President Joe Biden and VA gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe join hands with Hala Ayala, a member of the VA House of Delegates, the state's attorney general, and McAuliffe's wife in July 2021.

President Joe Biden and VA gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe campaign with Hala Ayala, a member of the VA House of Delegates, in July 2021. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

  • Virginia Democrats are fighting to maintain their control of the House of Delegates.

  • Democrats are just five seats away from losing their 55-45 majority in the chamber.

  • Polls in Virginia closed at 7 pm ET. Follow along for live results.

What’s at stake:

The gubernatorial race between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin has garnered the most attention out of the 2021 elections in Virginia. But the battle for control of the state legislature is also a key test of Democratic strength in the Old Dominion State and has broad implications for whoever is elected governor.

Decision Desk HQ projects that Democrats will hold 47 of the chamber’s 100 seats while Republicans have won 49, putting them in striking distance of taking back the majority. Control of the chamber is still too close to call, with four races yet to be decided, including the competitive Democratic-held 28th, 85th, and 91st districts.

Virginia, once a thoroughly conservative southern state, turned blue at the presidential level in 2008 and has since only backed Democratic presidential nominees. Much of the leftward movement in the state is concentrated in the state’s growing and diversifying suburbs, particularly in Northern Virginia. The blue shift took longer to materialize down-ballot, and traditionally, the party in the White House has faced a tougher environment in Virginia’s off-year elections.

In 2019, following a national anti-Trump blue wave in the midterms, Democrats won control of both of Virginia’s state legislative chambers for the first time in two decades. They came close in 2017, but a tied race decided by a random drawing went to the Republican candidate and gave the GOP a 51-seat majority in the chamber.

Democrats held 55 seats in the chamber compared to Republicans’ 45 going into the election, putting them just five seats away from losing their majority.

As of Wednesday morning, Republicans flipped control of the Blacksburg-based 12th District, held by Del. Chris Hurst, the 63rd District, held by Del. Lashrecse Aird, the 75th District, held by Del. Roslyn Tyler, and the 83rd District, represented by Del. Nancy Guy.

Democrats did narrowly retain control of the 10th District in Loudoun County, represented by Del. Wendy Gooditits, and the 73rd District, held by Del. Rodney Willett in the Richmond suburbs.

Since Democrats took control of Virginia’s House of Delegates nearly two years ago, the majority has passed a slew of progressive policies, including raising the minimum wage, abolishing the death penalty, legalizing marijuana, and mandating background checks for gun purchases.

Democrats had also gotten rid of some abortion restrictions, passed criminal justice reforms – including abolishing no-knock warrants and implementing minimum standards for police training, and created a goal of transitioning the state’s electric utilities to 100% green energy by 2050.

Republicans in Virginia focused their messaging on culture war issues, including fighting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and accusing Democrats of undermining the will of parents, and hoped to tie state lawmakers to President Joe Biden, whose approval rating has dipped to new lows in recent months amid rising inflation, slow-moving legislative negotiations in Washington, and the US’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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