Yesterday we looked at the 13th Delegate district in northern Prince William County, today we are looking at the 50th Delegate district which is next door to the 13th.
As we noted a few months ago, Prince William has the longest active streak of any locality in Virginia in voting for the winners of statewide elections. Having voted once again for both statewide winners in 2012 (Barack Obama and Tim Kaine), Prince William has now voted for the winner in twelve straight statewide elections.
The 50th District seat is the seat that has been representing Prince William in the General Assembly since before the growth explosion in the county that has brought new seats to the area. Based in the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park and stretching into the county, this seat was represented for decades by Harry Parrish before his death. In a 2006 special election that was held downballot from the Webb-Allen race, Delegate Jackson Miller, a local police officer and real estate agent was narrowly elected in both the GOP nomination contest and then in the special election. With lower more GOP leaning turnout in his elections since, he has easily won re-election three times. But Republicans could see the trendline here moving away from them, and decided to split Manassas and Manassas Park for the first time in the last redistricting to try and control the Democratic surge happening here.
House District #50 (map here)
53.7% of the vote in Prince William County
46.3% of the vote in Manassas City
2012 Major Party Election Results
Barack Obama 17,705 (54.8%)
Mitt Romney 14,597 (45.2%)
Tim Kaine 17,543 (54.4%)
George Allen 14,726 (45.6%)
Rob Wittman/Frank Wolf 15,762 (50.9%)
Adam Cook/Kristin Cabral 15,220 (49.1%)
(Broken down below)
Adam Cook 8,650 (51.7%)
Rob Wittman 8,070 (48.3%)
Frank Wolf 7,692 (53.9%)
Kristin Cabral 6,570 (46.1%)
MICHIGAN- The state the Presidential results most closely match with. Michigan had a margin of 9.6% for Obama, while the 50th Delegate District of Virginia also had a margin of 9.6% for Obama.
Manassas City is exploding with new voters, many of whom are Democratic leaning. Manassas voted for George W. Bush by 13.2% as recently as 2004, but this year it voted for Barack Obama by a 13.4% margin- a swing of 26.6% to the Democrats. This is more than double the statewide swing in that period.
As in Manassas Park, George Allen was able to win a tiny bit of crossover in Manassas City, losing to Tim Kaine by 12.0%. Frank Wolf has had a political base here for decades and was able to swing a 21.2% crossover from the Presidential race to win here by 7.8%. In 2004 Wolf's margin here was 27.8%- a swing of exactly 20% since then- but his crossover vote is increasing at the same time- running 14.6% ahead of the top of his ticket in 2004, to 21.2% crossover today. Is Wolf getting more popular with Democrats? The answer is no. What's happening is in addition to the new voters, many longtime GOP voters have left the party in this area in recent years and began voting Democratic on top of the ticket. But in local elections, some have stayed loyal to Wolf- increasing his crossover. These are the voters that have helped Miller stay in office as well- so far.
The Prince William County portions of the 50th district are all now in the 1st Congressional district. In these county precincts Barack Obama and Tim Kaine won by almost identical margins (9,227-8,134 and 9,211-8,176). These precincts were all new to Congressman Rob Wittman and he wasn't able to do much better, losing here by a 8,650-8,070 count to challenger Adam Cook.
If Democrats hope to pick this seat up- and they certainly could with the numbers- they will need to find a candidate with deep local roots to compete with Miller amongst these longtime residents that have changed their top of the ticket voting, but are willing to vote GOP downballot for candidates they know. An interesting tidbit here- Manassas had a vote this year on moving its local elections from May to November. The GOP has used low May turnout to dominate the City Council here for decades, and many of the elected officials in Manassas opposed this vote. The results were a resounding yes- 61%-39% to move the elections to November. This is something that should make Miller very nervous- November elections will likely bring an end to the "good old boy" network that has run this City for so long- and helped put Miller into office.