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.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

26th Senate District Rundown

Over at NLS he has been doing posts on each Senate district. His newest is the 26th district, currently held by Mark Obenshain. This is my senate district, so I probably know more about this one than any other.
In the post, Ben points to Allen and Kilgore margins being almost identical in Warren and Shenandoah Counties as being reasons this district was one of the few that Webb got a higher % in than Kaine. He points to growth of NOVA commuters as perhaps one of the reasons why.

Essentially I can explain the voting trends in every locale here pretty easily. First off is Harrisonburg city. Like most cities, it is getting more democratic as the more likely GOP voters move into the suburbs. With several high-end subdivisons being built right on the outskirts of HBurg city limits, we are seeing somewhat the same thing happen here. The population that is replacing those GOP voters are mostly hispanic and college students, who don't vote GOP nearly as often as business people and professionals.

This leads to Rockingham County. As those GOP leaning voters move to county, we will probably see Rockingham continue to vote overwhelmingly GOP (Bush got 74.4% in 2004). There really isn't a tremendous amount of growth here yet, other than the city's push and maybe some in Massanutten (which probably leans more dem). The other offset is the rural areas are becoming more and more GOP every cycle in America, and that trend will exist here as well (although less magnitude since its already so GOP anyway).

Next comes Shenandoah County. As precinct data shows, Allen ran behind Kilgore the farther north you go. This is probably due to the influx of NOVA commuters to the Strasburg area. Allen actually ran ahead of Kilgore in the southern part of the county, but lost most of it in the northern part. This follows the trend of the overall suburban vote which I will discuss later.

Warren County has the same effect, only their entire county is basically evenly divided on commuter growth. The rural areas saw a small rise for Allen from Kilgore, but was all but erased in the faster growing areas of the county. Same reasons probably apply here.

Rappahannock County was the lone locale won by Jim Webb in the district. This is largely a trend that will continue due to the county enforcing an ordinance 25 acres to build a house on. It is becoming a super rich area and retirement community for NOVAians, who are voting dem. Even so, growth is basically non-existant here and the county has only 7300 residents which will make it very tough for this area to make much difference going forward.

The last locale is Page County. This county has the dynamics of just about every locale in the district. Its northern end is seeing growth in NOVA retirees and is beginning to trend dem. Conversely, the southern end has become an exurb of Harrisonburg and Charlottesville and is trending mostly GOP. Since growth is still relatively light here, the numbers have not shifted much and maybe not for some time until growth picks up.

Overall the district is still very Republican and probably will stay that way for quite some time. Even so, some of the things we are seeing in my district effect Virginia politics as a whole. I will take a look at that within the next day or so.

4 Comments:

  • At 12/13/2006 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You really don't know much about this area do you?

    Where are you from anyway?

    The following has so many holes in that it's not funny:

    "Essentially I can explain the voting trends in every locale here pretty easily. First off is Harrisonburg city. Like most cities, it is getting more democratic as the more likely GOP voters move into the suburbs. With several high-end subdivisons being built right on the outskirts of HBurg city limits, we are seeing somewhat the same thing happen here. The population that is replacing those GOP voters are mostly hispanic and college students, who don't vote GOP nearly as often as business people and professionals.

    This leads to Rockingham County. As those GOP leaning voters move to county, we will probably see Rockingham continue to vote overwhelmingly GOP (Bush got 74.4% in 2004). There really isn't a tremendous amount of growth here yet, other than the city's push and maybe some in Massanutten (which probably leans more dem). The other offset is the rural areas are becoming more and more GOP every cycle in America, and that trend will exist here as well (although less magnitude since its already so GOP anyway)."

     
  • At 12/13/2006 9:17 PM, Blogger Lowell Fulk said…

    What is taking place here GOPHokie, is several things at once. There are people moving into the area, changing the demographic. But much growth is taking place in the county surrounding the city. We have, just in the past decade, added to Spotswood High School, Turner Ashby High School, built a new Broadway High School, (which is now overflowing to the point where an addition may be needed sooner rather than later) two new elementary schools in addition to gaining another in John C. Myers when the middle school left there to move to the old BHS. We have also added on to each of the four middle schools feeding the county high schools. We are now in the process of planning another county high school and a new elementary school plus several more additions to existing schools.

    In ten years...

    The overwhelming majority of immigrants simply don't qualify to vote, so that isn't really having an effect. College students who vote do so by absentee ballot in their home area, therefore not affecting this area.

    The population is growing, but not to the degree of political change we are seeing.

    What is also taking place GOPHokie, is a paradigm shift. People are looking at things in a more critical manner. We are not far from the point where "I'm a proud republican" simply won't cut the muster as a campaign slogan any longer.

    Growth added to paradigm shift is putting this area in play to such a degree that Allen's team felt they had to campaign heavily here in the Valley in order to protect an area he should have been able to take for granted.

    Times they are a changin'... and in a good way. People should pay attention and hold leadership accountable, from either party, and importantly, from both parties.
    And I see young people playing an ever more active role in shaping the future direction, as they should, and also as you and I spoke of in a conversation this past summer.

     
  • At 12/13/2006 10:10 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    anon, would you like to enlighten me into my "holes" in my write up?
    Lowell, no real disagreements with what you are saying, but the voting trends in Rockingham dont seem to be moving very much, while HBurg is moving dem. I would argue the continuing voter registration drives at colleges everwhere (JMU included) are actually impacting voting around colleges to some extent. Also, alot of younger people are living in HBurg even after they are out of school.

     
  • At 12/20/2006 11:39 AM, Anonymous finnegan said…

    I missed this post last week, but have since subscribed to the feed, so that shouldn't happen again.

    I would have to agree with GOPHokie about Rockingham Co not budging much. H'burg voters are very different from the county voters.

    I had similar thoughts about H'burg after last month's election: http://hburgnews.com/2006/11/08/not-as-conservative-as-youd-think/

     

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