Democrats won full control of both houses of Virginia’s General Assembly in Tuesday’s elections, dealing a major blow to the state’s Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin in a legislative race that drew national attention and major spending.
According to the Associated Press, Democrats in Virginia maintained their narrow majority in the state’s Senate, while also flipping the House of Delegates.
All of the state’s 140 legislative seats were on the ballot on Tuesday night.
Democrats had campaigned heavily on protecting abortion rights in the state and pushing back against Youngkin’s and the GOP’s efforts to establish a 15-week ban on the procedure.
While celebrating their big win at a watch party in Richmond, Democratic State Sens. Mamie Locke and Scott Surovell held up blue bricks representing their so-called “brick wall” against Youngkin’s agenda.
The Democratic victory is a major political blow to Youngkin who is seen as a rising national star by the GOP and campaigned heavily to secure both chambers for his party.
“It’s official: there will be absolutely no abortion ban legislation sent to Glenn Youngkin’s desk for the duration of his term in office, period, as we have thwarted MAGA Republicans’ attempt to take total control of our government and our bodies,” Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said.
Tuesday’s results once again highlighted the potency of abortion rights as an issue to mobilize the Democratic base. Virginia remains the only Southern state that has not enacted new abortion restrictions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. The state’s GOP legislators and Youngkin attempted to change that by pushing a 15-week abortion ban, with exceptions for rape, incest and threat to the mother’s life. Youngkin campaigned heavily around the proposal and hoped a clean sweep of the state’s legislature would further enhance his growing stardom within the Republican party. In September, CBS News reported that Youngkin was being pushed to run in the GOP presidential race by several top anti-Trump Republicans—although the Virginia Governor has not announced any plans to run. Despite this, some argued he could become the party’s automatic candidate in 2028 if the results in the Virginia elections went his way.
Democrats Take Control of Virginia Legislature (New York Times)