According to CQ Politics, two more congressional seats in Virginia are in reach for Democrats:
The residents of Virginia’s most populous city are in the middle of a storm of political activity. John McCain and Sarah Palin will be here Monday to rally support for the Republican presidential ticket, which is struggling to keep Virginia in the GOP column against the surging Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Virginia Beach is also the epicenter of a highly competitive House race. Republican Rep. Thelma Drake is opposed in her bid for a third term by Democrat Glenn Nye, who has worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and other global hot spots for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Drake was nearly defeated in 2006 — when the Democrats made a net gain of 30 House seats nationwide — by Democrat Phil Kellam, a politically experienced local officeholder in Virginia Beach. This year, Democrats are going in a different direction with Nye, who is seeking political office for the first time.
CQ Politics gives Drake the edge but foresees a close race, which is why we are changing the race rating to the more competitive Leans Republican from the mildly competitive Republican Favored.
Nye is seeking to overcome the historic Republican orientation of the 2nd District, which has a large military influence. Along with all of Virginia Beach, the district takes in part of Norfolk, a Democratic-leaning area adjacent to Virginia Beach that is the hometown of both candidates; part of Hampton, which is located on the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula; and the two counties that form Virginia’s Eastern Shore. About 70 percent of the vote comes out of Virginia Beach. President Bush took 58 percent of the district vote in the 2004 election, when Drake was first elected with 55 percent of the vote.
Though he’s a Democrat, Nye often plays down his party affiliation and emphasizes bipartisan-minded solutions to the nation’s problems.
“People are looking for results-driven, bipartisan leadership, which is why my candidacy resonates so well,” Nye said during a breakfast interview. “Focus on practical problem-solving and completely taking the emphasis off of party politics and party allegiances.”
From time to time, Nye invokes the name of Mark Warner, a popular former Virginia governor who is a shoo-in to win a Senate seat on Nov. 4, when he and Nye will be sharing a ballot. Warner worked with some members of a Republican-run legislature to close a budget gap in Virginia, and he still has strong approval ratings nearly three years after he left the governorship in January 2006.
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