The Impact of an All NOVA Democratic Ticket This Fall

Jun 9, 2021

Democrats are heading into the fall campaign cycle with a ticket full of northern Virginia candidates.

Now that Democrats have their candidates for the fall election, Republicans are boasting that they have the most diverse statewide ticket in Virginia history. The GOP ticket includes candidates from Hampton Roads and northern Virginia, as well as a Black woman and a son of Cuban immigrants.

But David Ramadan at George Mason University's Schar School says Republicans have lost the ability to invoke identity politics.

"That would sell if the Republicans were not selling white supremacy and were not selling white nationalism," Ramadan says. "Minorities are not going to vote for Republicans period because of what they saw in the last 10 years."

Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett says Democrats will be facing a problem for the rest of the election cycle. Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala and Mark Herring are all from northern Virginia.

"Typically statewide elections tend to be determined in Hampton Roads, and Republicans have one candidate from Hampton Roads but all three have ties to Hampton Roads," Tribbett explains. "And so, they have more geographic balance. I think that's more important than the other diversity that the Republicans are trying to highlight."

Some Democrats say they're worried that Republicans can go across the state and brand them as the party of northern Virginia; potentially costing them votes in key parts of the state. On the other hand, northern Virginia’s huge population is increasingly influential in elections.

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