Democrats are projected to maintain control of the Virginia Senate and state’s House of Delegates in legislative elections that shaped up to be a major ballot test for the political capital of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
After 11:25 p.m. Tuesday, The Associated Press projected Democrats would keep the state Senate. Later in the night, the AP projected Democrats would gain control of the state House of Delegates.
Going into the elections, Republicans held a slim 52-48 majority in the state House of Delegates, while Democrats held an equally slim 22-17 majority in the state Senate. One Senate seat was vacated by a Republican member.
Tuesday marked the first election since the Virginia Supreme Court approved the new legislative district map in December 2021, as voters cast ballots for all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly.
Democratic President Joe Biden reportedly endorsed 23 of his party’s candidates in battleground districts and sent out fundraising emails that claimed, “Governor Glenn Youngkin and extreme Republicans have made it clear that they’re trying to take our country back on issues like choice.”
Democrats blanketed airwaves with pro-abortion campaign ads throughout the cycle to rally the party’s base to the polls, as off-year elections generally rely on parties’ bases more than swing voters. Youngkin supports restricting abortion to the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, which would make the state consistent with most Western European countries.
Youngkin won in November 2021, defeating former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe after running on education-related issues.
Noting that Democrats have had an advantage in early and absentee voting in the past elections, Youngkin and Virginia Republicans promoted early voting and absentee voting in the state as part of a “Secure Your Vote” initiative. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump discouraged mail-in voting, even as Democrats were heavily pushing it.
Among the most closely watched Virginia races flagged by ABC News, The Associated Press, and other national media:
- Democrat Susanna Gibson appeared to be leading in a razor-thin race against Republican David Owen, according to live results posted on the Virginia Public Access Project. In one of the most controversial races in Virginia, Gibson had to defend pornographic videos that she made with her husband and posted online before running for office. She faced Owen for the House District 57 seat in suburban Richmond. It was among the most expensive races, with the candidates raising a combined $2.5 million.
- Democratic challenger Schuyler VanValkenburg was projected to have defeated state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, a Republican for the Senate District 16 seat, according to The Associated Press.
- Democrat Russet Perry was projected to have defeated Republican Juan Pablo Segura, both first-time candidates, in the race for the Senate District 31 seat, according to Inside NoVa, a news site that covers Northern Virginia. The candidates raised a combined $6.3 million.
- Republican Danny Diggs was locked in a close race in challenging incumbent Democratic state Sen. Monty Mason for the Senate District 24 seat, according to The Washington Post tracking of the race, but Mason had a slight edge.
- Democrat Josh Thomas was projected to have defeated Republican John Stirrup for an open House District 21 race in Prince William County in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
- In House District 82, before midnight, Republican Rep. Kim Taylor was leading Democrat challenger Kimberly Pope Adams, competing to represent the Petersburg area, according to The Washington Post.
This article has been updated after publication to reflect new election projections.
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