The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is the arm of the Democratic Party that works to elect Democrats to state (and commonwealth) legislatures. This critical, but little noticed, piece of machinery is responsible for tracking election results for a huge number of elections, every year. Because of the sheer number and variety of races involved, it is a lot easier to draw assumptions about electoral trends from these state legislature races than from, say, a single US Senate or House special election. And the trending for Democrats at the state level this year is a lot better than it was in 2010.
In the last three months, we’ve noticed a startling trend: Since March 1st, Democratic candidates have overperformed in almost every similar special election compared to the Democrats who ran in the same districts in 2010.
This is a truly stunning turnaround. The conventional wisdom says that all else being equal (though it never is), a lower-profile election will produce a more Republican electorate. Therefore, a presidential year like 2008 should see better Democratic performance than a midterm like 2010, which in turn should see better Democratic performance than an odd-year special election.
But ever since the radicalism of the GOP’s assault on working families had a chance to sink in nationally, we’ve begun to see the opposite. Democratic special election candidates are now performing about 9.7% better than the Democratic candidates who ran in the exact same districts in 2010. – DLCC
The DLCC analysis goes on to state that the Wisconsin Recall elections will provide a wealth more data to be added to the analysis. Even without the Wisconsin results, an average improvement in 9.7% in special elections is incredible.
I mention this because here in Virginia Democrats seem to write off the House of Delegates. Even some of my favorite Delegate candidates speak of serving in the minority in Richmond. But by my estimation, there are no fewer than twelve seats in the House of Delegates that would have been flipped from Republican to Democrat in 2009, if the Democrat had won 9.7% more of the vote. That would have easily flipped control of the House of Delegates from Republicans to Democrats. And this is before Redistricting – Redistricting which has added even more seats from Democratic Northern Virginia.
The first step towards winning a majority is starting from the belief that you can (though not necessarily will) win a majority. The analysis from the DLCC shows that there may be a wind at the backs of Democratic state legislative candidates, a wind that will blow into November for us here in Virginia. So let’s start talking like we’re going to win, because we can, and we should, and if we work hard enough to make it happen, we will.