Monday, June 24, 2024

Dems Take Victory Lap after Narrow Wins to Secure Va. Legislature

'We had hoped for a stronger outcome this evening but are proud of the effort all of our candidates put in to these extremely competitive districts...'

(Virginia Democrats are taking victory laps after securing narrow majorities in both legislative chambers—flipping the House of Delegates and essentially paralyzing Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s agenda.

In unofficial results just before 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, Democrats had majorities of 21-19 in the Senate and 51-49 in the House of Delegates. All seats were on the ballot. Only three Senate precincts and four House precincts were yet to report; both chamber majorities had been called by the Associated Press.

Pivotal to the House flip were wins by Michael Feggans over incumbent Karen Greenhalgh in Virginia Beach, and Joshua Cole over Lee Peters in Stafford County.

A closely-watched race in Henrico County went to Republican David Owen over Democrat Susanna Gibson, an embattled candidate linked to internet pornography.

Democrats bet heavily on touting abortion as a winning strategy following the GOP’s dismal performance in last year’s midterm elections, a strategy that also worked in Ohio where the issue was an amendment on the ballot.

In contrast, Republicans hoped highlighting parental rights would garner similar results as it did in the 2021 elections—catapulting the commonwealth’s GOP leadership into the national spotlight.

Republicans’ plans to reverse course from following California’s 2035 gas vehicle ban and approving a 15-week abortion ban will have to wait. Virginia will be the only state in the South without abortion restrictions.

“Voters across Virginia voted for leadership that will protect their abortion rights, keep guns out of the wrong hands, and lower costs for Virginia’s families,” said Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, in a statement. “Thank you to all the voters who showed up at the polls and voted for our Democratic candidates.”

In addition to underscoring abortion, Swecker accused Republicans of trying to suppress votes in the commonwealth.

She said voters rejected “right-wing MAGA extremism,” echoing national party talking points. Swecker congratulated the party for holding the “blue brick wall” in Virginia.

Dave Rexrode, chairman of Youngkin’s political action committee, said on social media the results would be assessed on Wednesday. The governor predicted a legislative sweep for his party after polls closed.

“We had hoped for a stronger outcome this evening but are proud of the effort all of our candidates put in to these extremely competitive districts,” he wrote on social media.

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