Can a Democrat Win In the 5th?
Larry Sabato doesn’t think so. The 5th is the largest congressional district in Virginia and with additional gerrymandering by the Republican legislature in 2011 it leans heavily to rural Republican voters. The courts have struck down some districts as “racial gerrymandering” but have not addressed the question of urban vs rural voters.
Leslie Cockburn won Charlottesville City, Albemarle, & Prince Edward and came close in Fluvanna & Nelson, but lost by a wide margins in the rest of the locations–the rural vote.
This urban-rural split is seen throughout the nation. In the Senate races the Democrats received 12 million more votes and in the House races about 4 million more votes. The Republicans kept the Senate largely because of the rural vote. But the Democrats might still make additional gains because 9 House races have still not been decided and the Democrats lead in most of them and there is still the Senate race in Florida.
If Democrats can’t win even if most voters, overall, support Democratic candidates, what is to be done? In Virginia help on the way in the form of the 2019 election for the Virginia Assembly and Senate. Right now, the Republicans hold a slim majority. By supporting Virginia Democrats next year we can become the majority in state government and when redistricting comes around in 2020/2021 we can restore some balance to the 5th.