Richmond, VA - This weekend, CNN recognized the momentum of Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) and Elaine Luria (VA-02), upgrading their likelihood of unseating Republican Congressmen Dave Brat and Scott Taylor. Recent ratings shifts toward Virginia Democrats by CNN, Cook Political Report, and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball all show the strong Virginia Democratic momentum heading into November's election.
By Terence Burlij, CNN
VA-02: It's safe to say Scott Taylor's second campaign will be harder than his first, when he defeated a poorly-financed Democratic opponent by 22 points. This year he's running against Elaine Luria, a retired Naval officer and small business owner. She outraised Taylor $945,000 to $740,000 in the second quarter and trails by less than $200,000 in cash on hand. Democrat Ralph Northam won this district 51% to 47% against Republican Ed Gillespie in the state's 2017 gubernatorial contest. Trump carried it in 2016, but with 48% of the vote. Complicating Taylor's bid is the potential for down-ballot drag from Corey Stewart's position atop the GOP ticket in Virginia this fall. Taylor, a former Navy SEAL, has been critical of Stewart, saying he has "zero shot" at defeating Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine based on the campaign he's running. If some GOP voters stay home because they object to Stewart's hardline politics, Taylor's chances could take a hit. Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-Up
VA-07: GOP Rep. Dave Brat's district that stretches from the Richmond area to the exurbs outside Washington will serve as a barometer of how Republicans are faring with suburban voters in November. The 2016 redistricting in Virginia made this district more competitive, creating an additional challenge for Brat, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. In 2016, Trump carried the 7th District by six points -- 50% to 44%. Northam lost the district by less than four points in 2017. Brat will face Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operations officer. She outraised Brat by more than $140,000 in the second quarter, though he has nearly double the cash on hand -- $917,000 to $465,000. Like in the 2nd District, Stewart could also be a factor in this race. Race moves from Lean Republican to Toss-Up