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Virginia 2nd District - Rigell vs. Hirschbiel


Paul Hirschbiel

Paul Hirschbiel (D)

Bio | Campaign Site

Scott Rigell

Scott Rigell (R)*

Bio | Campaign Site

Virginia Snapshot

RCP Ranking: Likely GOP
2012 State Races:
President | Senate

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

VA-2 | VA-5 | VA-9 | VA-11
2009: Governor
2008: President | Senate | VA-11
2006: Senate | VA-2
2004: President

Polling Data

PollDateSampleHirschbiel (D)Rigell (R)Spread
Final Results----46.153.8Rigell +7.7
Virginian-Pilot/CNU10/2 - 10/8766 LV3244Rigell +12

Race Analysis

The 2nd District is roughly comprised of the City of Virginia Beach, the most Republican portions of Newport News, and the two Virginia counties on the Delmarva Peninsula (Accomack and Northampton). The district has one of the highest concentrations of military personnel in the country. The area had enough Northern transplants that there was a pocket of Republican strength long before the Great Southern Realignment began in earnest; it elected a Republican to Congress in 1928 and again in 1930.

George W. Bush ran well in the district, but high turnout among African-Americans, combined with national dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, drove President Obama to a 51 percent-49 percent win over Navy veteran John McCain. The tide swept out the district's two-term Republican officeholder, Thelma Drake, and put Glenn Nye, a 35-year-old scion of a famous Virginia family, in office.  Nye, in turn, was defeated by Scott Rigell in 2010.

The district was made about a point more Republican in the 2010 redistricting, but Rigell is still vulnerable to a surge of Democratic voters in 2012, much as Drake was vulnerable in 2008.  His opponent, venture capitalist Paul Hirschbiel, has the funds for a competitive race.  But absent a meltdown atop the Republican ticket, the conservative lean of this district should pull Rigell through.