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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

VA election recap

2023 Virginia Elections Summary

On November 7th, people around the country went to the polls for various state and local elections. Most eyes, however, were glued to the legislative elections right here in Virginia. Republicans looked to finally flip the State Senate in order to be able to help pass Governor Youngkin’s agenda more effectively. However, the results did not play out in Republicans’ favor and they not only failed to gain the State Senate, but the House of Delegates fell back into Democratic control. 

 

Despite President Biden’s unpopularity, redistricting, and the Virginia GOP winning the House of Delegates, Governorship, and other executive offices in 2021, Democrats were able to deliver a sound defeat to them this election. Not just crushing the GOP’s hope to pass several key pieces of legislation but also dealing a significant blow to Youngkin’s political clout, as he was considered a possible late Republican entry for President up until this point. But why? Most experts are pointing to the issue of abortion. Ever since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, Virginia is now the only state in the South without major restrictions on abortion (It is legal up to 25 weeks in the Commonwealth). Governor Youngkin had made a 15 week ban a major part of his agenda, despite 49% of Virginians not wanting the law changed, with 23% wanting fewer restrictions on abortion (according to the Wason Center). Democrats campaigned heavily on abortion rights and painted Youngkin and the VA GOP as extremists.

 

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Democrats were able to get a net gain of 3 seats in the House and only lose one seat in the State Senate. The only incumbent Democrat to lose his seat was State Senator Monty Mason, who represents parts of James County and Newport News (including CNU), York County, Poquoson, and Williamsburg. Mason lost to Republican and former York County-Poquoson Sheriff Danny Diggs. 

Other election results across the country saw Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (D) and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) win re-election. Philadelphia elected its first female Mayor, Cherelle Parker. A member of the Exonerated 5, Yusef Salaam won a seat on the New York City Council. The Libertarian Party won its first major mayorship in the country when Lucy Wiu was elected Mayor of Wichita. Ohio voters voted overwhelmingly to protect abortion rights and legalize marijuana in referendums. Despite a good night for Democrats, the 2024 election still is looking like a competitive race and doubts over President Biden’s ability to defeat former President Donald Trump grow.

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