HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — This year’s election will go down in history as the most money ever raised in Virginia’s legislative elections, as 140 House of Delegates and state Senate seats are up for election.
Norfolk State University legal and political analyst Dr. Eric Claville gave his early take on how election day will play out.
“Right now, it looks like the Democrats would win the Senate and the House by a slim margin,” Claville said. “However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Republicans keep the House because of the galvanizing of votes pushed by the governor — led by him and the fundraising being done, and I think Democrats keep the Senate.”
Claville said if Republicans hold the House by even a slim majority and flip the Senate from Democrat to Republican — “if the Republicans keep the House, flip the Senate, that means the governor has a clear slate to implement a conservative agenda policy that he has.”
If that were to happen, it would be a significant win for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, and further establish him on the national stage, including the ability to put restrictions on abortion from the current 26 weeks to the Republican plan of 15 weeks, and in cases of rape incest and life of the mother,
“So, if the Republicans do take House and Senate, we see a governor with full steam ahead with his policies,” Claville said, “We will see a conservative agenda start to chip away at what those policies are currently.”
If Democrats at the very least maintain control of the Senate, the status quo will continue, with the Senate blocking any policy that Democrats don’t support.
If Democrats hold the Senate and flip the House of Delegates, Portsmouth Del. Don Scott could very likely become the first African American speaker of the House of Delegates.
He said he’s humbled by that thought.
“God is good and I’m grateful,” Scott said, “and I appreciate this opportunity. To me it is unbelievable. That is what a miracle is for someone like me.”
Youngkin is thinking about this too.
“We are focused on Virginia, we are going to hold the House and flip the Senate,” Youngkin told 10 On Your Side last week, “and we are making sure Virginia is the best place to live. We are working and delivering for Virginians.”
“I believe the way that Virginia votes is the way the country will go,” Claville said.
The county is watching to see the direction of the future.
“Because the way Virginia votes, I believe that is the way the country is going to go, not only on the issues, but also which party can govern best,” Claville said.
Claville said Virginia is the political litmus test for America in 2024.
“There are issues on the ballot,” Claville said, “whether it is a woman’s right to choose, and abortion or education or crime that is out of control, or if it is the economy and inflation.”
The nation will also be watching to see if Democrats make history in flipping the House of Delegates from Republican to Democrat, along with Scott becoming the first African American to be Speaker of the House.
If Democrats can hold the Senate, Portsmouth state Sen. Louise Lucas would become the first African American to chair the powerful Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.
State Sen. Mamie Locke could become the first African American and woman to be Senate Majority Leader.
“As goes to Virginia, so goes the nation,” Scott said. “We are a bellwether state for a reason, and the reason is these ideas come right before an election. These themes we are running on —freedom to make decisions about your own body, freedom to say whether you get a say in this democracy, a say whether to vote.”
Youngkin has been spending the last days getting out the vote.
“I think Virginians have come together over common sense policies that work,” Youngkin said, “and Virginia was near the bottom of job growth, and now we are near the top of job growth. We have reduced taxes by $5 billion, and those checks are out in the mail this week.”