August 19th, 2010
07:30 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN 100: Boucher seeks 15th term in Virginia

 The CNN 100 takes a look at the top 100 House races, from now until Election Day.
The CNN 100 takes a look at the top 100 House races, from now until Election Day.

Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:

State: Virginia 9th - Rep. Rick Boucher (D) is seeking a 15th term.
Date of Primary: June 8
Location: Southwestern Virginia
Days until Election Day: 75

Democrat Rick Boucher, who has represented Virginia's 9th District for 28 years, is seeking his 15th term in office. And his prospects may depend on whether he can overcome the unpopularity of President Obama in his district.

The 9th District encompasses the southwestern tip of Virginia, where the state squeezes between North Carolina and West Virginia into the Appalachian region. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the eastern part of the district, and Interstate 81 runs through the central portion; the western edge is more remote and less-visited.
Despite the presence of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, the ninth has a lower percentage of college graduates than any other district in Virginia. The ninth also has the lowest median income in the state, a reflection of the region's reliance on coal and other blue-collar sectors of the economy.

Republicans John McCain and George W. Bush won the last two presidential elections in the district with 59 percent each time. Meanwhile, Democrat Creigh Deeds, who ran for the governorship last year, lost the district handily to Republican Bob McDonnell.

Boucher campaigned for Obama and Deeds in the district, and that, Republicans say, ought to cost him his seat. "You can't run from votes and endorsements," Michelle Jenkins, the district's Republican Party Committee chairwoman, told The Roanoke Times recently. "It happened. People saw it."

Boucher supported a cap-and-trade bill passed by House Democrats last year, which could have an impact on coal production.

"[Boucher] argues vociferously that EPA holds on surface mining permits are the true source of constituent unrest and that his support for the 'cap and trade' bill represents an effort to empower Congress, not the EPA, to regulate coal," political analyst Charlie Cook wrote in an analysis of the race.

"But that may not be an easy 30-second sell to voters who are looking to lash out at Democrats and send Obama a message this year."

Boucher, however, voted against the final bill and passage of Obama's health care reform legislation – one of 34 Democrats to oppose it.

"I agree with the president on some things; I disagree with the president on some things," Boucher told The Roanoke Times. "And that is no different than the relationships I have had with any of the other presidents that I've had the privilege to serve with, starting with Ronald Reagan and going forward."

Morgan Griffith, the majority leader in the Virginia House of Delegates, is running against Boucher. He lives outside the 9th District in Salem, Virginia.

Boucher has a considerable advantage when it comes to campaign financing, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. As of June 30, Boucher had more than $2 million in cash on hand. Griffith, meanwhile, had nearly $300,000 in cash on hand.


Filed under: 2010 • CNN 100 • Rick Boucher • Virginia
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. terry,va

    We the voters of the 9th district will get rid of this Obummie supporter in November!!!!!

    August 19, 2010 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  2. Fightin'Ninth

    I live in the 9th district and Rick Boucher has been an excellent representative. He has worked to bring broadband access to our region and to bring technology based businesses. I can never remember Rick running a negative campaign ad. His ads talks about his accomplishments and his plans. He has lived in this district all his life and he truly cares about improving the area and making it a better place for all the people.

    August 19, 2010 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  3. the real ib

    I usually vote for Boucher but not this time since he is pushing cap & trade which should be known as cap & scam because that's what it is a scam to get more tax dollars. I do agree with his vote on Obamacare and I thank him for voting against it.

    August 19, 2010 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  4. scott

    his repub opponent dont even live n the district but he is running anyway.i guess they cant find anyone n the district.

    August 19, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    Not a good year for imcumbents, and a particularly bad year for incumbent Dems.

    August 19, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  6. Buster

    No, the real question is did he vote for nobummers spending programs or not. That will determine if he is re-elected or not. If he did, he just as well start cleaning out his DC office.

    August 19, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Skip

    Rick Boucher has done a lot for southwest Virginia and will continue to work hard when re-elected. When it comes to working hard for the benefit of the people in his district, there is no better congressman in the country.

    August 19, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |