Ben "Not Larry Sabato" Tribbett's makes his predictions for next Tuesday on "The Inside Scoop" with Catherine S. Read.
Arlington County Board Democratic primary: "Really four very credible candidates": Katie Cristol - "only woman who's running...endorsed by the Washington Post;" Peter Fallon - has "put together a real campaign organization," also got the Washington Post endorsement and backed my major Arlington legislators; Andrew Schneider - "ran for House of Delegates last year unsuccessfully"; Christian Dorsey - "part of the Libby Garvey coalition, but...has his own following that's very deep in the community." Will be "very close four-way finish for two spots."
45th House of Delegates Democratic primary: Will probably come down to either Julie Jakopic or Craig Fifer, "with maybe Clarence [Tong] still being in the game because of the amount of money he spent," but Tong's campaign "has been underwhelming." Ben also says the perception is that Fifer is now the favorite because of the Washington Post endorsement. There's also the Alexandria Mayor's primary will drive turnout that will be "persuadable" for the delegates' candidates.
Mt. Vernon District Democratic primary: In Ben's view, there are two "credible candidates" - Tim Sargeant and Dan Storck. Neither Jack Dobbyn or Candice Bennett ("will probably finish in last place"), in Ben's view, have run "much of a campaign." In the closing days of this race, "most people are going to rally behind one of the two candidates" (Storck or Sargeant) who can win. "Major fissures in the Democratic Party" are playing out in this race, which in Ben's view will be a "very competitive race down to election day." In the end, Ben thinks Storck will pull it out, in part due to Del. Scott Surovell's endorsement.
Alexandria Mayor: Ben thinks Allison Silberberg will probably finish in "a distant third" (last place), while it comes down to either Bill Euille or Kerry Donley. Ben also predicts 8% voter turnout in this race.
Mason District Democratic primary: Incumbent Supervisor Penny Gross vs. community activist Jessica Swanson, "looked to me like it would be a major blowout for Penny early on," but Swanson has come on strong with fundraising lately (although much of it's from one group). "Penny is the overwhelming favorite, though," where 7 Corners area is "very choppy for Penny," but outside of that could carry 75%-80% of the vote.
10th State Senate district Democratic primary: First competitive open seat in a non-"majority minority" seat in a while in the Richmond area. Ben says Gov. McAuliffe et al. are "overreading to try to put up a more conservative southern-style Democrat like we would have 25 years ago, instead of putting up a more progressive candidate." What will happen, in Ben's view, is that "the governor will win the primary...voters will take the governor's recommendation...end of game, whether or not it was the correct thing to do." Ben also says Francis has "not been out there online," has not been on Blue Virginia or active on social media, hasn't been a great campaign. (note: I hope Ben's wrong on this race, but an very concerned he could be right; I also agree that Francis' campaign should have been all over social media, as she's almost THE prototypical candidate - progressive, environmentalist - with an unappealing opponent to garner significant netroots support)
Fairfax County School Board: Could the issue of transgender nondiscrimnination policy debate cause serious problems for Democrats in November (by firing up the conservative base)? Ben thinks "it could ignite" the conservative base, but it was critically important to give transgender kids protections and support that they badly need. Ben thinks the School Board made "one big strategic error" to not have more speakers, because a lot of the people opposed to the transgender protections "were nuts...and they should have let every single one of those people walk up to the microphone and testify so the public could see who was fighting against it...you WANT them to talk."
Very interesting perspectives and predictions from Ben "Not Larry Sabato" as always!