Albemarle Again Backs the Dem.

When Republican Jim Gilmore won his 1997 race against Democrat Don Beyer, he did so with 54% of Albemarle’s votes. But in 2001, when Democrat Mark Warner won his race against Republican Mark Earley, Albemarle had switched to supporting the Democrat by a 56% majority. The trend continued with Tuesday’s election, with Democratic Governor Elect Tim Kaine garnering a surprising 61% of the vote, significantly more than his 52% victory statewide.

Part of this can be attributed to population growth, though part of this can also be attributed to the leadership of the Albemarle Republican Party, which is one of the more far right in the state, something that has got to impact involvement.

Surprisingly, the results in Greene County didn’t change at all from 2001. I’d assumed that, with more Charlottesville and Albemarle residents moving to the surrounding counties (where property is affordable), we’d see a spike in support for Democratic candidates, but there was no such effect.

In today’s Daily Progress, Bob Gibson writes about this trend in Albemarle and in counties around the state.

15 thoughts on “Albemarle Again Backs the Dem.”

  1. I actually see paralells between the Charlottesville area and the NOVA area. Charlottesville represents the inner beltway cities like Arlington/Falls Church/Alexandria. Albemarle represents the very wealthy and somewhat established suburb like Fairfax. Fluvanna is the rapidly sprawling suburb that represents Loudon. Nelson is the suburb thats always been rather moderate compared to its conservative and liberal counterparts represents Prince William. Greene is the rapid growing suburb with traditional Republican values represents Stafford/Spotsylvannia.

    The vote returns were similar too. Charlottesville and the inner beltway cities both returned heavy Democratic margins. Fairfax and Albemarle gave a sure victory to the Democrat but by a smaller margin than the inner cities. Nelson and Prince William went Democratic despite being considered exurbs (PW by a smaller margin). Fluvanna and Loudon are two sprawling counties of liberal cities and both suprised us all by going blue. In Greene and Stafford/Spotsylvannia the Democrats gained ground but remained red unlike the other suburbs. Just a few interesting things I saw.

  2. “Albemarle Republican Party, which is one of the more far right in the state.” Waldo can this be true?
    I can remember that Albemarle sent delegate for Jim Miller against Oliver North. Perhaps they are considered that today but in the past Albemarle has been considered moderate. Example 2# Went Steve Allen faced Eric Cantor for the Congressional nomination, Cantor carried Albemarle by a margin that was wider than his winning margin of victory. In no reading of that election would Cantor be considered right wing compared with State Senator Steve Allen. Example 3# Wasn’t Jane Maddox nominated over a much more conservatie republican before getting a beat down from Emily Couric?

    Albemarle didn’t even vote for George Allen win he ran against Chuck Robb.

  3. perlogik, I think I was unclear. I don’t mean the members of the Albemarle Republicans are far-right, I mean their leadership is. If the members were all far-right, Kilgore would have done better here, I assume.

    I’ve added the word “leadership” to the blog entry.

  4. “Surprisingly, the results in Greene County didn’t change at all from 2001. I’d assumed that, with more Charlottesville and Albemarle residents moving to the surrounding counties (where property is affordable), we’d see a spike in support for Democratic candidates, but there was no such effect.”

    I think the big surprise here is that lower-income, working-class folks who want to own an affordable home, more and more, do not identify with Dems, who are the party of dependency and supremacy of the state. Did Cville’s real estate market skyrocket under Republican leadership? What is the plan to control growth without increasing the state’s power over individual decisions?

  5. Waldo, what are the numbers in terms of votes received by candidates? Percentages are all well and good, but if the number of votes received by Kilgore is close to those received by Earley, then it would seem to me that this trend to Democrats would be spelled out by migration to the area. (Not entirely, I understand, because some newcomers will vote GOP, but you get my drift).

  6. RedState’s map isn’t so good, UVA08. :) Here are some raw numbers:

    Earley: 2,244 votes, 56.9%
    Warner: 1,644 votes, 41.68%

    Kilgore: 2,526 votes, 56.28%
    Kaine: 1,846 votes, 41.14%

    As you can see, the Republican vote dropped by a fraction of a percent, as did the Democratic vote. That’s because the third candidate went from 1.42% (Redpath) in 2001 to 2.56% (Potts) in 2005. Turnout was 1% lower in Greene in 2005 than it was in 2001, but the total number of voters increased — that’s simply because of population growth.

  7. Oh ok… I guess they based their map on raw numbers and not percents?? I have a question. I’m not old enough to remember the Wilder race. Was there a recount after his narrow victory? And how many votes did it swing either way, if any?

  8. UVA08: From theDC politcal report ” The last recount in a major race was in 1989, when J. Marshall Coleman (R-VA) challenged the outcome of the race for governor with L. Douglas Wilder (D-VA). In the recount, Coleman picked up just 113 votes, not nearly enough to change the outcome. Wilder finished with 896,936 votes to Coleman’s 890,195. The margin of 6,741 votes constituted 0.38 percent, so the localities bore the costs. In that recount, voters first learned of hanging chads of the Florida 2000 presidential campaign infamy.”

  9. Thanks :) One more quick question. How does Virginia handle provisional ballots and does anyone know if they’ve been counted in the case of the attorney general race?

  10. UVA08 – I think your analysis of the political trends and demographics is good. I also think people overlook the negative coat-tails of the GOP at the national level, but I think that’s a smallish effect.

    cvillenative – I’m a Cville Native too, and I think you’re full of it – the c’ville housing bubble hasn’t got squat to do with ‘dependency polices’ of the democratic party – what nonsense. Neither party’s policies at the local level have that big an impact. The cville metro-area market has exploded because the population of the local metro area has exploded, way more people want to live here than existing housing stock will hold, and the costs of financing are cheap, comparitively speaking.

    In my own neighborhood (LMNA), the winners of the recent bidding wars have all been uber-wealthy out-of-towners buying houses for their kids to live in while going to UVa – on the order of $500k – I know I lived right up the road as an undergrad in a DORM, and there’s no way my folks would be buying me a house, much less one for $500k. But, for the wealthy, the downpayment is available, and the mortgage rates are cheap (and the interest tax deductible), so the economics make it a cheap way to house your kids – assuming you have a certain amount of capital at the outset – indeed, it’s a money-making proposition. In the case of a couple of houses, when the parents sold the house 4-5 years later, they had a net capital gain – often significant.

    It’s purely anecdotal, but you wouldn’t alter a thing by allowing rampant development, because those folks are pouring in from ‘outside’ – bringing money with them – and that will drive up prices based on location. And, many of those folks make their money outside our community, unlike, say, Waynesboro, which has a lot of similar housing stock, but not the same growth pressure.

    The county has put into place some sprawl/development limiting policies, namely the subdivision limits for agricultural land. Oh, that would be the pro-growth Republican Controlled County BOS. Loudon and Fairfax have both seen the same kind of rampant housing inflation too – and they’ve had a pro-development hand in it – even less restrictions than you have in Albemarle. Still, housing costs in NoVa are utterly ridiculous – worse even that c’ville.

    The recent up-tick in housing prices in traditionally low-income areas like Belmont and Fifeville is the result, mostly, of reaction to the absolute incompetence and pro-development slant of the politicians who control our traffic planners. Most people covet close-in housing for the same reason Arlington commands better housing prices than Warrenton – the commute is a lot shorter. There is something about a 15 mile commute taking 45 minutes that will do that to folks – how much of your life do you really want to spend sitting in the car? Worse if you live in Fluvanna or Greene.

    The policies which drive the rampant development are subsidies for infrastructure provided by the evil government – rural electrification and sewer subsidies from the feds; roads and schools. The traffic costs imposed by places like Forest Lakes on all the rest of us were not bundled into the cost of those homes, as they should have been. Even with the current insanity, the best the county got out of the Hollymead Town center was a couple of extra lanes – the rest of us got a couple of extra traffic lights, and at best, another 5 minutes on our commute, if not more.

    The second policy is cheap financing – a lot of easy money mortgages turned things into a seller’s market. That bubble is going to cool off, if not pop, in places like Cville. It already is – houses are sitting on the market much longer. Prices are going to stagnate for a number of years, until wages catch up some.

    Allowing wide-open, unrestricted development in Albemarle will do nothing to bring down housing costs around here. Even if we ‘regulate’ developers and force them to build mixed-income developments (which are not as profitable for them, so they won’t volunteer), allowing them to build out everything, this will only cause a temporary pause in the general trend of prices. The gentrification benefits of the present situation have been significant in terms of redeveloping ‘blighted’ properties and neighborhoods, even though they are a double-edged sword. Moreover, there is pressure for higher-density, more efficient (read: inexpensive) housing.

    I’ll admit: this is tough on developers, and if you feel really sad/sorry for developers and real estate agents whose business model is parasitic on the rest of us taxpayers, then we should toss out those evil supervisors who would impose government regulation of any sort. I’d settle for a more open development model (fewer reserved ‘green spaces’) areas in exchange for forcing developers to pick up the tab for the total costs of their economic model – that would include the cost of building new roads and grade-separated interchanges to carry the extra traffic they create, and the cost of building new schools to teach the kids who live in those developments. I don’t see where they would be all upset about this: most of them market their ‘private governments’ (aka HOAs) which maintain the parks (common areas), provide cable, sanitation, etc. These are the real costs of building new communities, and those costs ought to be built into the houses. Watch where development starts taking place again – it’ll all be close in high density. It will look like Rugby Hills and Johnson Villiage, instead of Forest Lakes or Old Trail. In the mean time, if you support a non-parental government, quit living off the damn allowance.

    I guess to sum up: we have a test case available to us – just look at NoVa – things are ‘cheap’ as long as there is farmland available to build out. As soon as it’s exhausted, the close-in prices skyrocket, and the quality of life in terms of traffic, etc. is nightmarish. If you don’t care for the smaller, more rural, green and open aspects of living in a place like C’ville, I’d suggest you move up to Fairfax. Or try out Tyson’s Corners.

  11. cville_libertarian, you have got some really good points. It brings me to an idea that would seem to have merit.
    Would it be prudent to add a larger tax on all new homes?
    This would have several affects, development would pay a greater share of the burden they create. It would make older homes a better value, blunting the craving for “new”. This would focus redevelopment on older neighborhoods first.
    There would be other effects to be sure but would it help?

  12. “cvillenative – I’m a Cville Native too, and I think you’re full of it”
    — cville_libertarian

    Full of what? Sounds like a personal attack, which of course I’m used to. Thanks for your respect to opposing opinions. I suppose you’re trying to hurt my feelings in hopes I won’t participate and provoke others (like you) from sharing their opinions.

  13. How does Virginia handle provisional ballots and does anyone know if they’ve been counted in the case of the attorney general race?

    I believe they were being counted this weekend.

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