Dems Win Virginia Special Election in GOP District
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Jan 12, 2010 at 10:34:34 PM EST
In 2009, Republican Bob McDonnell carried Virginia's 37th Senate district by a 56.8 percent to 43.0 percent margin during his successful gubernatorial bid. Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who at the time represented the district, also carried the district with 53.8 percent of the vote. But when Virginians went to the polls today to elect a replacement for Cuccinelli in a race expected to go to the Republicans, something strange happened.
Defying recent voting trends that saw several Northern Virginia Republicans win big in November, Del. David W. Marsden (D-Fairfax) won a special election Tuesday night to represent a broad swath of southwestern Fairfax County in the Virginia Senate.
Marsden, a two-term delegate from Burke who switched political parties earlier this decade while serving as the head of the state Department of Juvenile Justice under both Republican and Democratic governors, won the 37th state Senate seat vacated by Attorney General-elect Kenneth T. Cuccinelli (R) by rallying a voter base reeling from big losses in November's statewide and House races.
The vote solidifies the Democrats' majority in the Virginia state Senate, 22-18, helping ensure the party has a say when the time comes to redistrict the state following the 2010 census. But even more immediately, the election indicates that despite all the prognosticating from the Beltway press, the political environment may not be nearly as toxic for the Democrats as some would have you believe.