Voters are only weeks away from selecting General Assembly candidates in the June primaries. And Republicans are fielding the smallest number of candidates for House of Delegates races in more than a decade.
The House of Delegates has 100 seats, but Republicans are running only 81 candidates this year. That’s the smallest number in recent memory. Certainly it’s much smaller than the 115 candidates Democrats are running in primaries for House of Delegates seats this year. Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says it’s a direct result of uneasiness over President Trump.
“It has really discouraged some Republicans, particularly in districts that might be more competitive, from signing up for another term or choosing to run.”
56 House races are contested, and that’s the highest number since 2009. Republican strategist Dan Scandling says the GOP is certain to lose seats. But, he says, Republicans are not expecting Democrats to make major gains.
“I think they are concerned that some of their delegates may get plucked off in some areas, but I don’t think there can be a big enough to be a wave election. The districts aren’t drawn that way.”
Here’s one way to look at the imbalance: 51 Democrats are running against incumbent Republicans, but only four Republicans are running against incumbent Democrats.