PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia is one of only four states holding elections for state offices this year, and the only state with a dramatic power shift hanging in the balance.
Republicans hold control over the state’s legislative branch by extremely thin margins of 51-48 in the House of Delegates and 20-19 in the Senate. Both chambers have a vacancy.
Voter antipathy toward President Trump has powered Democratic gains in the last two election cycles.
Heading into Election Day, Democratic and Republican candidates are doing whatever they can to sway Virginia voters.
“We did door-knocking all day long, started in the morning, finished at dark,” said Martha Mugler. “You know, talked to voters as much as I could during the day today about the things they care about.”
Mugler, the Democratic candidate for the 91st District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, spent the evening placing campaign signs at voting precincts across Hampton.
“Making sure everything is well-marked and people know that my name is on the ballot,” Mugler said.
The 91st District seat is up for grabs with Delegate Gordon Helsel (R-Va. 91) not seeking reelection.
“All eyes are on Virginia and we’re excited about that,” she said. “It’s a really terrific opportunity in Virginia for us to flip the majority in the House of Delegates and that’s why we’ve found it so important to get out.”
Democrats have outraised Republicans by roughly 25 percent, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project.
It has caused candidates like Delegate Glenn Davis, R-VA 84, to hit the pavement hard until the last minute.
“This is pretty much the 5th or 6th time through pretty much every part of our district,” Davis said. “They can’t trust you unless they look at you in the eyes, they don’t get to know you unless you’re in front of them talking about the issues that matter to them. I think that means a lot more than a whole lot of TV ads.
Davis has not had any ads on local television, while challenger Karen Mallard has been spending heavily.
Even candidates running unopposed are making a last-minute push to reach voters.
“As you may know, with the federal district court redistricting this year, a lot of the districts including mine have very much changed,” said Delegate Steve Heretick (D-VA 79). “Fortunately I don’t have a competitor, but by the same token we still have to reach out to our voters and help them to understand that elections have consequences and it really is important to vote.”
Polling locations open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. As long as you’re in line by 7 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.