Virginia Democrats flip house, maintain senate control

Democrats dominated Election Night and seized the Virginia Statehouse.
Published: Nov. 8, 2023 at 2:37 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2023 at 2:47 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Democrats dominated Election Night and seized the Virginia Statehouse. And with that win, a Republican 15-week potential abortion ban is now off the table.

“Voters made that message loud and clear yesterday and showed up to protect and stand up against attacks on our reproductive freedoms,” said Rae Cousins, (D) Delegate-Elect, House District 79.

Democrats kept control of the state Senate and flipped the House of Delegates.

Two races in the metro Richmond area had a helping hand in that. Democrats took a competitive senate seat in Henrico County and one House seat.

“I think what last night’s victory indicates is absolute support in our district for the values that we, Henrico Democrats, are bringing to the table,” said Rodney Willett, (D) Delegate-Elect House District 58.

University of Virginia Center for Politics executive director Larry Sabato says results from election night show abortion and how Republicans are handling the topic drove people to the polls.

Sabato says since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, Democrats have benefited from it nationally and in the Commonwealth.

“As a result, they’re voting democratic even when normally they might lean Republican or independent or whatever else on the ballot. This is going to be a continuing problem for Republicans,” said Larry Sabato, UVA Center for Politics.

What do the next two years look like at the Virginia Statehouse?

Sabato says from the executive side, Governor Youngkin will have to rely on executive orders. But Democrats and Republicans in both chambers must work together to pass legislation.

Sabato says Youngkin can either work with Democrats or look ahead to 2028 presidential aspirations.

“I’m a bipartisan leader. That’s the reason I’m sitting here. It’s a split district, and I reflect a bipartisan approach. So we’ll find common ground,” said Willett.

All 140 members of the Virginia General Assembly will be sworn in when the new session reconvenes on Jan. 10, 2024.