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Virginia is "Bright Purple", in play in '24, and 2025 race is on!
Spanberger is in with Earle-Sears, Riggleman, and many more to come!
Some basic numbers on the 2023 General Assembly elections put together by Hollins University Professor and Political Science Department Chair Ed Lynch - passed along by Virginia Tech’s Robert Denton:
40 State Senate races
Democratic votes - 1,190,320
Republican votes - 1,178,918
Difference: 11,402, or 0.5% of the total
Subtract the 35 uncontested races (20D/15R)
Republicans won 832,213 to 821,933 (+10,280)
100 House of Delegates races
Democratic votes - 1,148,027
Republican votes - 1,132,063
Difference: 15,964 or 0.7% of the total.
The two closest House races (HD - 21 & 97) were decided by 1,826 votes.
A switch of 914 votes and the Republicans would have a majority in the House.
In the Senate, the two closest races (SD 30 & 31) were decided by 6,494 votes.
A switch of 3,248 votes and Republicans win Senate too.
given the fact that Biden won Virginia, according to the official returns, by over 10%, Democrats underperformed and they have good reason to worry about Virginia in 2024. Republicans, for their part, have good reason to be hopeful. This remains a closely (and bitterly) divided Commonwealth that is bright purple.
Before the election, the General Assembly had 70 Democrats and 70 Republicans. After the election, it will be 72 Democrats and 68 Republicans. The congressional delegation is 6 Democrats and 5 Republicans.
The 2023 election was not a referendum on Governor Glenn Youngkin - this is clear by the fact that the Democrats never ran ads attacking him. The debate in 2023 was about abortion. As this article points out, the Virginia GOP did much better on messaging the issue than Ohio and Kentucky. Consensus developing that the 15 week restriction (#NotABan) ad blitz should have been done earlier in the cycle.
Nonetheless, the election is viewed as a big loss for Youngkin who will now have to try to pass his legislate agenda and only budget with a House and Senate not of his party. All while the 2024 presidential election is firing up the bases of each major party. Meaning, he will get ZERO help from the Democrats. More on that dynamic later…#UGLY #TAXFIGHT
Delegate Don Scott will be the first African American Speaker of the House. I interviewed him earlier this year :
With a very slim majority, Scott’s leadership skills will be tested early. He not only has to run the House, but also will try to contain a young, progressive group of legislators who will want to satisfy their constituencies in order to fend off any primary challengers.
The House Republicans chose Todd Gilbert, the current Speaker, to lead their caucus in the House. Delegate Terry Kilgore lost the race for House Minority Leader and will no longer be a funding source for the House Rs who have a long history of poor fundraising compared to their Democratic counterparts. Kilgore is very upset at the results given all the votes he was told he had. Look for divisions in that caucus to fester and weaken the Governor’s hand.
In another first, the gavels of both the House and the Senate will be held by African Americans. Interesting to note, the building is designed such that both the Speaker and the Lt. Governor can see each other running their respective chambers while in session.
Senate Democrats select their leader this morning. Scott Surovell of Fairfax is considered to be the favorite over Mamie Locke of Hampton. But like all leadership elections, one never really knows. See above. #GeographyMatters Either way, Youngkin will have a very strained relationship with the Senate leadership.
Senate Republicans (none too pleased with the Governor’s team) are also having their leadership elections this morning. Ryan McDougle of Hanover and Mark Obenshain of Rockingham are vying for the post. It’s a toss up and no one is talking. First one to 10 votes wins.
Bottom line - Governor Youngkin has decisions to make. Until now, I have observed that Youngkin doesn’t make quick decisions - he makes good ones. But this is the second half of his only term as governor and he is 465 days or 15 months from the end of his last session around February 22, 2025. Neither time nor General Assembly relationships are on his side.
Speaking of 2025….
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger jumped in the race for Governor this week, so let’s mock up an early draft board for those three statewide races.
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger - declared
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney - likely to declare
Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan (ran before - very present on the campaign this cycle)
State Senator - Elect Jennifer Carroll Foy (ran before - nothing to lose)
Lt. Governor Winsome Earle-Sears - all but declared.
Attorney General Jason Miyares - highly likely as same odds for Gov as AG if either Dems or GOP win White House.
former Congressman Denver Riggleman - websites already reserved - rigglemanforgovernor.com, denver25.com, whiskeyrebellion.com, and bourbon rebellion.com
Who knows but early Over/Under is 5.5 candidates for Democrats, 4.5 for Republicans, and 1.5 for Third Party
Former Delegate Jay Jones - likely. Strong run in 2021. Got the silver in that nomination.
Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor - likely - has never pushed away the rumors
Fairfax Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano - rumored to want it
They will hold fire until Miyares decides.
Independents - pick ‘em. Toss up.