definition of a swing district.
Bobby Scott’s Hampton Roads district is very blue. Republicans don’t even bother to field a candidate here half the time.
The Chesapeake portion of the district is not as Democratic, but the Richmond and Petersburg portions are. Republicans have a minimal chance in this seat as drawn; the prior edition of this district was winnable for the GOP, but the current is not.
RATINGS CHANGE, OCT. 31: R1 to D1
Raise your hand if you saw this as maybe one of the star House races at the start of 2020. Put your hand down, you liar.
We like what Cameron Webb has done here and he is most certainly competitive. Combine that with a top-of-ticket sweep of Virginia and we think this district flips. Riggleman probably would have won.
RATINGS CHANGE, JUNE 15: R2 to R1
June 15: This race changed on June 13, when incumbent Denver Riggleman lost the GOP drive-thru nominating convention for the seat to Bob Good. The latter is a staunch social conservative who called Riggleman out for leaving that wing of the party behind. This is still somewhat of a Republican-leaning seat, so we would favor Good in the general election – for now. However, when you look at what has happened to social conservatives in Virginia in recent years, it gives an election prediction website pause. We are not comfortable with this being further over than a “weak lean” in the GOP column.
May 30: Democrats may be coming for this seat, hoping that Charlottesville can propel them, but there are a lot of parts of the district outside of C-Ville that are not Democratic at all. If they couldn’t win it in 2018 when they were cleaning up everywhere else in Virginia, 2020 is unlikely to happen, too.
The beautiful Shenandoah Valley isn’t just green, it’s also rather red.
The 2nd and 7th Districts will be the top targets of the GOP in November. Republicans still can’t believe they lost this one in 2018, which takes up a lot of east-central Virginia and gets into Richmond’s Henrico and Chesterfield County suburbs. Abigail Spanberger is far from safe but we need to see how the GOP primary plays out first.
Don Beyer has a blue seat inside the Washington Beltway, and won’t have far to go to get back to Congress.
The western parts of Virginia are largely untouched from Democratic successes elsewhere in the commonwealth. Morgan Griffith is a lock.
RATINGS CHANGE, JUNE 24: D2 to D3
June 24: Jennifer Wexton is safe. The 10th District is not what it used to be and Frank Wolf isn’t coming to the rescue. Hell, Frank Wolf probably couldn’t get elected here today and he won 17 times in Northern Virginia. There will be discussions in the long-term as to whether or not NoVA is “gone” for the GOP forever. Whatever the case, it is gone for right now and there is little indication the GOP will touch Wexton with Joe Biden increasing his advantage in Virginia.
May 30: This district got away from the GOP fast as Northern Virginia’s suburbs rushed to Team Blue. Jennifer Wexton picked the seat up on a massive swing and we are close to calling this one “safe.” VA-10 and New Jersey-11 may be the closest thing to “safe” of any 2018 Democratic flips.
Tom Davis ain’t walking through that door, GOP.