Virginia government shifts with Democrats dominating Election Day

by Rodney Robinson, Capital News Service - Posted on Nov 06, 2019 - 02:44 PM

Democrats have taken control of the Virginia General Assembly, flipping both the Senate and House blue. 

“Tonight, the ground has shifted in Virginia government,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a press release late Tuesday. “The voters have spoken, and they have elected landmark Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.”

Key House victories

Democrats grabbed six additional seats, giving them a 55-45 lead in the House.

In House District 94, Democrat Shelly Simonds defeated Republican incumbent David Yancey in a rematch from 2017. Simonds garnered 58 percent of the votes for the district, while Yancey earned 40 percent, according to unofficial election returns. 

In House District 76, Democratic candidate Clint Jenkins defeated Republican incumbent Chris Jones. Jenkins tallied 56 percent of the vote, while Jones gathered 44 percent.  

Democrat Martha Mugler won House District 91, an open seat previously held by Republican Gordon Helsel since 2011. Mugler garnered 55 percent of the vote in the district and Republican Colleen Holcomb won 45 percent of the vote.  

In House District 40, Republican incumbent Tim Hugo lost to Democratic challenger Dan Helmer. Helmer accumulated 53 percent of the vote to Hugo’s 47 percent.   

In House District 28, Democrat Joshua Cole defeated Republican Paul Milde in an open seat. Cole amassed 52 percent of the vote, while Milde won 48 percent.

Democrat Nancy Guy won House District 83, defeating Republican incumbent Chris Stolle. Guy garnered 49.95 percent of the vote, while Stolle earned 49.87 percent.

Key Senate victories

In the Senate, Democrats gained two seats previously held by Republicans. They will now lead the chamber, 21-19.  

In Senate District 13, Democratic candidate John Bell defeated Republican candidate Geary Higgins. Bell garnered 55 percent of the vote in the district, while Higgins gathered 45 percent.

Democratic challenger Ghazala Hashmi defeated Republican incumbent Glen Sturtevant to flip Senate District 10. It was a tight race throughout, but Hashmi garnered 54 percent of the vote in the district.

Though the Democrats celebrated many wins, they fell short of flipping some competitive districts. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) fought off Democratic challenger Sheila Bynum-Coleman, despite redistricting which left House District 66 more Democratic. In a competitive race not called until well after midnight, Republican Siobhan Dunnavant maintained her seat in Senate District 12, in a tight race against Debra Rodman.

The last time Virginia Democrats controlled the House, Senate and governor’s mansion was in the mid-1990s. This trifecta could make it easier for the party to pass its agenda.

“Since I took office two years ago, we have made historic progress as a Commonwealth,” Northam said. “Tonight, Virginians made it clear they want us to continue building on that progress.”