Who Will Win Virginia’s 8th Congressional District Primary, June 10?


First of all, there are a lot of good Democratic candidates vying for the right to succeed Congressman Jim Moran, who is retiring. I have met some of the candidates, been to some forums, reviewed campaign sites, and seen countless brochures.

Candidate stickers and 8th district map
Candidate stickers and 8th district map

Geographical Advantage to Patrick Hope

The candidate favored to win the June 10 primary seems to be former Lt. Governor Don Beyer. He certainly has the money and the political connections to win, but I think Delegate Patrick Hope may pull an upset win. Why does Hope look so good electorally? As a geographer, I look at geopolitical patterns and trends and see some advantages:

  • Hope has won three elections to his House of Delegates district (47th) since 2009.
  • His Arlington district holds some 60,000 voters; he is the only candidate from Arlington.
  • Hope’s primary rivals are all from Alexandria, which will divide the Alexandria vote.
  • @TeamHopeVA & http://www.hopeforcongress.comshow Hope campaigning throughout the 8th.
  • Hope tried to visit all 159 precincts in the 8th; he even broke a rib after misjudging some stairs while visiting the Woodlawn area (Fairfax) on May 25.


Message Advantage to Patrick Hope

From forums to campaign literature, Hope has a simple message. He is an expert on health care, embraces the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and wants to make it work for Virginians. His May 25 rib injury took him off the campaign trail, but it gave him a media opportunity to talk health care while recovering at the Virginia Hospital Center.

He is passionate but concise, and voters who have heard him like what he has to say. He prefers to listen, rather than talk—and voters like that too. Finally, he is a former Capitol Hill staffer, who knows how the Hill can work (but often doesn’t).

What About $Money?

It is true that Patrick Hope has not raised the most money for the June primary, based on recent figures, but he has shown that money isn’t everything. In 2009, Hope ran against four other candidates in a Democratic primary. As you can see on the Virginia Public Access Project table below, he got the most votes without raising the most money.

Hope: Less Money More Votes
Hope: Less Money More Votes

Who Will Vote in the Primary?

The older and more affluent Democratic establishment seems to support Beyer; but Vaclav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia, perhaps put it best when he said:

None of us know all the potentialities that slumber in the spirit of the population, or all the ways in which that population can surprise us when there is the right interplay of events.

Such is the nature of primary elections. Given the overwhelming Democratic population in the 8th, the primary winner will win the November election. Remember to vote on June 10!