The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Democrats retain control of the Virginia Senate

<p>Graphic design Helen Mei.&nbsp;</p>

Graphic design Helen Mei. 

After a series of victories, The Collegian now projects that the Democrats maintain control of the Virginia State Senate. Democrats have reached the 21-seat threshold necessary to keep control of the chamber. 

Key races that contributed to this victory included Senate District 16, where Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg defeated incumbent Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, a Republican. Democrats also won in state Senate District 31, where Democrat Russet Perry defeated Republican Juan Pablo Segura. 

The result has major implications, specifically for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who intended to pursue a 15-week ban on abortion if Republicans won back the chamber. Senate Democrats have previously used their majority to block bills restricting abortion access. 

Additionally, Gov. Youngkin has been subject to rumors about presidential ambitions, and this defeat in the Senate strips Gov. Youngkin of the opportunity to tout the flipping of the chamber ahead of the upcoming 2024 presidential elections.

With recent polls showing President Joe Biden trailing former President Donald Trump in key states, experts anticipated the Virginia elections could serve as a bellwether for the upcoming election cycle. 

In June, Gov. Youngkin launched “Secure Your Vote,” a campaign dedicated to getting Virginia Republicans to vote early, a group that typically votes in person on Election Day, according to CBS News. If Republicans were able to flip control of the Senate and maintain their current control of the House of Delegates, they would have held a Republican trifecta in the state government.

The two parties now face it out in the House of Delegates, where Republicans are playing defense in trying to protect their majority. Currently, Democrats have won 48 seats in the House of Delegates, and Republicans have won 41 seats. Either party will need to win 51 seats in order to reach a majority.

Contact city & state editor Nick Mossman at nick.mossman@richmond.edu. 

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