There were no changes to the Virginia House or Senate control this election as Republicans kept their majority despite this being the most expensive off-year election in Virginia history.
The Republican victory comes as a blow to Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who needed to gain control of at least one of the chambers in the General Assembly to more easily impose his legislative agenda in the state. The governor will now have to continue the final two years of his first term as governor with a divided government.
In the critical contest for Virginia’s 10th senate district, Republican candidate Glen Sturtevant edged out Democrat Dan Gecker by about 2 percent of the popular vote, allowing Republicans keep control of the chamber on Tuesday.
Despite a strong showing for Gecker in the City of Richmond, Sturtevant got large margins of victory in Powhatan and Chesterfield counties, including in the Midlothian region, where his opponent served for eight years on the Board of Supervisors.
Sturtevant’s victory means that the seat, previously held by retiring Republican John Watkins, will remain under Republican control despite Sturtevant winning by the smallest margin of any candidate in this year’s senate races.
The crucial race seemed like the Democrats’ best chances to regain control of the senate, where they needed only a net gain of one seat to be even with Republicans at 20 seats each. If that were the case, the Democratic Lieutenant Governor would have essentially served as the tiebreaker, which would have been a virtual majority for Democrats.
In District 16, which has constituency in part of Richmond, Democrat Rosalyn Dance saw off her challenger, Joseph Morrissey (I) with 72 percent of the vote. In another senate race that had constituency in Richmond, District 9 Democrat Donald McEachin won reelection after running unopposed.
In Northern Virginia, the second closest senate battle in the state took place. First-time candidate Jill McCabe came relatively close, but was unable to pull off the unlikely win against Republican Dick Black by a 5 percent margin. The Loudoun County seat has been held by a Republican since 1992.
Republicans also easily retained their 2-1 majority of the House of Delegates, where elections are held every two years for each seat. In house districts with constituents from Richmond, every incumbent was reelected.
In District 68, Republican Delegate Manoli Loupassi kept his seat by winning more than 60 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Bill Grogan, while districts 69 and 70, held by Democratic Senators Betsy Carr and Delores McQuinn respectively did not see challenges to their positions.
In districts 71 and 74, Democrats Jennifer Mcclellan and Lamont Bagby rolled over their independent challengers with 87 and 77 percent of votes respectively.