Forget the governor’s race, the House of Delegates was the real story
Everyone was talking about Democrat Ralph Northam’s landslide in the Governor’s race. The real story, however, was in the House of Delegates, where Democrats may have picked up more than 15 seats in a sweep — their largest pickup since 1877. Northam will find it much easier to push his agenda if Republicans have a majority of a single seat, as opposed to 16. He’d prefer yet if the two parties were tied in the chamber and had to come to a power sharing agreement.
One thing is for sure, the House will look like a different place when it reconvenes in January. Eleven women picked up seats from white men in the election, which means 27 women will serve in the body next year, the most ever. Danica Roem will be the first transgender state legislator in the country when she is sworn in.
Young people turned out and it helped Democrats
A boosted turnout among young voters was the focus of efforts by outside groups like NextGen America, whose aggressive campaign to turn out college students was the subject of a CT investigation in October.
Maybe NextGen’s ends justified the means. According to a VPAP generalization, districts which are located on or adjacent to college campuses had almost a 35 percent turnout, compared to 26 percent in 2013 — A whopping 72 percent of those voters went for Northam. 39 percent turned out in districts where voters less than 40 years old account for 60 percent of the registered population, more than eight percent higher than in 2013. Those voters went for Northam by more than 64 percent.
The suburbs made up their mind
No one would have guessed 15 years ago that Virginia’s suburbs would deliver the race for a Democratic candidate in governor’s race, but here we are.
59 percent of voters in the once red Loudoun County went for Northam — This was a district Democrats won by 5 percentage points in 2013. Northam also won Virginia Beach by 5 percent, the first time a Democrat won the usually-red city since Tim Kaine did in his gubernatorial run 2005. Fairfax and Prince William Counties typically vote for Democrats, but shifted even more toward Democrats by almost seven points this year.
When Gillespie ran to take Sen. Mark Warner’s seat in 2014, he won in Chesterfield by more than 8,000 votes. This time around, he barely won the Richmond suburb by 300 votes.
It’s possible Gillespie’s strong anti-immigrant stance during the campaign, which hit its zenith when the famous “MS-13 sanctuary cities ads” aired, alienated Virginia’s ever-growing and ever-diversified suburbs.
Fadel Allassan, Managing Editor at Large