The elections held Tuesday, November 6, 2018 resulted in record voter turnout numbers in many states, including Virginia. Registrars in one Virginia Congressional district compared this year’s turnout to a presidential election turnout. Voters came out in high numbers on both sides, which resulted in several nail-biting races in Virginia and throughout the country.
Republicans retained control of the Senate and while some races are still too close to call, it appears they will expand their majority when the votes are all counted. They took out three Democratic incumbent Senators, including Senators Claire McCaskill, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp. In Texas, Senator Ted Cruz narrowly won re-election against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine easily cruised to victory against Republican challenger Corey Stewart, wining 57% of the vote.
Notable Congressional Elections
Perhaps the biggest news from last night is that the Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives. Virginia played a major role in accomplishing this. Democrats were able to flip three Republican Congressional seats. Democrats now represent seven of Virginia’s 11 congressional seats.
In District 10, which encompasses parts of Northern Virginia and some suburbs outside of Washington, D.C., Virginia State senator Jennifer Wexton (D) defeated the incumbent, Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R). This was one of the first races called of the night, with Wexton winning over 56% of the vote.
While we knew District 2 would be close, it is still a surprise to many that the Democratic challenger, Elaine Luria, was able to defeat the incumbent, Congressman Scott Taylor. This district is usually reliably Republican, but Luria won a narrow victory with 51.1% of the vote.
Virginia’s District 7 received a lot of national attention and was an extremely close race. Abigail Spanberger, the Democratic challenger, beat incumbent Dave Brat by about 5,000 votes. At this time, Congressman Brat has not conceded. Two voter precincts in this district were ordered by a judge to stay open until 9pm due to long lines.
The Democrats picked up six seats in gubernatorial races, including Wisconsin where Republican Scott Walker lost his re-election. The race between Stacey Abrams (D) and Brian Kemp (R) in Georgia has received a lot of national media attention. At this time, it appears that Kemp will win, but Abrams has said she will not concede until the absentee ballots are all counted. The voter turnout numbers were not the only historic aspect of last night’s elections. A record number of women have won seats in the House of Representatives. At this time, it appears that at least 96 women were elected.
In Virginia, there was a special election for the House of Delegates for District 8, which is in the Roanoke region and very Conservative. Delegate Greg Habeeb resigned his seat this past summer. The Republican candidate, Joe McNamara easily won with over 61% of the vote.
Impact on Virginia
While there was not a national “blue wave” as many pollsters predicted, the results specifically in Virginia are different. Democrats flipped three Congressional seats and easily won the Senate race. In 2016, we were the only southern state to go to Hillary Clinton. Last year, the Democrats won an unprecedented 15 seats in our House of Delegates. The results from last night confirm that the Virginia electorate is turning bluer in the cities and suburban areas. Republicans in Virginia will be paying very close attention to this as our entire General Assembly is up for election next November.
With Senator Jennifer Wexton and Delegate Ben Cline winning their Congressional races, there will now be an opening in the Senate and one in the House of Delegates. There will be a special election to elect these offices. Delegate Jennifer Boysko, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, is planning to run for the open Senate seat. If she does indeed win that, there will then be a special election for her House seat. We will keep you updated as we learn more.