Future of the House of Delegates
I tend to somewhat agree with this sentiment, but also have some caution for GOPs. First off, the bleeding must be curtailed in NOVA or we could be in deep trouble. Fairfax seats such as Dave Albo, Vince Callahan, Tom Rust, and Tim Hugo continue to decline in GOP strength and will become increasingly hard to defend, especially as incumbents retire. I do not believe Loudoun and PWC are turning as democratic as some may think, but they may become harder to defend in total (before this election Loudoun's entire House delegation was GOP, now its 2 of each). Areas such as these will become harder and harder to keep locked up, although I believe a majority of each of these delgations will stay GOP.
Population plays another role. Most of the population growth is in NOVA, so their number of seats will continue to rise as the rest of the state declines. If we cannot secure newly drawn seats in 2011, we will undoubtably lose overall majority strength by virtue of new districts replacing likely GOP districts downstate. I have heard NOVA will gain as many as 5 Delegate seats in the next round of redistricting. There are some other possible seat changes on the horizon as well.
Here is my list of likely and/or potentional party changes in seats outside of NOVA in the next 2 or 3 election cycles:
John Johnson's (D) 4th in SWVA will go GOP upon his retirement
Ward Armstrong's (D) 10th in SWVA will go GOP upon his retirement
Lacey Putney's (I) 19th in the Valley will go GOP upon his retirement
Shannon Valentine's (D) 23rd in Lynchburg is still winnable by the GOP
Rob Bell's (R) 58th in Albemarle will depend on the way his district is redrawn
Watkins Abbitt's (I) 59th will likely be broken up after 2011 if he retires
Katherine Waddell's (I) 68th in Metro Richmond is still winnable by the GOP
If the GOP swept these 5 seats and was even able to defend the 58th, that would give the Republicans 62 seats. Even so, if we were to lose the 4 Fairfax seats and all 5 newly created NOVA seats, that would leave us with only 53. If other NOVA seats like May, Parrish, McQuigg, Frederick and Marshall were lost, we would lose the majority.
This all brings us back to the fact that in order to retain the majority after redistricting, the GOP must stop losing seats in NOVA. We will have a semi built-in advantage everywhere else, but we cannot continue to get crushed in the suburbs of D.C. In order to do this, we need more candidates that are about getting things done and fixing problems of concern to their constituents; not grandstanding. If we are going to win in NOVA, we need to have transportation and growth solutions. If we can do that, I believe the democrats will have almost no chance of regaining the House majority.