- Democrats had their biggest gains in the Virginia House since the 1800s in Tuesday’s shocking election. They erased a 32-seat deficit to the GOP. They can still pick up more seats.
Almost no one thought Tuesday’s Virginia election would be a massive Democratic victory.
And while Democratic Governor-elect Ralph Northam’s substantial defeat of Republican nominee Ed Gillespie dominated the headlines, the biggest shockwave happened in the Virginia House, where Democrats erased a 32-seat deficit to the GOP.
Republicans, who have controlled the lower chamber since 2000, held 66 of the 100 seats entering the day. By Wednesday morning, Democrats still had a shot to take over the majority.
In winning at least 14 seats so far – five seats are still too close to call – Democrats earned their biggest gains in the Virginia House since 1899, as Jessica Post, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, tweeted.
At least 11 Republican incumbents, including members of leadership, have already been ousted in what was a nightmare scenario for the GOP. Some of the Democrats who ousted incumbents included Chris Hurst, a TV anchor whose girlfriend was killed on live TV in 2015. Hurst pledged to honor her memory by fighting for issues related to gun control and mental health, and later ran for a seat in a red district.
Another Democrat who pulled off an upset was Danica Roem, who will become the nation’s first openly transgender state lawmaker. She unseated Del. Robert Marshall, Virginia’s most socially conservative state lawmaker and the author of a “bathroom bill” that died in committee earlier this year.