KEY POINTS

  • Virginia went to the Democrats thanks to a bunch of moderate leaders
  • Democrat congresswomen wary of surge in Sanders campaign
  • Luria attacked Sanders because he refused to attend the AIPAC meet

Moderate Democrats in Virginia are anticipating a burn, or Bern, on Super Tuesday. The latest polls show democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and plutocrat Mike Bloomberg going neck-and-neck ahead of the March 3 primary.

Once a deep-red state, Virginia went to the Democrats thanks to a bunch of moderate leaders. The governor’s office and state house turned blue for the first time in 25 years. The party switched three seats in congressional elections in 2018. Moderate Reps. Abigail Spannberger, Elaine Luria and Jennifer Wexton were expected to be in for a long haul as population centers became more progressive.

However, the definiation of a progressive has changed radically in a few months.

Bloomberg or Sanders winning nationally is a threat to the Democrats' attempts to keep control of Virginia. Democratic candidates won as moderates in 2018. Any swing to the right or left, as represented by Bloomberg or Sanders threatens the Democrats formula. Sanders poses a particular threat to the congresswomen in Virginia, said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Government at George Mason.

Ironically, Wexton defeated former Rep. Barbara Comstock by linking Comstock to President Trump in an ugly campaign. Now it looks like another Republican will do the same to the incumbent if Sanders wins the nomination.

Luria attacked Sanders this week because he refused to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual meeting. Sanders said he wants peace for both Israel and Palestine.

If voters in her once Republican district think that the first-term congresswoman pitting a foreign nation’s sovereignty above that of her country, she could have more than Sanders to worry about in the 2020 election. Luria has also taken the unusual step of endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden before the primary. Most politicians usually wait to see who their electors nominate.

Bloomberg’s television ads, as are most candidates, are blaring across the state. Sanders plans to hit three sites in the state Saturday. The Vermont senator is scheduled to attend rallies in Richmond, Northern Virginia and Norfolk .

The event in Richmond moved to a larger venue – the Arthur Ashe Junior Athletic Center – that holds 6,000. The Northern Virginia site also needed more space. It relocated from Loudoun County to Springfield.

About 4,000 people attended a rally for Senator Elizabeth Warren in Arlington Feb. 13. Mayor Pete Buttigieg drew nearly 9,000 at an event in Arlington earlier this week. Bloomberg drew an estimated 900 at a campaign event in Richmond Feb. 15. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hosted a town hall in Virginia Beach last week. She has hosted town halls in Sterling and Virginia Beach. 

The campaigns are drawing very little media attention, outside of the advertising they buy. Most daily newspapers have not run any articles yet.