Countywide

Democrats retake control of Virginia House, hold state Senate

Vote dividers at a Fairfax County polling place for the 2023 general election (file photo)

Propelled by a near-sweep of races in Northern Virginia, Democrats have retaken control of the Virginia House of Delegates and retained control of the state Senate.

With a few races still to be called early Wednesday, Democrats appear to have won at least 51 seats in the 100-member House and 21 seats in the 40-member state Senate, according to results compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. This will mark the third consecutive election that control of the House has shifted — Democrats wrested it away from Republicans in 2019 but lost it in 2021.

The final makeup of the Senate appears likely to remain very similar as Democrats currently hold a 22-18 majority. Late Tuesday night, only one Senate race was in doubt – in the Tidewater area’s 24th District. In that race, Republican Danny Diggs led incumbent Sen. Monty Mason by only 51 votes out of more than 60,000 cast — a margin that, if it holds, means the race is probably headed to a recount.

The House, meanwhile, will flip from a 52-48 Republican majority to at least a 51-49 Democratic majority, based on Tuesday’s unofficial results. Three House races, primarily in the Richmond and Tidewater areas, remained to be called early Wednesday morning.

The results are a repudiation to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, whose Spirit of Virginia PAC poured millions of dollars into key races in an effort to hold the House and win control of the Senate. Youngkin hoped that control of both houses of the General Assembly would allow him to further his legislative agenda, including banning abortions after 15 weeks, except in certain cases.

Many national observers also thought that GOP victories Tuesday could lead Youngkin to make a late entry into the 2024 presidential election.

Emphasizing the importance of the Northern Virginia suburbs, Youngkin wrapped up the campaign with a rally in Leesburg on Monday night and an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning from Manassas.

Redistricting following the 2020 Census moved more seats to rapidly growing Northern Virginia, although nearly a third of legislators statewide retired or decided not to seek reelection because they were placed into districts with fellow legislators. State and national Democrats also poured millions of dollars into the campaigns, which were the most expensive in Virginia history.

As was expected, Democrats won all the General Assembly seats in Fairfax and Arlington counties and the city of Alexandria, along with those in eastern Prince William County and eastern Loudoun County, which have become more Democratic in recent years.

Democrats also picked up two competitive Senate seats in the western suburbs – the 30th District in Prince William, won by Del. Danica Roem, and the 31st District in Loudoun and Fauquier counties, captured by former CIA officer and prosecutor Russet Perry.  Winning at least one of those seats was considered critical to GOP efforts to take the Senate.

On the House side, meanwhile, most of the highly competitive races were downstate, but the parties split two open western Prince William seats — with Democrat Josh Thomas capturing the 21st District and Republican Ian Lovejoy the 22nd District. Lovejoy and Del.-elect Geary Higgins of western Loudoun’s 30th District will be the only Republicans in the region’s legislative delegation.

Democrats also retained control of county boards of supervisors in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, and in the tightest board chair race, in Prince William, Democrat Deshundra Jefferson defeated Republican Jeanine Lawson. Democratic board chairs in Loudoun and Fairfax won reelection.

The Democrats’ win in the House means that Del. Don Scott of Portsmouth will probably become the first Black speaker of the House.

“We’ve been telling you all since day one that Democrats had the message, the candidates and the momentum to put a stop to the extreme Republicans’ agenda. And that’s what we did tonight,” Scott said, according to a statement released by the party. “Our candidates reflect the future of the commonwealth. They are products of the communities they’ll be representing. They are trusted community leaders.”

House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring of Alexandria said in the statement, “This victory shows that Virginia is ready for leaders looking to move our commonwealth forward and not backwards.”

Del. Dan Helmer of Fairfax, who led the Democratic caucus campaign committee, said the group raised over $17 million for candidates. “This win sends a message to Governor Youngkin and to MAGA Republicans across the nation that there is no place for their extreme agenda in Virginia,” Helmer added.

This article was written by FFXnow’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.