Sabato's Crystal Ball

Virginia (05) House 2010


Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Tom Perriello, Incumbent

Republican candidate: Robert Hurt, State Senator

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 5th, 2010

The closest House race in the nation in 2008 is living up to its billing again in 2010. After a contentious seven-way GOP primary that stunted Republican fundraising and enabled incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello to sprint to an early cash advantage, it seemed possible that Democrats could hold this hard-won seat. Now the momentum is firmly behind Republican nominee Robert Hurt, a state senator from the southern part of the district, who has matched Perriello ad-for-ad on television and led every single partisan and independent poll released so far. The Crystal Ball cautions against counting out Perriello, who won one of the most stunning upsets of 2008, but this will be a far different year, and we are moving this race from Toss-Up to Leans R.


First elected in 2008, Democrat Tom Perriello is facing a difficult reelection campaign against Republican challenger and State Senator Robert Hurt. In an anti-incumbent year, Hurt has wisely depicted Perriello as an ally of President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In a poll conducted on September 21st by the Benenson Strategy Group, Hurt and Perriello are practically neck-and-neck with Hurt leading 46% to 44%.

Perriello, on the other hand, has tried to portray Hurt as catering to the lobbyists by sending jobs overseas. With unemployment rates still hovering around 10%, Perriello job-creation techniques could help him win this extremely tight reelection campaign.