Special Virginia Elections on January 10

House District 85 – Turn Out The Lights, This Party’s Over

Rocky Holcomb is heavily favored to replace U.S. House Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA/D2) in Virginia Beach’s 85th District. His Democratic challenger, Cheryl Turpin, although running a spirited campaign, is grossly underfunded in a solidly GOP district. Holcomb is running a risk-free say nothing controversial-just turn out my vote base-and get to Richmond campaign. Wake me up when it’s over.

Senate District 9 – Snooze Fest: Jen McClellan Mails It In

House member Jennifer McClellan – a rising star of the VA Dems — is the overwhelming favorite to win U.S. House Rep. Don McEachin’s (D-VA/4) old state senate seat. Her ballot opponent is colorful Libertarian candidate Corey M. Fauchonier. This is another snooze fest.  Mail it in, Jen.

The Godfather Lurks: Senate District 22 – Toss up

Now it gets interesting. Saslaw’s been much too quiet these days. Makes me wonder.

The former state senate district occupant, U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA/5) is going to Washington, D.C.

A Democratic upset here flips the state senate to The Godfather, and makes State Senator Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) the majority leader. On paper, this should be an easy win for GOP nominee Mark Peake, who routed former Goochland Supervisor Ken Peterson in a December district convention.

Garrret and Trump carried the district handily five weeks ago.

But the Democrats have managed to wage a competitive race and have fielded a very viable candidate, former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington.

Washington appeared on our show yesterday. Click here to listen to #JFRS on-demand. To add Republican insult to injury, Joe Hines, director of economic development at a local engineering firm, is running as a self proclaimed “independent conservative” and could cut into Peake’s GOP vote margin. Combine that with Democratic enthusiasm in the first post Trump election that matters, and this could be a barnburner.

Hines is for real. This is not some gadfly candidate who filed signatures. Hines, a Duke graduate, is a serious contender running a viable campaign. He isn’t likely to win, but he can change the outcome.

If Hines gets 12-15 percent of the vote, Washington wins and The Godfather takes over the state senate.

Some Republicans in the district I’ve talked to are taking this race much too lighlty. It could bite them.