HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — With Virginia Democrats holding onto the Senate and gaining a majority in the House of Delegates, it has set up Hampton Roads to be at the epicenter of political power for the next five years, according to Norfolk State legal and political analyst Dr. Eric Claville.
“In our state’s Capitol, where the Confederacy used to rein, we now have three African Americans holding the most powerful positions in the General Assembly,” he said. “It is historic.”
- Lt. Governor Winsome Sears, the first woman to hold that position and the first woman of color elected to statewide office.
- State Senator Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), becoming the first African American to chair the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.
- Del. Don Scott (D), becoming the first African American Speaker of the House.
Scott told 10 On Your Side about this last week before the election.
“I think we will hold the Senate at least 21-19,” Scott said, “and we flipped the House. How did we do that? Early voting, polling, data, and when you go out and you see the energy out there.”
Scott and Democrats interviewed just seemed to have confidence Democrats would flip the House and keep the Senate.
Sure enough, it happened just like Scott thought it would.
Claville does not think it is true when people talk about the tarnish on the Youngkin brand after the bruising loss Tuesday.
“I still believe Governor Youngkin is … the face of the Republican Party, the future of it, not only in the Commonwealth, but also in the country,” Claville said.
The next two years will be a test of Democratic leadership, and with control of both chambers comes more responsibility.
“This actually creates a great opportunity for good politics, good compromise, and good common-sense solutions,” Claville said.
If the “tail wags the dog,” as the saying goes, the General Assembly is tail, and the governor is the dog.
“The Democrats do have the power, the power of the legislature,” Claville said. “We know that this is where the power resides, in the House and Senate … but it is also true the governor has the bully pulpit. He can move mountains just with reason of that office.”
The election also brought in 18 new members out of 40 in the Senate and 35 new members out of 100 in the House of Delegates.
“This tells us we have a new generation of leaders,” Claville said, “a new generation of ideas, and a new generation of public service and to influence policy moving forward for the future.”