It is a long accepted rule in modern day American politics that low turnout and bad weather on Election Day is bad news for Democrats. Republicans know this. Even Democrats know this. For a very long time I was a Democrat working on campaigns and on the Hill and Democrats have long admired and envied the dedication and enthusiasm of the Republican base in non-Presidential elections.
The special election for the 34th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates was on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. Turnout was anticipated to be and was indeed low. There was also a freak snowstorm.
All this should spell doom for the Democrat Kathleen Murphy against the Republican Craig Parisot in a toss-up district, correct?
Except it didn’t. Kathleen Murphy defeated Craig Parisot 51% – 48%. What was even more telling was that Murphy only lost to Parisot by 3 votes in Loudoun County, which was expected to carry the day for Parisot.
Are Democrats poised to make significant gains in Virginia in 2015 after capturing all statewide offices in 2013? Set aside the Obama for America machine and the DPVA infrastructure is weak outside of Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax which is why the Democratic takeover of Virginia did not happen sooner despite having the numbers. Does that fact that Kathleen Murphy came within 3 votes of capturing Loudoun County with an almost nonexistent Loudoun County Democratic Committee mean that the demographic tidal wave has swept Virginia in such a way as to mitigate the DPVA’s ineptitude outside of the big 3 jurisdictions? If low turnout and bad weather hurts Democrats as both parties would agree, does Kathleen Murphy’s victory in a toss-up district bode well for Democrats in the 2015 general election where turnout is expected to be higher?
Provided that they address issues concerning their weak party infrastructure, look for Democrats to pick up 3 seats in the House of Delegates and 1 seat in the State Senate in Northern Virginia this year. Also, look for an end to one party rule of the Republicans on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.