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Virginia Democrats flip both houses of General Assembly from red to blue
Democrats will now have total control of reapportionment after 2020 census
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
RICHMOND (CFP) — Democrats have won majorities in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates for the first time in 24 years, completing a takeover of state government that will give them total control of the reapportionment process after the 2020 census.
Democrats won 21 of the 40 seats in the Senate and 54 of the 100 seats in the House in the November 5 vote.
Coupled with the Democratic sweep of all three statewide offices in 2017 and flipping three U.S. House seats in 2018, Tuesday’s result is the latest evidence that political control Old Dominion has slipped away from the GOP and into Democratic hands.
The two legislative chambers in Virginia will also be the only two under Democratic control anywhere in the South; Republicans control the other 26.
Heading into the election, Republicans held a 21-to-19 majority in the Senate and a 51-to-49 majority in the House. Democrats needed to flip two seats to control the House and one seat to control the Senate, where Democratic Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax holds the tie-breaking vote.
Their gain in the House was five seats, while they picked up two in the Senate.
As they did in 2017 and 2018, Democrats picked up seats in suburbs of Washington, D.C., Richmond and Hampton Roads. Among the casualties was last Republican left representing a district in the inner D.C. suburbs, Delegate Tim Hugo from Fairfax County, who has been in the legislature for the last 17 years.
The top ranking Republican in the House, Speaker Kirk Cox from Colonial Heights, had to battle to keep his seat, surviving with a narrow 4-point victory that will return him to Richmond, though not to the speaker’s chair.
Republicans retained House control after the 2017 election only after one of their candidates, David Yancey, won a drawing by lot after his race against Democrat Shelly Simonds ended in a tie. This time around in a rematch, Simonds easily beat Yancey, taking nearly 57 percent of the vote.
In addition to now controlling the legislature, Democrats also hold both of Virginia’s U.S. Senate seats, the governorship, and seven out of 11 seats in the congressional delegation. Democrats have also won the last three presidential elections in the state.
With control of the legislature and governorship, Democrats will be in complete control of reapportionment after the 2020 census, allowing them to protect the gains they have made by drawing favorable maps for the next decade.