Is Virginia's 5th Congressional Race "Competitive?"

17 hours ago

How many competitive congressional races does Virginia have this year. Three? Perhaps four?

When Congressman Tom Garrett announced he would not seek reelection back in May, Democrats were excited they might be able to pick up an open seat. But now, five months later, the 5th Congressional District hasn’t drawn nearly as much money or attention as three other competitive races in Virginia.

“I wouldn’t say Democrats have given up on the Fifth because I don’t know that they’ve ever gone in heavily on the Fifth.”

That’s Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University. He’s director of the Wason Center for Public Policy, which rates the race as a toss-up.

“I don’t know that they’ve ever gone in with both feet like the DCCC has in the 2nd Congressional District race of the 7th or the 10th. So I would hesitate to say that they’ve either pulled out or that they’re pulling back because I don’t know that they’ve ever went in full force like that.”

President Trump won the district with 53 percent of the vote in 2016. And Republican Ed Gillespie took 54 percent of the vote here during last year’s election for governor. Kyle Kondik is managing editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at UVA, which rates this race as leans Republican.

“I think the combination of the lack of outside involvement and also the district being more Republican leaning on paper than the other three competitive ones in Virginia make me think that the Republicans remain favored in this district.”

The race features Republican Denver Riggleman, who briefly ran for governor last year but dropped out of the primary and Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a first-time candidate.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.