Control of the 40-person Virginia Senate depends on a small number of district races. Scary I-66 tolls in Senate Districts 13 and 29 and threatening actions in District 20 made it a seemingly nerve-racking, anxious week before Election Day on November 3.
Districts 13 & 29: Horrifying I-66 Tolls in Northern Virginia?
A strange situation has developed in District 13 for the GOP, where first-term Republican Senator Dick Black should be cruising to victory in a Republican-leaning district. Black reportedly insulted women in an ad against Democratic opponent Dr. Jill McCabe, and his record on women’s issues looks bad. He is now using the “$17 tolls” scare tactic to gain political traction. Meanwhile, McCabe has surpassed Black in fundraising. Will District 13 be a lucky or a cursed number—and for which party?
Terrifying tolls are also an issue in District 29. Republican Hal Parrish, Manassas Mayor and Republican candidate for District 29, also used the $17 tolls in campaign ads prompting a withering rebuke from Democratic Governor McAuiliffe.
District 20: Facebook, Fear & Guns in Southern Virginia
An eerie incident in District 20 brought back memories of Republican State Senator Bill Stanley’s Glock. It all started when Andy Parker, father of Roanoke TV reporter who was fatally shot recently, started making negative comments on Bill Stanley’s Facebook page. Stanley has an “A” rating with the NRA, and Parker is a spokesman for Everytown for Gun Safety. Stanley perceived the Facebook comments as threatening and reacted by applying for concealed handgun permits and calling the Capitol Police and county sheriff’s office. Parker apologized for his harsh Facebook comments.
Governor Terry McAuliffe mocked Stanley’s reaction as a political ploy for voter sympathy, which then prompted a fearful furor from Republicans.
Stanley is running for re-election against Democrat Kim Adkins (NRA “F” rating), former mayor of Martinsville. Stanley’s campaign showed concern for Martinsville and Henry County votes by opening a new Republican office in September. The gun issue took a vicious turn when Adkins’ Martinsville campaign office was defaced with a large spray-painted gun target symbol and threatening words.
District 7: Monstrous Money Amounts in Virginia Beach
Republican Frank Wagner, who has not had a Democratic opponent in his last two senate elections, is fighting for his political life in one of the most expensive races in Virginia’s history. Governor McAuliffe lost this district by about 300 votes out of some 50,000 cast in 2013, but Democratic Lt. Governor Northam won it by 5,200 votes.
District 8: This Virginia Beach District Should Be Safe for GOP
Virginia Delegate Bill DeSteph is running against Democrat Dave Belote, a political newcomer. Belote’s fundraising is impressive, but this district should go Republican, based on recent elections.
District 10: Scary Gun Safety & the Battle for Richmond
A battle over gun safety and 2nd Amendment rights is brewing. Democratic candidate Dan Gecker, supported by Everytown for Gun Safety, is running against Republican Glen Sturtevant, with backing from the NRA. Voting history for the district favors Democrats, for example the district favored Democrats in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 elections.
District 21: Democratic Senator Faces Formidable Opponents
State Senator John Edwards earned NRA endorsement, but this could scare away some Democratic voters in this close election. Republicans are targeting Edwards, the last Democratic senator in Southwest Virginia. However, the conservative Republican and Independent candidates will likely split the non-Democratic vote. McAuliffe won this district in 2013, and Democratic Senator Warner received 54% of the vote in 2014. Edwards should win re-election.
The Election Could Spook Republicans
Based on demographic trends and past voting trends, Democrats should take District 10 from Republicans and successfully defend Districts 21 and 29. This means that Democrats should gain control of the Senate. If Democrats pick up Districts 7 and/or 13, then Republicans will be more than unlucky. The loss of Districts 8 or 20 would be real Republican horror stories. All of the above races are worth watching on Election Day.