RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Congressional elections next year are prompting pause among Democrats, a party seeking to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. But if midterms reflect Tuesday’s statewide elections in Virginia, the 435-member chamber could turn red.
Now that the state’s top three jobs will be filled by Republicans, just one year after Democrats won back the White House, democrats ask: What happened? Were losses due to turnout? Campaign messaging? The party’s inability to pass major legislation in Washington?
Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) said the falter in federal politics is not primarily to blame for party losses, rather, she alluded to messaging heard on the campaign trail.
“Seeing any level of back-and-forth and debate being in the media, I don’t necessarily think that is optimal. But, I think when you look at the bigger campaign elements [in Virginia], you know, I don’t think it’s [DC legislative troubles] a deciding factor,” Spanberger said.
In a nearby Congressional district, Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin (VA-04) told the New York Times he blames election blunders on Terry McAuliffe’s campaign.
8News Reporter Ben Dennis asked Spanberger if Virginia Republican wins on Tuesday make the former CIA officer feel more or less vulnerable running for re-election.
After initially chuckling, and not giving a direct answer to the question, the congresswoman said, “Oh, I reject that word. I don’t think that, it’s not a word that enters my space. It’s a matter of whether or not I’m doing the work that needs to be done, and that, I’m doing.“
Still, Spanberger thinks her party should strike the right tone over the next year to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“If we’re using bumper sticker slogans that people don’t understand or mean nothing…” “…if they [constituents] don’t immediately know what it is we are saying, then how can they know if it impacts them?