Republicans, in particular, would like revenge against Perriello, who upset six-term Rep. Virgil Goode in one of the closest elections of 2008.They highlight that the Fifth District was cut for strict Republican incumbency, a matter that I would nuance. Yes, in 2001, the district had a strong Republican majority, but with the influx of population in the strong urban areas, like Charlottesville/Albemarle and the Roanoke suburbs, this district, while still perhaps Republican-leaning, no longer steadfastly votes for a single party, if they ever did (the truth, naturally, is more complex). Neglecting this demographic trend, the article states:
The GOP also think they have a good shot at unseating Nye, and some say he could overtake Perriello as the party’s No. 1 target in the state. Nye knocked off two-term Rep. Thelma Drake last year by five points in a district that barely went to Obama.
If Republicans sense a trend breaking their way, they’ll add Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly to their target list. But they admit it could be a long shot.
Perriello’s district, warned James Madison University political scientist Bob Roberts, was gerrymandered so it would always be held by a Republican. “There is no reason they wouldn’t take back this district,” he said.But Perriello outperformed Obama in the district, is part of the DCCC's Frontline program, and "has launched aggressive outreach and fundraising programs," seen in his last quarter's haul. In terms of Republican candidate recruitment, this part is very interesting on several levels:
If Goode passes on the race, and some Republicans believe he will, the GOP is excited about either Virginia Del. Rob Bell or Virginia state Sen. Robert Hurt. Bell has met with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). And Hurt said he would only consider the race if Goode opts to stay out of it.Most, that I've talked to at least, think Goode is going to run, but also, this nugget officially gives voice to long-standing rumors of other potential candidates, namely Bell and Hurt. In a similar vein, recruitment efforts against Nye are also underway by national Republicans, but seriously challenging Connolly, they admit, is a pipe-dream, given that district's Democratic strength.
If Republicans think Rep. Perriello is easy pickins, they are in for a rude awakening. As for now, let's take it one election at a time, but naturally, strong campaigning, activism, and turnout for Deeds/Wagner/Shannon will only help strengthen our chances of retaining these congressional seats next cycle.