Monday, March 24, 2008

"The Economist" on Loudoun County Turning "Blue"

The Economist magazine takes a look at Loudoun County's rapid political change in the Democratic direction with an article called "Paint them blue." Here's the conclusion (bolding added for emphasis):
...A rapid influx of voters has thrown Loudoun county's politics into disarray. The county narrowly plumped for Jim Webb, now Virginia's Democratic senator, in 2006 after years of Republican domination in the area. Tim Buchholz, Loudoun's Democratic committee chairman, says his party held just three of 29 elected county offices in 2003. Now they are running even with the Republicans.

Not only have more Democrats moved in from bluer cities but, critically, more independents have come, too. Now Loudoun politicos say the county comprises roughly one-third Democrats, one-third Republicans and one-third independents. Voting in Loudoun now closely mirrors that of the state at large, which is increasingly competitive because of the population spike around Washington: the Republicans, in other words, can no longer depend on what was once a solid vote for them. Fast-growing exurbs are particularly exposed to the subprime crisis, which will focus minds on economic matters rather than security—John McCain's strength.

If the eventual Democratic nominee is able to appeal to Loudoun's swing voters, he or she has a good shot at taking once deep-red Virginia. Repeat that in exurbs across the country, and the Democrats' chances look good.

In short, rapid change - and rapid growth - in Loudoun County means that Democrats now have an excellent shot at winning the county, the congressional district, and the commonwealth. This bodes well not only for the presidential race, but potentially also for Judy Feder against Frank Wolf in November.

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