Virginia’s Democratic delegation is a sign of a changing state, but will the trend last?

Virginia’s Democratic delegation is a sign of a changing state, but will the trend last?
Sen. Tim Kaine and congressional candidate Abigail Spanberger campaigned together in Louisa the week before Election Day. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

WASHINGTON — After the GOP’s trouncing in Virginia last November, Democrats and Republicans alike are declaring the long-purple state at least a light shade of blue.

Virginia’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, sworn in last week, is the bluest it’s been since 1995, when the Republican Revolution swept out Democratic incumbents across the country. Three of the newly elected Virginia Democrats are women — the most the state has ever sent to Congress.

“It’s a new day,” said Rick Boucher, a Democrat who represented southwest Virginia’s 9th District for 28 years before he was ousted by Republican U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith in 2011.

The House delegation that included seven Republicans and four Democrats in the last Congress flipped in the November elections, part of a national trend that put Democrats in control of the chamber this year. Now, the Virginia delegation’s Democrats outnumber Republicans seven to four. Add in the two senators — Mark Warner and Tim Kaine — and Virginia’s congressional Democrats now outnumber Republicans nine to four.

Virginia has become “solidly Democratic, as is revealed by statewide elections over the last decade,” added Boucher, who’s now a partner at the Washington law firm, Sidley Austin LLP.

The shift is sudden, but some politicians and experts say it reflects a broader trend of the state steering to the left.