Democrats make vital good points in Virginia legislature; management of House in play


Karina Smith holds her son Kyler Smith, 2, as she fills out her poll at a polling place Tuesday in Alexandria, Va. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The Democratic wave in Virginia on Tuesday worn out the Republican majority within the state House of Delegates, throwing management of the chamber in play for the primary time since 2000 and placing Republicans in blue-tinged districts throughout the nation on alert for subsequent yr’s elections.

Democrats snared a minimum of 15 seats in an upset that shocked members of each events and arrived with nationwide implications.

Unofficial returns confirmed Democrats unseating a minimum of a dozen Republicans and flipping three seats that had been occupied by GOP incumbents who didn’t search reelection. Four different races had been so shut that they qualify for a recount, and the end result will decide management of the chamber. The outcomes marked probably the most sweeping shift in command of the legislature since Reconstruction.

Republicans, who’ve managed the chamber since 2000, went into Tuesday holding 66 of 100 seats. Democrats fielded probably the most candidates in latest reminiscence, together with a report variety of ladies.

Control of the chamber might not be decided for days as provisional ballots are counted in slender races.

Democrats want to carry one seat the place they’re narrowly main to make sure a 50-50 cut up the place energy sharing can be mandatory, and to choose up a further seat in a race eligible for a recount to take full management of the chamber.

Democrat Ralph Northam gained the Virginia governor’s race over Republican Ed Gillespie on Nov. 7. Here are another takeaways from the state’s election. (Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

The election signaled a significant shift within the gender of a physique lengthy dominated by males: Of the 15 seats Democrats flipped, all had been held by males and 11 had been gained by ladies. Several of these ladies made historical past.

One turned Virginia’s first overtly transgender particular person to win elective workplace, unseating an opponent of LGBT rights. Another turned the primary open bad elected to the House of Delegates, one other the primary Asian American girl and two, each from various Prince William County, are set to be the primary Latinas elected to the General Assembly.

“This is an unbelievable night,” mentioned House Minority Leader David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville) in an interview an hour after polls closed. “There were districts we didn’t think we had much of a shot in.”

[Why Democrats care about Virginia’s normally sleepy House of Delegate races]

Democrats benefited from gubernatorial contender Ralph Northam’s coattails: He gained by 9 share factors.

“Obviously, tonight was a difficult night, and the outcome is not what anyone expected,” mentioned Matt Moran, spokesman for the House Republican Caucus. “We also want to thank our colleagues and fellow Republican candidates who ran principled campaigns based on positive ideas in a difficult political environment. Our team is closely monitoring the canvbades that will take place tomorrow as we await the official results.”

Although House races are usually seen because the sleepy backwater to the gubernatorial contest, they generated a surge of curiosity this yr from activists energized by President Trump’s election and new teams that see the legislative contests as a possibility to check methods and applied sciences forward of subsequent yr’s elections.

Strategists mentioned the outcomes counsel bother for Republicans.

“This is a tidal wave,” mentioned David Wbaderman, an badyst who tracks U.S. House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “It’s hard to look at tonight’s results and to conclude anything other than that Democrats are the current favorite for control of the House in 2018.”

The highest-spending House of Delegates race was in southwest Virginia, the place former tv information anchor Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend was fatally shot throughout a dwell broadcast in 2015, challenged Republican incumbent Joseph Yost.

Both raised greater than $1 million for his or her bids, and Hurst gained.

[In southwest Virginia, a hotly contested race free of hyperpartisan toxicity]

A pair of Democratic incumbents simply fended off well-financed challenges by Republicans. Subba Kolla, who would have been the physique’s first Indian American lawmaker, misplaced to Del. John J. Bell in Loudoun County, and Heather Cordasco fell to Del. Michael P. Mullin in Hampton Roads.

Democrats flipped probably the most seats in Northern Virginia as Northam posted a powerful displaying within the populous area. If outcomes maintain, Democrats will maintain each delegate seat in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax and Prince William counties — and all however one in Loudoun County.

The greatest battleground for the House was Prince William, a Washington exurb the place individuals of coloration represent a majority of the inhabitants. A various group of 5 Democratic challengers hoped to channel demographic modifications and Democratic power to take seats held by white males — and all gained.

[In diverse Virginia suburb, Democrats hope to chart path back to power]

Danica Roem, who might be Virginia’s first overtly transgender elected official, defeated Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), a tradition warrior who opposes LGBT rights. Elizabeth Guzman, who raised more cash than any Democratic candidate apart from Hurst, unseated Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Woodbridge).

Republican Dels. Richard L. Anderson (Prince William) and Jackson H. Miller (Manbadas) misplaced to their Democratic challengers, Hala Ayala and Lee Carter. Ayala and Guzman are Latina, and Carter is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

In an open seat vacated by a retiring Republican, Democrat Jennifer Carroll Foy simply defeated Republican Michael Makee.

In Fairfax County, Democrat Kathy Tran, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, beat Republican Lolita Mancheno-Smoak for an open seat vacated by retiring Del. David B. Albo (R), whereas Democrat Karrie Delaney handily defeated Del. James M. LeMunyon (R). Del. Timothy D. Hugo, the Republican caucus chairman, was narrowly trailing Democratic challenger Donte Tanner, and the outcomes had been throughout the margin for a state-funded recount. Hugo picked up 100 votes throughout a Fairfax County canvbad on Wednesday morning.

[More mothers of young children running for office in Virginia]

With almost all precincts reporting in Loudoun County, Del. Thomas A. “Tag” Greason (R) was set to lose to Democratic challenger David Reid in that county’s best race in a district that Hillary Clinton carried by 19 factors a yr in the past.

Greason’s fellow Loudoun County lawmaker, Del. J. Randall Minchew, misplaced his seat to Democratic challenger Wendy Gooditis. Another Loudoun County Republican lawmaker, David A. LaRock, defeated his Democratic challenger, Tia Walbridge — and will be the lone Republican left representing Northern Virginia within the House.

In the Richmond suburbs, Dels. John M. O’Bannon III and G. Manoli Loupbadi misplaced their seats to Debra Rodman and Dawn Adams, who’s overtly bad. Democrat Schuyler T. VanValkenburg gained an open seat vacated by Republican Jimmie Mbadie III.

In the Virginia Beach space, Del. Ronald A. Villanueva misplaced to Democrat Kelly Fowler, whereas N.D. “Rocky” Holcomb III misplaced to Cheryl Turpin in a squeaker. Del. Glenn R. Davis Jr. narrowly pulled out a win for reelection.

Republicans had been barely main in three contests that had been within the margin for a recount, together with within the race to succeed retiring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). Del. David Yancey (R-Newport News) led Shelly Simonds by solely 12 votes.

Even if Democrats fall in need of taking management of the chamber this yr, they see a possible for extra pickups subsequent yr, if a court docket problem of legislative district maps forces particular elections, and in 2019 when all 100 seats are on the poll once more.

Republicans have a slender 21-to-19 majority within the state Senate, the place all seats are up in 2019.

Control of the governor’s mansion and legislature in Virginia has nationwide implications. The General Assembly will draw congressional and state legislative district maps after the 2020 Census, and the governor has the facility to veto these maps.

Maria Sacchetti and Jenna Portnoy contributed to this report.

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