Virginia Republicans may be at risk of losing another seat in the U.S. House as a race in the state’s Republican-leaning 5th Congressional District appears to be tightening.
According to political analysts with Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, the race between Republican Bob Good and Democrat Cameron Webb is now a “toss up.”
“We don’t really see a clear favorite at this point,” Crystal Ball managing editor Kyle Kondik said.
The 5th District runs through the central portion of Virginia, stretching from Fauquier County all the way to the North Carolina border.
“It’s definitely a district that favors Republicans generically,” Kondik said.
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The first sign of trouble, according to Kondik, was that outside Republican donors suddenly started pouring money into the race.
“It tells me that they’re seeing things in this district that they don’t like, because in an ideal world, this is a district that Republicans shouldn’t have to spend money in to win,” Kondik said.
One aspect of the race that adds uncertainty is the fact that there is no incumbent running. Republicans chose Good as their candidate instead of the incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman, after Riggleman was criticized within his own party for officiating a same-sex wedding.
Democrats chose Cameron Webb in a crowded primary.
If Republicans lose the 5th District seat, it will be the fourth Virginia U.S. House seat lost to Democrats in the past couple of years.
Democrats flipped three seats to their side in the 2018 midterm elections.
Other potentially competitive races in Virginia this year involve Republicans hoping to take seats away from Democrats.
They include the race in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, where Republican Nick Freitas is running against incumbent Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger. Another is in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, where Republican Scott Taylor is facing incumbent Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria.