Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Keys to the Election - 9th District

In addition to the Roanoke Metro area, Southwest Virginia's 9th congressional district has become another area that seems to hold the key to a statewide election here in Virginia. This is yet another area that can and has been won by both the GOP and democrats in recent elections. While the 9th does not always predict the statewide winner, it is still a very valuable part of the electoral map of Virginia.
Here are the past results for the 9th and (statewide):
'05 Gov: Kilgore - 55.3%, Kaine - 43.1%; (46-51.7)
'05 LG: Bolling - 56.9%, Byrne - 43%; (50.5-49.3)
'05 AG: McDonnell - 52.5%, Deeds - 47.8%; (50-50)
'04 Pres: Bush - 59.5%, Kerry - 39.3%; (53.7-45.4)
'01 Gov: Earley - 46.8%, Warner - 52.3%; (47-52.1)
'01 LG: Katzen - 49.1%, Kaine - 48.8%; (48-50.4)
'00 Pres: Bush - 54.5%, Gore - 42.4%; (52.5-44.4)
'00 Sen: Allen - 56.6%, Robb - 43.4%; (52.2-47.7)
'97 Gov: Gilmore - 57.1%, Beyer - 40.9%; (55.8-42.6)
'97 LG: Hager - 50.7%, Payne - 44.1%; (50.2-45.1)
'97 AG: Earley - 55.6%, Dolan - 44.4; (57.5-42.4)
'96 Pres: Dole - 42.6%, Clinton - 45.6%; (51.1-48.9)
'96 Sen: John Warner - 44.5%, M Warner - 55.5%; (52.6-47.4)

(Keep in mind the district changed after 2001 which made the 9th a tad bit more GOP leaning.)

As you can see, the GOP has moved from a time where they could lose the 9th by a considerable margin and still win; to now a situation where it seems almost imperative that they carry the 9th.
Since 1996, many things have happened. First, the GOP was winning Fairfax County in 1996 and getting huge margins in places like Henrico and Loudoun; where they now are lucky to break 52%. Because of this shift, the rural areas of the state like SWVA have become much more important to the GOP strategy. Even though the 2005 election may not be the best indicator of these suburban trends, few disagree that the GOP will have a tough time holding their Bush '04 margins in most suburban areas going forward.

Also, the 9th is an area that is actually becoming more Republican contrary to the rest of the state. In areas like Tazewell and Russell counties, coal mining unions have lost some of their political clout in the area and both of those counties broke for the GOP in the past 2 elections. The rest of the area is largely Republican anyway, but the margins are holding, which is a good sign for the GOP here.

As it appears, the GOP almost has to win the 9th in order to win a statewide election. That being the case, it gives the dems a great opportunity. If they can run candidates who perform well in areas like Roanoke and the 9th district, it then forces the GOP to have to run strong in the traditional GOP strongholds where our numbers are shrinking. That folks, is a recipe for democratic victory in Virginia.

Make no mistake, SWVA cannot come close to offsetting the vote rich suburban areas forever. The bleeding has to be stemed is those parts of the state in order to prevent Virginia from "turning blue". Even so, SWVA may hold the key to at least postponing that color change for a few more elections if nothing else. As for right now, the 9th district is still a major player in the electoral map of Virginia.

11 Comments:

  • At 7/25/2006 8:28 AM, Blogger Mason said…

    You hit on it in the last paragraph. SW is not where the votes are in the long-term. It doesn't take a genius to realize that it is not a good long-term strategy for the RPV to continue to try to make enough votes in areas of the state that are losing population to make up for large losses in areas of the state that are gaining population.

    The tough question that the Republican party doesn't want to ask is how do they change their agenda to attract more Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads voters? They're not going to like the answers but they're going to like being in the minority even less.

     
  • At 7/25/2006 10:45 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Exactly.

     
  • At 7/27/2006 9:39 AM, Anonymous William B. Blunt said…

    This is all interesting stuff! I have a seperate question for ya. GOP in April you had a post about the Commissioner of Agriculture and who would be appointed, but that post was removed from your site. Why? I see Kaine hasn't considered agriculture in the State important enough to take care of this position. I also see where he did see fit however,to appoint a big time Democratic Fundraiser (Sada L. Shami) who is also a founder of an Arab American PAC to be Deputy Commissioner of Ag., but yet has not appointed a Commissioner. Comments?

     
  • At 7/27/2006 3:36 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Its not clear whether that appointment will happen.
    May guess is it will, but it will probably have to jump through a few more hoops since I think the current commissioner has not resigned/retired yet.

     
  • At 7/28/2006 7:41 AM, Anonymous william b. blunt said…

    Not clear on whether it will happen? Hoops? There are no hoops, other than Kaine deciding if the industry of agriculture is important enough to warrant a good choice for the commissioner position. Those positions are over when a new Governor comes in, and is up to that new Governor to reappoint or appoint a new person. Kaine has reappointed or appointed new Commissioners in every other Department, as well as the State Forester. He has loaded the Natural Resources Secretariat with persons from every enviromental group in the State. There is no person with any ag industry background in a position of substance in his adminstration, which only backs my belief he does not care about the number one industry in the State. My grandfather farmed as well as my father in the Northern Neck of Virginia, things look bleak and we need new leadership with a fresh perspective.

     
  • At 7/28/2006 10:11 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Well the current Commissioner I am told has been there since Gilmore, but I dont know if that is accurate or not.
    As to whether Kaine cares about agriculture, I really have no idea. I have not kept up with his ag appointments so far.

     
  • At 7/31/2006 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Doesn't he still have Bob Bloxom over there?

     
  • At 7/31/2006 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Bob Bloxom is the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. Nice guy, but no real experience other than serving on the House Ag Committee many years ago. Even so, Kaine has already appointed the State Forester, which is the same level as Commissioner of Agriculture, the other agency under the Secretary's post. I agree with William B, we need some one strong, and not another politician or wanna be. I am shocked about the Deputy position William mentions above. These aren't Board appointments that can thrown to Campaign givers, these are positions that can make or break programs that are much needed for rural areas and consumers. Whether this is the forum or not, it is interesting and sad at the same time.

     
  • At 8/01/2006 8:08 AM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Well unfortunately most appointments, not just Boards, are politically motivated in some shape or form.

     
  • At 8/01/2006 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    anon 7/28 8:41,

    Where in NNK is your family from?

     
  • At 8/01/2006 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, this line of post has been enlightening. GOP, we shouldn't stand for such appointments to be taken as the standard, we should demand good people with proven track records. Do you want some goof ball to be appointed head of education? How about the State Police, or something else? I think the above comments warrant concern.

     

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