Rich Anderson has his work cut out.
In case you missed the news, Anderson, the earnest former delegate from Prince William County, was elected chair of the Republican Party of Virginia back in August.
For those of you not keeping score at home, this is the same Republican Party that is 0-for the past decade when it comes to statewide elections. The last time the GOP won a statewide race was 2009, when Bob McDonnell was elected governor, Bill Bolling lieutenant governor and Ken Cuccinelli attorney general.
Since then, including Tuesday’s losses, Virginia Republicans have lost three presidential elections, two gubernatorial races (along with lieutenant governor and attorney general both times), and four U.S. Senate races. Democrats seized control of the state’s congressional delegation in 2018.
To make matters worse, the GOP also lost control of the General Assembly in 2019, putting the statehouse completely in Democratic hands for the first time in a generation.
The problems are exacerbated in heavily populated and fast growing Northern Virginia, where Democrat Joe Biden racked up a 500,000-vote win over President Donald Trump this week.
There are a couple of glimmers of hope for Anderson and the GOP. First, U.S. Senate challenger Daniel Gade ran better than expected against incumbent Mark Warner, the party held on to its seat in the conservative 5th congressional district, and it took two first-term Democratic House incumbents down to the wire (Elaine Luria in the 2nd District and Abigail Spanberger in the 7th).
Also, the redistricting amendment passed by Virginia voters this week theoretically means the Democrats can’t stack the deck in their favor for the next decade by drawing state and federal districts to their advantage.
But Anderson and Virginia Republicans will need to do more to reverse a losing streak that’s going into its second decade. Only by redefining what it means to be a Republican can the Grand Old Party recapture Virginia, particularly critical Northern Virginia.
The GOP needs candidates who better reflect the diversity that is Virginia today, who can relate to suburban voters, and who stand for good government and fiscal responsibility rather than just stand against social issues like abortion and gay rights.
So it’s a good thing Rich Anderson has lots of energy – he’s going to need it.