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The Road Ahead: 2011 Virginia Elections May Foreshadow 2012 Results The Road Ahead: 2011 Virginia Elections May Foreshadow 2012 Results

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Politics

The Road Ahead: 2011 Virginia Elections May Foreshadow 2012 Results

October 28, 2010

Their statewide losses look to be replicated with the 2010 electorate - all three of the freshmen are in trouble, as is longtime Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.).
In the state House of Delegates, Republicans lost two seats in 2009 but picked up eight for a net gain of 6 seats. Of their losses, one was an open seat in a Democratic-leaning area of Northern Virginia and the other featured a scandal-plagued incumbent in Hampton Roads.

All 100 members of the House of Delegates and 40 members of the state Senate are up next year. House members are up every 2 years; Senators are up every 4. Republicans likely maxed out in 2009 in the state's lower chamber, which means the real fight will be in the state Senate.

Democrats expanded their majority to in the upper chamber to four seats in January when then-Del. Dave Marsden (D), a former Republican, picked up Cuccinelli's former seat. A Democrat won the subsequent special election to hold Marsden's vacant delegate seat.

Redistricting will certainly influence the electoral outlook, especially in burgeoning Northern Virginia. Expect Fairfax County, the commonwealth's most populous locality, to be one battleground when the lines are being redrawn, as Democrats have flipped three state Senate seats there since 2007. Next door in Prince William County, the dean of the upper chamber Chuck Colgan (D), who represents an otherwise-GOP-heavy district, is set to retire, creating potentially solid GOP pick up opportunity.

And in at least one area, the 2010 election may preview 2011. If Boucher is caught up in the GOP wave this year, there are a trio of state Senate Democrats within his southwestern district that may have reason for alarm, including Sens. John Edwards (D), Philip Puckett (D) and Roscoe Reynolds (D). While each has served in the upper chamber since the '90s, Boucher's 27 years of incumbency dwarfs all of them. A Boucher loss would suggest that no Democratic incumbent, even those without scandal, is safe in GOP-leaning areas if their voting records don't line up right in the eyes of the voters.
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