Republican Glen Sturtevant beat Democrat Dan Gecker to take the Virginia 10th district Senate seat left vacant by the retirement of John Watkins.
While Gecker held a lead with more than 75 percent of precincts reporting, Powhatan swung the balance in Sturtevant's favor and the Associated Press called the race shortly after 9 p.m. While Sturtevant gave a victory speech, Gecker refused to concede the race until the State Board of Elections posted the results. Those results finally came in around 10:30 p.m.
The win means Republicans will retain control of the Senate and the House of Delegates. The 10th district race was one of just a few key contested races in the Senate. While Republicans hold a commanding lead in the House of Delegates, the margin is just two seats in the State Senate. If Democrats had been able to pick up just one seat to force a 20-20 tie in the Senate, the party would effectively have control with Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam casting a tie-breaking vote.
Instead, the win gives Republicans leverage to fend off Gov. Terry McAuliffe's legislative agenda, which includes gun control measures and expanding Medicare coverage.
Sturtevant will replace Sen. Watkins, who is retiring after 27 years in the Senate seat. Gecker, Sturtevant, Independent Marleen Durfee and Libertarian Carl Loser have never served in statewide office.
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