WVTF & Radio IQ: Virginia Candidates Try To Navigate Trump Influence In Off-Year Election

Republican President Donald Trump is not on the ballot this year. But candidates are feeling the need to respond to his controversial presidency.

That doesn’t just include the top of the ticket. Take the election to fill the seat vacated by Republican Delegate Dave Albo of Fairfax County. The Republican in that race is Lolita Mancheno-Smoak. She says Trump is a positive disruptor. “Sometimes in order to generate change, in order to get new energy to actually feel passionate about a new beginning, you need positive disruption. And I see Trump as a positive disruptor."

The Democrat in that race, Kathy Tran, disagrees with that assessment. “Like Trump, Lolita would defund Planned Parenthood. That’s definitely not a positive disruption. And Trumpcare, in its most extreme form would take away health care from 800,000 Virginians, again not a positive disruption.”

So what kind of influence will Trump have on election day? Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says Trump will be a net negative for Republicans. “You’re looking at a President who is pretty unpopular in most of Virginia but particularly so in the Washington suburbs, where a lot of government workers and a lot of people connected to the government really don’t like some of the tumult that is the hallmark of the Trump presidency so far.”