You’ll recall we’ve posted about how the coalfields have undergone a dramatic realignment, turning from a Democratic stronghold into what this year was a Republican one.
So here’s another thought coming out of that: Does that mean Rick Boucher will turn out to be the last Democratic congressman from Southwest Virginia?
It’s not that I’m preparing to install Republican Morgan Griffith as congressman-for-life, mind you, but just looking at the electoral realities. It used to be, Democrats could win the 9th District by rolling up big majorities in the coalfields, augmented by slimmer majorities in Radford and Montgomery County. Radford and Montgomery County are still quite possible for the Democrats (Radford went for Obama in 2008 and this year; Montgomery County went for Obama in 2008 and then was narrowly carried by Romney this year.)
But as the district expands geographically, it’s picking up more Republican areas (most recently in Salem and parts of Roanoke County). So where will Democrats get the votes — especially if the coalfields are no longer a supplier of big Democratic majorities, or, in fact, any Democratic majority? Put another way, what kind of Democrat would it take to win the 9th District as currently configured? And what kind of special circumstances? Are either of those realistically possible?
– Dwayne Yancey