The 9th district has been based in and around Franklin County since the creation of single member legislative districts. Franklin- which sits south of Roanoke County is an area of the state legendary for its unique politics. "The moonshine capital of the world" brought us power sharing in the Virginia Senate in 1996, when then-Democrat Virgil Goode demanded the party share power with the GOP. Within just a few years, Virgil Goode became Virgil Goode, then became Virgil Goode and recently back to Virgil Goode again. On the House side, this district has been Republican since a 1993 special election gave Allen Dudley a narrow victory. Dudley was almost ousted in 2005, and when he retired in 2007, Charles Poindexter narrowly won this seat. In 2011, when the neighboring 10th district in Martinsville was eliminated and moved to Northern Virginia, Democratic leader Ward Armstrong moved into this district to challenge Poindexter. After one of the most expensive House races in history, with 2.4 million dollars spent, Poindexter was re-elected by a 53-47 margin.
House District #9 (map here)
59.0% of the vote in Franklin County
22.5% of the vote in Patrick County
18.4% of the vote in Henry County
2012 Major Party Election Results
Mitt Romney 23,051 (64.7%)
Barack Obama 12,568 (35.3%)
George Allen 22,752 (62.9%)
Tim Kaine 13,434 (37.1%)
Robert Hurt/Morgan Griffith 23,419 (67.1%)
John Douglass/Anthony Flaccavento 11,474 (32.9%)
(Broken down below)
Robert Hurt 14,170 (67.5%)
John Douglass 6,833 (32.5%)
Morgan Griffith 9,249 (66.6%)
Anthony Flaccavento 4,641 (33.4%)
WEST VIRGINIA- The state the Presidential results most closely match with. West Virginia had a margin of 27.4% for Romney, while the 9th Delegate District of Virginia had a margin of 29.4% for Romney.
On the national level, the 9th district has become a Republican stronghold. All three counties in this district gave Mitt Romney over 60% of the two-party vote over Barack Obama. Franklin gave Romney a 13,489-7,538 (64.2%) margin of victory, Patrick was a 5,622-2,417 (69.9%) landslide for Romney and Henry County was a solid 3,940-2,613 (60.1%) win for Romney. Virgil Goode was a non-factor here as he was statewide despite the GOP worries of what would happen here with him on the ballot as the Constitution Party nominee.
Tim Kaine managed a small crossover vote here, 2.0% above Obama in Franklin County, 2.5% above Obama in Patrick County and 0.6% above Obama in Henry County. Still, George Allen defeated him in this district by 26 points so Kaine was only narrowly closing a blowout margin against the Democrats here.
In the Congressional races, the local GOP candidates also ran strong. Morgan Griffith won Patrick County by a 5,412-2,398 (69.3%) and won the Henry County precincts here 3,837-2,243 (63.1%) over Anthony Flaccavento. In Franklin County, Robert Hurt defeated John Douglass 14,170-6,833 (67.5%), or 3.3% higher than any other Republican running in Franklin County this year.
So why has such a strongly Republican district been targeted with very competitive House of Delegates races in the last four cycles? It's because of the unique type of politics here- who the candidates know and their own local roots really matter. Despite being a Franklin County Supervisor, Charles Poindexter only won Franklin County by a 42 vote margin in his open seat race in 2007 against Eric Ferguson- also from Franklin County. His victory came because of margin from Pittsylvania County which is no longer in the district. But in 2011 when Ward Armstrong showed up in Franklin County he lost by a 10 point margin to Poindexter in Franklin and was unable to make that up in Henry and Patrick where he had represented for years. So despite having run twice more than 10 points behind GOP margin, Poindexter has survived two tight races by winning the counties where his opponents are less known in that particular race. With that much underperformance, don't be surprised to Poindexter get even more close calls here in the future, but Democrats will need to find someone to run strong across the entire district to find a way to 50% and a win.
Previous Districts Covered
House District #1- Terry Kilgore (Utah)
House District #2- Mark Dudenhefer (Delaware)
House District #3- Will Morefield (Utah)
House District #4- Joe Johnson (Wyoming)
House District #5- Israel O'Quinn (Wyoming)
House District #6- Anne Crockett-Stark (Oklahoma)
House District #7- Nick Rush (Kansas)
House District #8- Greg Habeeb (Arkansas)
House District #12- Joseph Yost (Virginia)
House District #13- Bob Marshall (New Mexico)
House District #28- Bill Howell (Florida)
House District #50- Jackson Miller (Michigan)
House District #51- Rich Anderson (Ohio)
House District #52- Luke Torian (Hawaii)