6th: Anne Crockett-Stark vs. Carole Pratt (Bland, Giles, Pulaski, Tazewell, Wythe)
Anne Crockett-Stark picked up this seat in 2005, then failed to increase her margin much in 2007, winning 54-46 then 56-44. Challenger Carole Pratt was a last-minute fill-in, but her campaign is incredibly energetic, having more than doubled Crockett-Stark's cash on hand and wrested the Virginia Education Association endorsement from her. The district is fairly Republican but is sympathetic to the right Democrat -- Deeds only lost the district 55-45 in 2005, whereas Obama lost it 61-37.
7th: Dave Nutter vs. Peggy Frank (Montgomery, Pulaski, Radford)
Nutter won 53-47 over Peggy Frank in 2007, and she's come back for a rematch. There hasn't been much news out of this race, and it will probably come down to the margin at the top of the ticket; if Deeds wins or makes it close (he got 48% here in 2005), Frank will have a much higher chance of winning than if Deeds loses by a significant margin.
13th: Bob Marshall vs. John Bell (Loudoun, Prince William)
Bob Marshall is a far-right culture warrior in a rapidly-expanding exurban district (it has twice as many registered voters as most other House districts and narrowly voted for Obama last year after supporting Republicans in the past). He trounced Bruce Roemmelt in 2005 and 2007, but Air Force vet John Bell looks to be a stronger challenger, having outraised Marshall 2-1, although his high burn rate gives Marshall a slight cash advantage, and Marshall is very good at holding this seat without spending a lot of money.
14th: Danny Marshall vs. Seward Anderson (Danville, Henry, Pittsylvania)
Danny Marshall narrowly held off Adam Tomer in 2007 52-48, and faces another strong challenger this time, former Danville Mayor Seward Anderson. The problem for Anderson is winning enough of the vote in Pittsylvania; Marshall narrowly lost Danville last time but won an overwhelming 63% in Pittsylvania to hold on. The district is swingy, voting for Deeds, Kaine, and Obama while also voting for Allen and Bolling, and Allen was the only one to hit 54% in the district. Marshall has rocketed to a 2-1 cash on hand advantage over Anderson as of September, so Anderson has some ground to make up in the last two months of the campaign.
17th: open (William Fralin retiring); Bill Cleaveland vs. Gwen Mason (Botetourt, Roanoke County, Roanoke City)
This is an open seat, the only reason this seat is a target, as it's a pretty solidly Republican district (although Kaine did get 47% there). Democrat Gwen Mason, a member of the Roanoke City Council, was able to sit back and accrue a war chest as five Republicans battled it out for the nomination, in which attorney Bill Cleaveland emerged as the Republican victor. Cleaveland doesn't seem to have much of a base in the district -- he lives in Botetourt, the smallest part of the district, although his practice is in the City of Roanoke. His post-primary fundraising is also sputtering, aside from a large infusion of cash from retiring Fralin.
42nd: Dave Albo vs. Greg Werkheiser (Fairfax)
Dave Albo is notorious for being the driving force (no pun intended) behind the incredibly-unpopular abusive driving fees that were passed in 2007 and summarily repealed the next year. Greg Werkheiser, Albo's 2005 opponent who came within a few percent of beating Albo, is running again. Albo has realized the peril he's in and pumped a bunch of PAC money into his account. There doesn't seem to be a special interest around that he won't take money from, and it's given him a 2-1 cash advantage over Werkheiser.
52nd: open (Jeff Frederick retiring); Rafael Lopez vs. Luke Torian (Prince William)
Jeff Frederick, ostracized by his party, is retiring, so the Republican nominee is Rafael Lopez. Frederick's wife Amy had filed for the Republican nomination but withdrew before the primary. Democrats chose pastor Luke Torian in the primary, who will likely cruise to victory in November. This district was won by Obama 63-36 -- not fertile ground for a Republican hold in the best of circumstances.
58th: Robert Bell vs. Cynthia Neff (Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Orange)
Another masterful Republican gerrymander, this district is basically a New Jersey-shaped wedge around Charlottesville that has an ever-so-slight Republican lean. Bell faces a challenge from Cynthia Neff, a retired IBM executive, but get this -- Bell has over $500,000 on hand. Not a typo, half a million dollars. I guess he's been wanting to run statewide for a while. Neff is going to have to go a long way to make up for this financial disadvantage.
73rd: John O'Bannon vs. Thomas Shields (Henrico, Richmond City)
Suburban Richmond is home to John O'Bannon, who has $175,000 in the bank and is being challenged by college professor Thomas Shields. Shields has a lot of catching up to do to match O'Bannon's fundraising. This is actually the first time a Democrat has bothered to run against O'Bannon, who succeeded Eric Cantor following his election to Congress in 2000. The district is one of many in the Commonwealth that is moving towards the center after being Republican-leaning for a while.
82nd: Bob Purkey vs. Peter Schmidt vs. John Parmele (Virginia Beach)
Purkey, a former Wall Street broker, sleepwalks through one campaign after another. His first serious opponent in years is Republican-turned-Democrat Peter Schmidt, who challenged Purkey in the Republican primary in 2005. Schmidt's profile as a moderate former Republican could be a boon in his bid, but he will be fighting the heavy Republican lean in this district -- 60-40 for both McDonnell in 2005 and McCain last year. Independent John Parmele, who lost 71-29 to Purkey in a two-way race in 2005, will be the third option on the ballot.
86th: Tom Rust vs. Stevens Miller (Fairfax, Loudoun)
Rust's first serious challenge came in 2007, when he was held to 53% by Jay Donohue. The district has made a sharp left turn to the Democrats, voting 62% for Obama in 2008. Rust is being challenged this time by Loudoun County Supervisor Stevens Miller. Miller's geographic location may help, as in 2007 Rust only narrowly won the Fairfax part of the district but dominated the Loudoun portion 55-45. If anything saves Rust, it's his large cash on hand advantage over Miller.
93rd: Phil Hamilton vs. Robin Abbott (James City, Newport News)
Hamilton represents a Democratic district that has only gotten stronger in recent years, but hasn't faced an opponent since 1995. Now he's going up against attorney Robin Abbott. Like Albo, Hamilton has sensed danger and is suckling at the teat for PAC money. Hamilton has run into quite a bit of trouble about a job he was given by Old Dominion University that sprung from an appropriation he made for the school, particularly lying about not having any communication with them about it. He's resisted calls to resign, but it seems that the wheels are coming off his campaign; donations continue to roll into his campaign, though, mostly from his fellow Republican Delegates. He retains a 2-1 cash advantage over Abbott, so he's not going down without a fight, but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to buy his way out of the hole he's dug himself into. I'm leaning towards "no", personally.
94th: Glenn Oder vs. Gary West (Newport News)
Oder is yet another Republican in a slightly Republican-leaning district, although it was won by Obama last year. He hasn't faced a Democrat since he defeated John Miller (now a State Senator) 54-46 when he was first elected to the House in 2001. This year he is challenged by attorney Gary West, who is running a spirited campaign but faces an uphill fight against the district's Republican lean in the off-year; although it barely went for Kaine in 2005, it supported McDonnell by an 8-point margin. West's fundraising has lagged; as of September he has only $22,000 in the bank compared to Oder's $78,000.
3rd: Dan Bowling vs. James Morefield (Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell)
This is a fairly swingy district that went 59-40 for McCain while supporting both Webb and Deeds in previous years. Bowling will find Deeds a boon at the top of the ticket, and his opponent, James Morefield, trails Bowling in fundraising (although Morefield is being propped up by in-kinds), but it's still one to watch.
21st: Bobby Mathieson vs. Ron Villanueva (Virginia Beach)
Mathieson trounced incumbent Republican John Welch in 2007, but this time he faces Ron Villanueva, a member of the Virginia Beach City Council, who has twice been elected citywide. There is a small but significant Filipino community in Virginia Beach which Villanueva might be able to appeal to, and this is Bob McDonnell's home turf, definitely a boon for any Republican running here. However, working against the Republicans is the fact that this is the most Democratic House district in the city (although still won by McDonnell in 2005), and Villanueva's fundraising has lagged behind Mathieson's so far. Mathieson may be hindered by the news in September that one of his campaign aides had embezzled campaign funds.
23rd: Shannon Valentine vs. Scott Garrett (Amherst, Lynchburg)
Valentine won the seat in a 2006 special election and was unopposed in 2007, but this year she will face Lynchburg City Councilman Scott Garrett, who won the June primary. Garrett apparently blew his wad in the primary -- after spending $115,000 on a 54-46 primary win, he's now seriously trailing Shannon Valentine in money. Valentine is sitting pretty with $225,000, whereas Garrett has only $32,000 on hand.
32nd: David Poisson vs. Tag Greason (Loudoun)
Poisson underperformed in 2007 after defeating Dick Black in 2005, but his 2009 opponent, Tag Greason, doesn't seem to be up to the challenge, as Poisson holds a 3-1 cash advantage as of September. This is a swing district with a slight Democratic lean.
34th: Margi Vanderhye vs. Barbara Comstock (Fairfax)
When longtime incumbent Vince Callahan retired in 2007, this was considered an easy pickup. He was the last Republican from inside the beltway in the House of Delegates, and the district was won by every Democrat from John Kerry forward. However, Margi Vanderhye only managed a 3% victory. She's being challenged by Barbara Comstock, a much more conservative Republican than the moderate Callahan. This race is one of the most expensive House races of 2009, with Comstock having raised over $300,000 and Vanderhye having raised $235,000; Vanderhye has been more judicious in her expenditures, though, and trails by only $158,000 to $132,000 cash on hand as of September.
44th: open (Kris Amundson retiring); Scott Surovell vs. Jay McConville vs. Glenda Gail Parker (Fairfax)
Admunson retired in late June, giving the Republicans a leg up with a decent fundraiser, Jay McConville, but the substitute candidate, Fairfax County Democratic party chair Scott Surovell, took no time catching up, raising $80,000 in eight days, and he remains ahead in the money race as of September. In addition, the district is pretty Democratic, which helps Surovell's chances. The third candidate in the race is our favorite light rail-supporting perennial candidate, Glenda Gail Parker of the Indy Greens.
51st: Paul Nichols vs. Richard Anderson (Prince William)
Nichols picked up this seat from retiring Republican Michele McQuigg in 2007 against a pretty lame opponent, but similar to Vanderhye, only won by about 4%. He's facing Richard Anderson in November. Nichols loaned himself $100k to get a leg up on Anderson; he's since repaid half those loans and still remains far ahead of Anderson in cash on hand.
64th: Bill Barlow vs. Stan Clark vs. Albert Burckard Jr. (Franklin City, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry, Williamsburg)
Barlow is a longtime incumbent who has been winning with shrinking margins over the years, from 65-32 in 1999 to just 54-45 in 2005, his last contested election. The Republicans have chosen Isle of Wight County Supervisor Stan Clark to face off against him, and Independent Green Albert Burckard Jr., who also ran in 2005, will also be on the ballot. Barlow is far ahead in money coming into the home stretch, but Clark may be able to cut into Barlow's base in Isle of Wight.
67th: Chuck Caputo vs. Jim LeMunyon (Fairfax, Loudoun)
Chuck Caputo easily defeated wingnut Chris Craddock to win an open Republican seat in 2005, then nearly lost the seat in 2007, winning only 53-47 against Marc Cadin. Now he will face another challenge, this time from entrepreneur Jim LeMunyon. Caputo currently leads LeMunyon 2-1 in cash on hand (who has had to loan himself $20,000 to try to keep up), which, if 2007 is any indicator, is about what he needs to win again. However, he probably won't be winning by a large margin.
83rd: Joe Bouchard vs. Chris Stolle (Virginia Beach)
Retired Navy Commander Joe Bouchard defeated Chris Stolle, brother of State Sen. Ken Stolle, by a mere 131 votes in 2007. Stolle has come back for a rematch, but can't depend on his brother's help this time, as Ken is busy running for Virginia Beach Sheriff. Stolle's fundraising hasn't been able to keep up with Bouchard, but working in his favor is that he'll be running downticket from Bob McDonnell, who won the district by 10 points in 2005.
87th: Paula Miller vs. John Amiral (Norfolk)
Miller picked up Thelma Drake's House of Delegates seat in a 2004 special election, winning by a 97-vote margin over Michael Ball. She won against Ball again in 2005, that time by a 50-38 margin, with Republican-running-as-Independent John Coggeshall picking up the remaining 12 percent. In 2007, she defeated retired Vice Admiral Hank Giffin by a 54-46 margin (and keep in mind, this district includes a lot of the area near Norfolk Naval Station). This may be her easiest fight yet, against another Navy vet, John Amiral, but her fundraising is pretty anemic so far. Although Obama cleaned up here in 2008, this is a swing district in off-years, and has enough recent high-end residential development to keep any Democrat wary.
One More to Watch
91st: Tom Gear vs. Gordon Helsel vs. Sam Eure (Hampton, Poquoson, York)
This won't cause a change in the House of Delegates, but I thought it was an interesting race nonetheless. Gear is being challenged by Democrat Sam Eure (who has raised nearly no money and his last campaign was for York County Board of Superviors -- he lost by 15 percent) and Republican-turned-Independent Gordon Helsel, the Mayor of Poquoson, who is outraising Gear by about 2-1. The district is about 50-50 split between Hampton and Poquoson/York, and each locality has their own candidate -- Gear from Hampton, Helsel from Poquoson, and Eure from York. Gear, however, performed weakest in Hampton the last time he was opposed, against an independent in 2005. He only won Hampton 57-42, whereas he won Poquoson and York with over 60%. It will be interesting to see how this race plays out.
Dropped from the List
26th: Matt Lohr vs. Gene Hart (Harrisonburg, Rockingham)
Lohr was elected 54-46 in 2005 against Lowell Fulk (not to be confused with blogger Lowell Feld), and faced only an independent in 2007. Harrisonburg attorney Gene Hart is taking a swing at it this time. Though he seems to be running a spirited campaign, his fundraising just doesn't look strong enough to make it a close race in a district that's this tough -- blood-red Rockingham County didn't even go for Warner in 2008.
35th: open (Steve Shannon retiring); Mark Keam vs. James Hyland (Fairfax)
Steve Shannon, of course, is the Democratic nominee for Attorney General. Republican James Hyland, a former chair of the Fairfax County Republican Party who lost 60-40 to Shannon in 2005, had a clear path to the nomination; Democrats overwhelmingly chose Mark Keam, an attorney who worked on Barack Obama's Virginia campaign, in the four-way primary. Keam is a fundraising machine, and will leave Hyland in the dust by November.
50th: Jackson Miller vs. Jeanette Rishell (Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William)
Rishell has run for this seat twice before and lost twice, first 53-47 in a 2006 special election, then by 61-39 in 2007. This is a swing district, and Rishell is good at raising money, but that's about it. Her campaign has been ineptly run, possibly since her campaign manager has been involved in a scandal and keeps making gaffes.