First Read lists five reasons why Democrats have a big edge in Virginia’s gubernatorial race:
- Trump: The current president’s job-approval rating in the state is in the 30s, and remember that Trump lost this state to Hillary Clinton by 5 points on his best day of the general election.
- History: With just one exception (in 2013 when Terry McAuliffe defeated Ken Cuccinelli), the party that controls the White House has lost every gubernatorial election in Virginia going back to the 1970s.
- GOP’s poor performance in Virginia: Since 2005, Democrats are 9-1 in major statewide elections in Virginia (for president, Senate, governor).
- Cash: Northam is outraising Republican opponent Ed Gillespie, which is stunning given Gillespie’s background as a former RNC chair and lobbyist.
- The advertising war: And Northam is also outspending Gillespie on the TV airwaves, while party spending is about even (see below for more on that).
But they note Gillespie does have one important advantage in this race: Democrats in Virginia don’t turn out as well in non-presidential years.