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Ben, you also need to address the changing partisanship of areas of Virginia, especially here in Southwest.

In 2005, Ferguson ran about 5 points ahead of Tim Kaine in Franklin County outside of the Smith Mountain Lake Area. That was enough to win those precincts. Today the Democratic floor from the top of the ticket is so much lower a 5% crossover isn't anywhere close to what you'd need to win.

That might be less true in a state or local election, but there are fewer and fewer local Democrats who can define themselves as "Not National Democrats."

Countless years of local service, millions of dollars, and still Ward fell short. At a time when the House of Delegates has such hostile lines, we have better opportunities that will come at a far cheaper price than this one.

Oh, and from what I've been told Ward never had high expectations for his performance in Franklin, his problem was he underperformed where he thought he would in Henry and Patrick.

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