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Larry Sabato Discusses Midterm Results in Va., Looks to Future Changes

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Larry Sabato, executive director of the Center for Politics Larry Sabato, executive director of the Center for Politics
Republican Denver Riggleman has secured the 5th District seat Republican Denver Riggleman has secured the 5th District seat
Democrat Leslie Cockburn took Charlottesville and Albemarle County Democrat Leslie Cockburn took Charlottesville and Albemarle County
Map of Virginia's 5th District Map of Virginia's 5th District
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The 2018 midterm election results are giving both Republicans and Democrats something to feel good about - and worry about - headed toward 2020.

It's a trend that’s felt nationally, in the commonwealth, and, specifically, right here in Charlottesville.

Larry Sabato, the executive director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics has made a career of predicting political futures and explaining Election Day results.

He says his Crystal Ball is back on track following his accurate prediction that Democrats would take control of the House of Representatives and Republicans would maintain control of the Senate.

A win for Denver Riggleman on Tuesday, November 6, is keeping Virginia's 5th District congressional seat red for another two years, which Sabato predicted.

“It's just the district,” Sabato said. “The district is solidly Republican. It was designed to elect a Republican about by the margin he got: 55 to 45, if not more than that."

But looking at an election return map, Democratic challenger Leslie Cockburn was able to over-perform in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Her results show she did better than Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in this area.

“That's not easy to do,” Sabato said. “But it's just not enough in a district that's so heavily rural and Republican."

But things could be changing, Sabato says, with redistricting on the horizon.

Virginia's redistricting in 2021 will be done by either Democrats or the courts, making districts less favorable to Republicans.

"I mean, look at Virginia,” Sabato said. “These lines in Virginia were designed to produce a large Republican majority in our 11-seat delegation in the House of Representatives."

Come January, Democrats will now fill seven of those House seats in the commonwealth with the help of wins in the 7th District and other close races. Virginia, which was once a reliably red state, has since turned purple and is slowly becoming more blue.

"Sooner or later, the people's vote actually matters, and it will matter in this case,” Sabato said. “This is a big positive change for Democrats."

Sabato says he received four calls on Wednesday, November 7, from various campaigns trying to pitch him their candidate to take a run at the presidency in 2020.

Thirty-four potential candidates are out there right now, but Sabato says he's got his eye on Joe Biden and Beto O'Rourke of Texas.

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