Democrats need 6 House of Delegates seats, and there is no shortage of targets. Back on January 7, Harry posted a list of the top targeted district and Republican incumbents, shown here with the 2007 results; let's update that list:
#_7 - Nutter (R) 52.7% --- Frank (D) 47.3% Radford, Montgomery. There is not yet a Democratic candidate that I am aware of. This is a 45% Democratic district.
#_9 - Poindexter (R) 46.4% --- Ferguson (D) 43.9% Floyd, Franklin, Pittsylvania. I don't know of a Democratic candidate here, either. This is a 41% Democratic district. Alan Ferguson almost won in 2007, but got swamped by a last-minute infusion of HUGE amounts of Republican money.
#14 - Danny Marshall (R) 51.9% --- Tomer (D) 48% Henry, Pittsylvania, Danville. Seward Anderson, former Danville mayor, is running. This is a 48% Democratic district, but it went for Obama with 52%. It is a district that has a heavy African-American vote, and Anderson, being African-American, may be able to capitalize.
#42 - Dave Albo (R) 87.6% --- Write In 12.4% Fairfax. This is a 53% Democratic district, which went for Obama with 57% of the vote. Greg Werkheiser is running, a strong candidate.
#52 - Jeff Frederick (R) 58.6% --- Brown (D) 41.2 % Prince William County. Frederick is not running again, though if he gets booted from his Republican Party Chairmanship, that could change. It is a 53% Democratic district that went for Obama with 63% of the vote. At this point, there are two Republicans seeking the nomination -- Amy Frederick (Jeff's wife) and Rafael Lopez. According to the BC House candidates spreadsheet, there are also two Democrats -- Mike Hodge and Luke Torian. As a post below notes, Chris Brown is running again as well. I know a little about Chris Brown from his earlier run, but I don't know anything about any of the other 4 candidates. This paragraph is changed from the first version, because of corrections that readers noted.
#86 - Tom Rust (R) 52.8% --- Donahue (D) 47.1% Fairfax, Loudoun. This is a 55% Democratic district, and Obama got 63% of the vote in 2008. Stevens Miller, a Loudoun County supervisor, is running as a Democrat.
Looking at this list, I don't see any action in the 7th or the 9th, but the other four are real possibilities. So where do we get two more seats?
Let's look for Democratic districts that have Republican Delegates. (I'm using the data in the BC House of Delegates spreadsheet.) In addition to the 42nd, the 52nd and the 86th, you've got Phil Hamilton in the 93rd (52% Democratic, Obama got 62%). I am not aware of any opposition for Hamilton. In addition, you've got some districts with more than 47% Democratic performance -- Danny Marshall in the 14th, Scott Lingamfelter in the 31st, Joe May in the 33rd, Rob Bell in the 58th, and Watkins Abbitt in the 59th. At this point, there is no known opponent for Lingamfelter or Abbitt. Lingamfelter beat Bill Day in 2007 by 55%-45% (a correction from an earlier mistaken post -- thanks for reading!). There is no chance of a solid candidate coming in the 59th; Watkins Abbitt beat a solid candidate, Connie Brennan, 60% to 40% in 2007, and no one seems to have a stomach for it this time.
In the 33rd, Joe May has an announced Democratic opponent -- Mike Turner. I know nothing about Mike Turner. In the 58th, Rob Bell will have a Democratic opponent, Cynthia Neff. Neff has not yet announced, but she has been collecting pledges that will get converted into an impressive amount of cash once she announces in early April.
Then there is one more district that doesn't fit the other patterns -- Bob Marshall's 13th. The 13th is a 43% Democratic District that went for Obama in 2008. But it also went for Marshall by 60% to 40% in 2007. Bob Marshall is a Religious Right extremist, but he is popular in his district.
So my list of the top 6 targets?
#52 -- Jeff Frederick (Prince William County), $11,257 in the bank as of 12/31/08
#86 -- Tom Rust (Loudoun, Fairfax), $38,539 in the bank
#42 -- Dave Albo (Fairfax), $43,710 in the bank
#14 -- Danny Marshall (Danville, Pittsylvania), $17,802 in the bank
#33 -- Joe May (Loudoun, Clarke), $49,473 in the bank
#58 -- Rob Bell (Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Orange), $94,097 in the bank, but with a PAC with $400,000 in the bank
If Lingamfelter got an opponent, I'd add him to the list. He's got $7,718 in the bank.
All 6 (or 7) of these targets are in areas that will be getting the Democratic full-court press -- Northern Virginia, Danville, Albemarle County. They are all in areas where we can expect a well-run campaign, with solid local organizations being boosted by the statewide campaigns.
Anyone have some other thoughts as to who should be on the short list?