VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Candidates looking to be the next state senator to represent Virginia’s seventh district have spent more than $2 million combined in their efforts to sway voters ahead of Tuesday’s special election.

Both Democratic candidate Aaron Rouse, a former Virginia Beach City Councilman, and Republican candidate Kevin Adams, a political newcomer, and U.S. Navy veteran, have raised more than $1 million, with Rouse having a slight lead.

The top contributors to both campaigns in their most recent reports were the senate caucuses for the candidate’s respective parties. It may be only an $ 18,000-a-year job, however, a win for Democrats could mean a roadblock for Gov. Glenn Younkin’s agenda.

“This seat shouldn’t matter,” Dr. Benjamin Melusky, an ODU Political Science professor, said. “But if we think about where the legislative priorities are going in this next session, it now ads complexity to this race.”

Specifically he’s talking about abortion.

The seat was left vacant by the resignation of Congresswoman-elect Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach,) who stepped down after winning Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District race in November.

If Adams wins the seat in the Jan. 10 special election, the margin in Virginia’s upper chamber would remain the same. Democrats would still hold the slim 21-19 majority.

If Rouse wins, the majority will remain slim at 22-18. It’s the buffer state Democrats want in order to make sure a proposal for a 15-week abortion ban by Gov. Younkin (R-Va.) doesn’t have a chance of passing.

Currently, Virginia allows for abortions during the first and second trimesters. Three doctors can also sign off on performing an abortion if it’s concluded that a woman could die or be “irremediably” harmed by continuing the pregnancy.

Younkin’s ban after 15-weeks proposal would include exceptions in cases of rape, incest and where the mother’s life is in danger, something Adams said he would support.

Democrats can likely stop the bill from advancing out of the Senate Education and Health committee. However, there are also legislative steps to hold a floor vote without it going through the committee.

While a party-line vote would still prevent passage, Sen. Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), opposes abortion and has previously said he could support a 15-week ban.

If Morrissey votes with all 19 Republicans, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears (R-Va.) would break the tie. She also identifies as pro-life.

“Morrissey could basically be a deciding vote,” Melusky said. “If we move outside of the abortion framework … picking up another democratic seat right. Ultimately, creates another roadblock for the Youngkin administration on other legislation priorities.”

Younkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC is Adams’ second top donor, shelling out $236,600 in both cash and in-kind donations according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Rouse has now received $313,000 from the Clean Virginia PAC.

The PAC is controlled by Charlottesville Billionaire Michael Bills. Bills, who manages a $1.5 billion investment fund, has donated millions of dollars to candidates in an effort to get the state to ban regulated monopolies like Dominion Energy from being able to give donations to politicians that have the power to regulate them.

The seventh district is mostly in Virginia Beach but has three precincts in Norfolk. To find out if you are eligible to vote, go to the state’s voter information portal.

Early in-person voting will be available at the Office of Voter Registration & Elections at the Municipal Center 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday. Polls are open Tuesday 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.

The 2023 General Assembly session convenes on Jan. 11.