My belief that Virginia is in reach for Obama isn’t newly acquired, but it’s certainly stronger these days.   However, I can’t say that I’ve ever really been optimistic about the races for Virginia’s seats in the House.  Sure, I thought that a Dem pickup in the 11th was a lock the moment that Rep. Tom Davis announced his retirement, but beyond that, I thought we’d be able to count on Virginia’s usual resistance to change to prevent any other swaps.  Well, it looks like there may yet be a ray of sunshine breaking through in Virginia, as two House races have been shifting towards the Democratic challengers.  I’m still not optimistic about them, but I can definitely picture a victory.

The first instance is down in the Second District, where Glenn Nye is challenging Rep. Thelma Drake.  This is a heavily military district, and the race has just been moved from “leans Republican” to “Toss up” by the folks at Cook.  Drake is one of those “Support the troops on the trail, vote against them on the Hill” Republicans, while challenger Nye has actually worked towards stabilization in Iraq.  Vivian Paige takes a look at the state of this race here, and there’s a longer piece at Roll Call here.

The second instance is a longer shot, and takes place in Virginia’s Fifth District.  Here, Tom Periello is challenging Rep. Virgil Goode, who is perhaps one of the most open and disgusting bigots currently in Congress.   Goode’s constituents, unfortunately, have demonstrated quite a tolerance for his intolerance by putting him back in office over and over again*.  However, challenger Tom Periello seems to have found a connection with the district, and the DCCC just dumped $650k into the race.   My friend and Fifth District resident Mark Brooks has been writing about the race here.

So.  Here’s to hoping.

*And as a warning to those who assume Dem = good, I’ll point out that he arrived in Congress as a Democrat.