The Cook Political Report updated the race in the 2nd Congressional District Tuesday from Lean Republican to Toss Up. The race in VA-05 has been upgraded from Likely Republican to Lean Republican. The photo to the left reflects these changes (click to enlarge).
More on the races below the fold.
GOP Rep. Thelma Drake has hammered Democratic former diplomat Glenn Nye on his residence, pointing to a homestead exemption for a house he and his brother own in Washington, DC. But she has been unable to establish any sort of significant lead, and the Norfolk Virginian Pilot gave Nye a significant endorsement. After endorsing Drake in 2006, the newspaper criticized her as “among the most doctrinaire conservatives in Congress” this time.
Democratic Senate candidate Mark Warner’s coattails are spooking Tidewater Republicans who worry that Drake has never really firmed up her base in the largest component of the district, Virginia Beach. This race should be considered a tossup once again.
So they got the name of the paper wrong but as one of the most respected political analysts out there, I guess we’ll give them a pass 😉.
Cook had this to say about VA-05:
Goode is a revered figure in his Southside Virginia base, and Democratic attorney Tom Perriello has spent too much time outside the district working for considerably left-of-center causes to be considered anywhere near a top-tier candidate. But the Southside portions of the 5th CD are in economic shambles and Perriello is the first candidate who has ever advertised substantially against Goode. Perriello claims in his ads that Goode supports a 23 percent across-the-board sales tax, while Goode has taken to the air to lambast Perriello on illegal immigration and gay marriage.
To the extent that Obama wins Virginia by a large margin, his biggest gains over normal Democratic performance will be in suburbs and exurbs outside this district’s boundaries. But Perriello is counting on a huge turnout on the part of African-Americans in Southside and college students in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, the only areas within the district Obama will win by an overwhelming margin.
Even if this district were tied at the presidential level, Goode could probably count on the support of more than a handful of Obama supporters in Southside. But Goode’s old-school campaign tactics are causing some Republicans concern, and the DCCC is giving Perriello modest late help.
Things are looking up in Virginia!