They were motivated, organized, and took back the State Senate. They also gained seats in the House of Delegates and put together some great grassroots efforts in quite a few races. They made serious inroads in the Tidewater region as well as continued their efforts to solidify Northern Virginia, epsecially Fairfax County, as "blue" territory.
Sen. Creigh Deeds
Another good year for Mr. Deeds, who supports nonpartisan redistricting (much to the chagrin of Senate majority leaders), continues to hold his State Senate district despite being surrounded in a sea of "red" districts, and has already staked his claim as THE candidate for Governor in 2009.
Former Gov. Mark Warner
He announces a run for Senate, and is the presumptive favorite already. While Warner will have to answer questions about his record (such as his record of tax increases), Warner is by far the best candidate the Dems have put up to run for Senate in the past 2 decades...in comparison, Jim Webb won last year due to "macaca", and Chuck Robb took advantage of a GOP split in support to win in 1994. Warner, unlike Webb and Robb, should be the first Dem Senate candidate that can win without controversy on his opponent's side.
While taking back the State Senate, they did not quite make the gains in the House of Delegates that they thought they would, and they only made inroads in the Tidewater area...however, central Virginia and the Valley (Creigh Deeds the exception) remain GOP strongholds. Also, a "NoVa vs. RoVa" split has reared it's ugly head, and if we see Brian Moran and Creigh Deeds face off in a primary for Governor, things can only get worse for that split.
Pro-Illegal Alien Democrats
In fact, you did not hear much in the way of opposition from Democratic politicians to the movement to enforce immigration laws on a local level due to the popular support throughout the state for this movement. In Prince William County, which is the biggest focal point of the immigration debate in Virginia, it was pro-immigration enforcement candidates that won election/re-election.
Grassroots Outside NoVa/Tidewater
Connie Brennan, Michael Breiner, Eric Ferguson, Carolyn Frank...these were all candidates that were supposed to push forward a blue-ward shift in areas like The Valley, Central Virginia, and Roanoke/Salem. None of these candidates won. Ferguson was the odds-on favorite and lost due to excellent grassroots work on the GOP side, Frank never had a campaign, Breiner faced candidate (Ralph Smith) who knocked off an incumbent (Brandon Bell) in a narrowly contested GOP primary and lost. Brennan never got any traction on the ground against Watt Abbitt. All of these candidates had problems with getting going with the grassroots, and it seems that in many areas outside of NoVa and the Tidewater region, the Dem grassroots just can't provide any push.
Governor Tim Kaine
The Gov scored well this year in his post-Va Tech leadership, raising his national profile by becoming a vocal support of Barack Obama's, and in attempting to put together a somewhat fiscally prudent budget, without tax increases, in the face of a revenue shortfall. However, his narrowing of abuser fees to Virginia drivers only, general misery on the transportation front, conflicting with harder-left Dems on taxes, and going back on a campaign promise by drawing from the transportation fund to cover budget expenses has made this a 50/50 year for the Governor.