Author Archives: Steve

A changing Virginia – and an unchanging Republican Party (Opinion Column, Free Lance-Star)

By Stephen Farnsworth and Stephen Hanna

There’s an old saying that there is not much one can learn from the second kick of a mule. In Virginia’s 2018 Senate race, the Commonwealth’s voters provided the Republican Party of Virginia with its ninth mule kick in a row.

U.S. Senator Tim’s Kaine’s 14-point victory margin on November 6 marked the ninth consecutive statewide election where the Republican Party has come up short: Democrats won all three elections for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general in both 2013 and 2017 as well as the US Senate races of 2012, 2014 and 2018.

Link to column

With blue cities and red rural areas, the suburbs are the new political battleground (Washington Post)

“If the Republicans had a more effective Senate candidate, more money could have come into the state, and there could have been more collaboration with Republican campaigns. And as close as things were in VA-2 and 7, a stronger candidate at the top of the ticket could have made the difference in those House races,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington.

Link to report

Washington-Area Republicans Consider How To Move Forward After Midterms (WAMU)

Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, said that Republicans in Virginia have been campaigning “as if Virginia looks as though it did in the 1990s.”

“The fundamental problem that Republicans are facing right now is a need to retool,” Farnsworth said. “The lessons of the last two statewide elections is the Republican Party needs to get in touch with the suburbs and tailor messaging to be more effective.” Farnsworth noted that Republican candidates’ harsh rhetoric on issues like immigration and a renewed battle over Confederate monuments in particular were turning off suburbanites.

Link to report

Election results in Fredericksburg region reflect suburban-rural divide (Free Lance-Star)

University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth said the Fredericksburg region is experiencing what he called the second wave of suburbanization that includes more Democratic-minded young people buying or renting homes, apartments and townhouses close to Interstate 95 and VRE stations. Like in Stafford, the more densely populated sections of Spotsylvania County leaned Democratic while Partlow and other rural areas voted overwhelmingly Republican.

Link to report