Just one year after President Joe Biden won the state by 10+ points, the Virginia House of Delegates is poised to end up in a 50-50 split or flip for the GOP after Republicans clinched at least five seats previously held by Democrats that they needed to close the gap.
The Tuesday victory follows the state’s pattern of giving the party that doesn’t control the White House big gains in the state legislature. Democrats have gripped the state House for the last two years after some of their endangered legislators on the ballot this year barely won their districts last election. Now Republicans, despite their competitors’ efforts to outraise them, have made a comeback and closed on the 10-seat gap created in 2019.
Democrat State House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said before the election that her party was using their recently passed leftist laws as a campaigning point to win over voters and even insisted “the majority is safe.” The left’s inability to appeal to voters and address the issues plaguing Virginians such as education and rising crime, however, failed to give her the win she had falsely predicted.
While the Democrats were in power, leftist legislators passed dozens of bills endorsing progressive policies such as bumping up the minimum wage, enacting gun restrictions through red-flag legislation and carrying bans, legalizing marijuana, cracking down on what they labeled “police brutality,” and repealing the state’s mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period for abortions. These Virginia lawmakers also took advantage of the panic surrounding COVID-19 to justify looser voting laws that eliminate security measures such as voter ID from the state’s election processes and expand voting by mail to anyone.
In addition to winning big in the House, Republican candidate for Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, who is the first black woman elected statewide, Republican candidate for Attorney General Jason Miyares, and Republican candidate for Gov. Glenn Youngkin also pulled out a clean, red sweep of the state, restoring the state GOP and its down-ballot partners to power. They leave behind control of the state Senate to Democrats who hold only a razor-thin margin and face elections next year.