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Virginia - 9th District

Incumbent -- Rick Boucher (D) ; Defeated by Morgan Griffith, R, in general election on November 2, 2010

Leans Democratic
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Republicans expect that Morgan Griffith, the Majority Leader of the state House, will give Boucher the closest race of his career.

The GOP's main line of attack is that Boucher supported the cap-and-trade bill. They say the measure will hobble the many families and businesses that rely on the coal industry in southwestern Virginia. Boucher, a senior member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, says he helped secure important provisions for coal. On the campaign trail, the Congressman focuses on his long record of economic development that helped endear him to 9th district voters for many years.

Boucher is well-known and well-funded, but Griffith is already getting help leveling the financial playing field from both the national party and conservative third-party groups. The NRCC had poured nearly $200,000 into the district by late September, while Americans for Job Security had dumped more than $350,000 into the race.

Since the results in the commonwealth will be known relatively early on election night, it will be a good indicator that the Democratic majority is gone if Boucher goes down.

Republicans expect that Morgan Griffith, the Majority Leader of the state House, will give Boucher the closest race of his career.

The GOP's main line of attack is that Boucher supported the cap-and-trade bill. They say the measure will hobble the many families and businesses that rely on the coal industry in southwestern Virginia. Boucher, a senior member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, says he helped secure important provisions for coal. On the campaign trail, the Congressman focuses on his long record of economic development that helped endear him to 9th district voters for many years.

Boucher is well-known and well-funded, but Griffith is already getting help leveling the financial playing field from both the national party and conservative third-party groups. The NRCC had poured nearly $200,000 into the district by late September, while Americans for Job Security had dumped more than $350,000 into the race.

Since the results in the commonwealth will be known relatively early on election night, it will be a good indicator that the Democratic majority is gone if Boucher goes down.

 

District Information

District Profile from Politics in America

Encompassing the mountains and forests of Virginia's southwestern corner, the rural 9th District hosts the college towns of Blacksburg and Radford, as well as the smaller coal and factory towns nestled close to neighboring West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky.

The district has struggled with a weak economic base and stagnant population growth. The 9th is Virginia's poorest district, with a median household income of $36,000. It has the state's highest percentage of blue-collar workers, who hold coal mining and manufacturing jobs. Despite the presence of one of the state's largest universities -- Virginia Tech in Blacksburg -- the 9th has Virginia's lowest percentage of college-educated residents (17 percent).

Jobs and construction at the new headquarters of a digital advertising firm in Blacksburg will boost the local economy. And state and local leaders have worked to improve district residents' quality of life by promoting the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to attract tourism revenue.

Known for its competitive elections, the 9th is characterized by its ornery isolation from the political establishment in Richmond. The district supports Republicans in presidential elections but had elected a Democrat to Congress for more than two decades until 2010. Democrats can win in local races.

Major Industry

Manufacturing, coal mining, agriculture

Cities

Blacksburg, 42,620; Christiansburg, 21,041; Bristol, 17,835

Notable

Abingdon's still-thriving Barter Theatre allowed local residents to exchange excess produce and livestock for admission during the Depression.

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