Dec 19, 2013
Wolf’s Retirement Puts Virginia’s 10th Congressional District In Play for Democrats
Congressman Frank Wolf’s retirement in Virginia’s 10th congressional district marks yet another Republican who is refusing to run for re-election on the Republican brand of dysfunction, shutdown and alienating the middle class – giving “Democrats a great pickup opportunity in 2014.”
Following Congressman Wolf’s retirement, here’s the state of the race in this toss-up district:
BY THE NUMBERS, A STRONG PICK UP OPPORTUNITY FOR DEMOCRATS
President Obama carried this district in 2008 with 51 percent of the vote, while Tim Kaine also won this district in 2012.
Congressman Wolf was a consistently strong candidate with a long record in the district, and voters saw him as a centrist. He outperformed Mitt Romney by 10 percentage points in 2012, a performance a replacement Republican would be unable to match given the drag from the national brand. Republicans held onto this district only “based on the strength of his [Wolf’s] incumbency,” but over his 30-year career, the district changed underneath him, taking on an “increasing purple tone.” The district also includes a voting age population that is nearly 30 percent minority, including a 11-percent Hispanic voting age population who are increasingly infuriated by the Republican’s refusal to take up immigration reform.
Pundits and political prognosticators agree: NBC wrote that Wolf’s retirement “sets up what will likely be a competitive race in Northern Virginia for a swing seat;” The National Journal stated “Wolf's Retirement Opens Another Battleground District for Democrats;” Rothenberg shifted the race in Democrats' favor; and The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics shifted their assessment of the race to a toss-up.
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, REPUBLICAN SEQUESTER WILL BE FRONT AND CENTER
Home to government employees and a large federal contracting community, this district was devastated by the Republicans' reckless government shutdown. The Washington Post wrote that in “Downtown restaurants and businesses that depend on tourism suffered. Furloughed workers fretted about bills, and some took part-time jobs,” while a Daily Press headline exclaimed “Shutdown hurts Virginia the most.”
Similarly, the Republican’s sequester and furloughs for military families have inflicted serious pain on Northern Virginia’s residents and defense-heavy economy: Pew wrote that “of all the states, Virginia stands among the most vulnerable to the $43 billion in defense cutbacks,” while George Mason University Professor Stephen Fuller wrote that the sequestration could “very easily push the Virginia economy into recession.”
STATEWIDE DYNAMICS HELP DEMOCRATS IN 2014, WHILE REPUBLICANS ARE POISED TO ONCE AGAIN NOMINATE A CANDIDATE WHO IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH VIRGINIA’S VALUES.
In the most recent election, Virginia Republicans nominated two dysfunctional Tea Party extremists – Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson – both of whom stood far out of touch with the values of Commonwealth residents. With Virginia Republicans refusing to moderate and a national civil war brewing inside the Republican Party, “the threat of a nominating convention picking an unpalatable general-election candidate looms large over the GOP,” and Virginia Republicans may be poised to once again select a candidate outside of the mainstream of the independent Northern Virginia voters who decide elections.
Meanwhile, the Democratic ticket in 2014 will be anchored by Senator Mark Warner’s re-election, providing a strong boost to Virginia’s congressional Democratic candidates.
Congressman Frank Wolf’s retirement, coupled with demographic changes, puts Virginia’s 10th congressional district squarely in play for Democrats – as yet another Republican refuses to run on his party’s brand of reckless gridlock that hurts the middle class. Statewide political dynamics are all trending in Democrats' favor in Virginia, while the Republican’s government shutdown, sequestration and furloughs for military families will be front in center in this district – providing a clear contrast between Democrats' record of problem solving and the Republican’s reckless, irresponsible politics that are failing Virginia’s families.
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