Democrats Complete Historic Sweep into Majority in Both Chambers of Virginia Legislature

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - NOVEMBER 05: Virginia voters exit a polling station at Nottingham E
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Democrats swept into the majority in the Virginia state legislature, in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate, taking majorities in both in Tuesday’s elections.

Republicans had held one-seat majorities in both chambers until Tuesday, when Democrats in the Tuesday elections flipped a number of competitive seats from GOP to Democrat control.

In the State Senate, Democrats now have at least 21 seats, while Republicans have at least 18 seats, and the GOP leads in one final yet-to-be-called race. In the House of Delegates, Democrats won 53 seats and Republicans won 43 seats. Democrats lead one yet-to-be-called delegate race, and Republicans lead two such races.

Democrats already have control of the governor’s mansion, the lieutenant governor’s office, and attorney general’s office–these three offices were not on the ballot in 2019 and won’t be again until 2021–but Tuesday’s sweep into majorities in both chambers of the legislature marks the first time since 1993 Democrats have consolidated complete control in Richmond.

It also comes as Democrats control both U.S. Senate seats in Virginia, as Republicans have fallen short in recent years on that front, and now a majority of the U.S. House seats from the state after the 2018 midterm elections. A Republican has not won a statewide election in Virginia since 2009, according to the Washington Post, and the last time a Republican won the state in a presidential election was George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

Democrats outspent and outgunned Republicans in the state this cycle, blowing away the GOP in the Old Dominion state, according to the Post:

Democrats consolidated power in Richmond for the first time in a generation, completing the political evolution of a Southern state on Washington’s doorstep from red to blue.

Both U.S. Senators, a majority of the congressional delegation and all three statewide office holders are Democrats and the state went Democratic in the last three presidential elections. Republicans have not won a statewide contest since 2009.

National Democratic organizations and interest groups – from gun control to women’s rights to clean energy – carpeted the state with money, boosting suburban legislative races to the spending level of congressional elections.

What’s more, former President Barack Obama and other top Democrats were engaged at an usually microscopic level–the former president personally endorsed a number of state legislative candidates for both the House of Delegates and the State Senate–in a way nominal leaders of a political party usually do not:

Now that Democrats have complete control in Richmond, it remains to be seen what exactly they will do with that power. But the Democrat Party in Virginia has been rocked by scandals all year, as earlier this year photographs of Gov. Ralph Northam from his yearbook showing a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan outfit emerged. Northam has admitted to wearing blackface on other occasions, as has Attorney General Mark Herring.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has fended off accusations from women that he sexually assaulted them, something that resurfaced in nasty campaign ads for the state legislature in the final days of this campaign.


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