But if what has been described by some as "Obamania" persists into the fall, there are at least three GOP congressional incumbents who shouldn't take anything for granted.
Reps. Thelma A. Drake, Virgil H. Goode Jr. and Frank R. Wolf are favored to win reelection, considering that Republicans drew their district boundary lines.
Each of those districts, however, could be susceptible to an uptick in Democratic turnout if Obama is at the top of the ticket.
On Virgil Goode, the article notes an upsurge in turnout for Barack Obama in Charlottesville, as well as in places like Danville, which is 45% African American. Overall, Goode's 5th district is 24% African American. With Barack Obama as the Demoratic nominee, African American turnout should be huge. In other words, watch out Virgil Goode and go Tom Perriello!
In the 2nd CD, Craig points to "traditionally conservative Virginia Beach, [where] 51,000 voted in the Democratic primary this year, compared with 30,000 in the GOP primary, suggesting more Democratic votes could be there than previously thought." The main challenge is for Democratic challenger Glenn Nye to raise a lot of money fast, and that won't be easy. Still, the guy Craig calls "Phil Kellman" (uh, that would be "Kellam") came close to defeating Drake in 2006 despite running a less-than-optimal race. We'll see.
Finally, on Frank Wolf, Craig writes that the 10th district "includes a lot of young professionals in western Fairfax and Loudoun counties, which could dilute the solid GOP advantage in the rest of the district." With Obama motivating these young professionals to vote Democratic, while simultaneously not motivating Republicans to vote against him, this could give a boost to Judy Feder as she tries for the second time to unseat Wolf.
Is this too optimistic? Not according to J. Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, who says that Obama at the top of the ticket should "be a reason for Republicans all the way down the ticket to be worried."
The bottom line is this: Barack Obama swept Virginia on February 12, turning out huge numbers of people, including ones who had never voted before. If this excitement continues through November, the effects of "Obamania" on Democrats running "downballot" could be highly positive, especially combined with the presence of Mark Warner -- Virginia's most popular politician -- on the ballot as well.
Step #1, of course, is for Barack Obama to clinch the Democratic nomination for President, which he hopefully will do in 1 1/2 weeks. Then, the pieces start falling into place quite nicely for people like Tom Perriello, Judy Feder, Glenn Nye, and possibly others as well. (Note: I'm assuming a Democratic pickup in the 11th CD regardless of who the Democratic presidential nominee is)