This fall, Southwest Virginians have the chance to send President Obama and Speaker Pelosi a message by sacking one of their most loyal lapdogs. Despite nearly three decades in Washington, Rep. Rick Boucher is up for one of the toughest races of his career as he prepares to face-off against state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith.
The second-largest district in the state, Virginia’s 9th Congressional District covers most of the southwestern part of the state. Stretching from the Tri-Cities area in the west to the lower Shenandoah Valley near Roanoke in the east, the district includes 24 localities in their entirety and borders West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. Although Boucher has held the district for nearly 30 years, there has been a marked shift rightward in recent years, with John McCain winning 59% of the vote and Bob McDonnell capturing 66%.
Over the past year, Southwest Virginians are taking notice of Rick Boucher’s wrongheaded policy decisions. His integral role in both crafting and passing cap-and-trade is a shining example – and constituents don’t tend to forget when their congressman sells out local jobs to help his Washington friends. In an area largely defined by its dependence on the coal industry, Boucher’s national energy tax will be the major focus of the race. Down-ballot – in a district that favored Creigh Deeds in 2005 and Jim Webb in 2006 – Democrat Del. Dan Bowling went down to a stunning 14-point defeat at the hands of Will Morefield, a Republican upstart who ran his campaign largely against the devastating cap-and-trade bill Boucher championed.
On the other hand, state House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith’s record in Richmond serves as a testament to his strong conservative values and his belief in putting Virginians first. A father of three, Griffith is passionately pro-life and a fervent defender of Second Amendment rights, and has also been honored for his commitment to limited government, low taxes and a strong business climate. His record is an ideological match to the voters in VA-09, who deserve a representative that will take their best interests seriously.
There’s no question that Boucher will be well-funded and will enjoy the advantages of long-term incumbency. But for the first time in a long while, he’s saddled with a lock-step liberal voting record – supporting Nancy Pelosi nearly 97 percent of the time.
Virginia’s 9th District is an excellent opportunity to elect a Republican who understands and represents the interests and needs of the local area, not San Francisco. In November, this seat is a solid Republican pick-up opportunity, with non-partisan political handicapper Charlie Cook giving VA-09 a PVI rating of R+11. Electing Morgan Griffith will take another vote away from Nancy Pelosi, defeat the national energy tax, and ensure the economic viability of Southwest Virginia.