Republicans view Perriello as a fluke and are heartened by Goode's decision to forgo a rematch in 2010....Although there are plenty of Republicans in the mix, the most likely GOP candidate at this point is state Sen. Robert Hurt of Pittsylvania County, who represents over a quarter of the district in the general assembly...All I can say is, for anyone who underestimates Tom Perriello's chances of reelection, just remember that in 2008, all the "experts" - using the term EXTREMELY loosely - said that there was "no way" Perriello could beat Virgil Goode. Fortunately for Tom and for his district, there were a number of activists and supporters - myself included - who always felt that Perriello could win. Call it naivete, I don't care, but the minute I talked to Tom Perriello and then met him in person (in January 2008), I knew we had a special person and an impressive politician on our hands. I also knew that Virgil Goode would be in for the race of his life. We'll see if Robert Hurt or any other Republican can do any better than Virgil. Personally, my money remains on Tom Perriello! :)
Perriello has cultivated an underdog appeal that plays well with many constituents who may not be as liberal as he is. He emphasizes ethics and was one of just 29 Democrats to vote for a May resolution sponsored by GOP Rep. Jeff Flake calling for an investigation into the failed PMA lobbying group. He is also likely to be well-funded... But Republicans have already pegged Perriello high on their target list, and a likely drop in turnout among base Democratic groups that were unusually energized in 2008 is a serious threat in its own right.
This is one of the few districts McCain carried in 2008 represented by a Democrat who may vote for Obama-backed major initiatives on both energy and healthcare. Look for this race to join the toss up column at some point in the cycle.
Cook Report update on VA-05
Friday, August 28, 2009
Excerpts from the Cook Political Report (subscription required) on VA-05: