VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS FLIP 3 HOUSE SEATS; LEAD WAY FOR THE NATION AGAIN
"In 2017, and now in 2018, Virginia Democrats showed the nation the way. Years of hard work and a fierce commitment to building our Party at the grassroots level were once again rewarded last night. Just three years ago, Republicans outnumbered Democrats 8 to 3 in our Congressional delegation, in January we will send 7 Democrats to Congress from Virginia - including Congresswomen-Elect Abigail Spanberger, Elaine Luria and Jennifer Wexton. An incredible night for Virginia Democrats -- and the people of Virginia," said DPVA Communications Director Jake Rubenstein.
“I am honored to once again answer the call to serve our country and look forward to representing Virginia’s Second District in Congress,” Luria said in a statement. “I want to thank all of my supporters who worked so hard, and I want to thank Congressman Taylor for his service to our country and this district.
Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Swecker said in a statement: “Tonight, the people of Hampton Roads won. Congresswoman-Elect Elaine Luria worked hard, relentlessly stuck to the issues and prevailed in a hard-fought race with Congressman Taylor.”
“After nearly 40 years of Republican control, we could not be more pleased that Congresswoman-Elect Jennifer Wexton will be representing VA-10 come January,” Swecker said in a statement. “Congresswoman-Elect Wexton’s long history of public service, deep roots in the district and commitment to essential causes from increased health care to improving Virginia’s infrastructure will serve the people of Northern Virginia well.”
State Sen. Jennifer T. Wexton defeated incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock in the 10th District in suburban Washington, and newcomer Elaine Luria unseated Rep. Scott W. Taylor in the Hampton Roads area’s 2nd District.
In a close race that went down to the last few precincts, Democrat Abigail Spanberger pushed past Rep. Dave Brat in the 7th District in the Richmond suburbs.
The wins exceeded expectations of even Democratic leaders and boosted the party’s successful efforts to regain control of the House of Representatives — in a state that only a generation ago was reliably Republican. Yet again, female candidates delivered big for Democrats in Virginia, just a year after another slate of women made huge gains in House of Delegates races.
A surge of Democratic voters knocked three Republican congressional incumbents out of office Tuesday night, but their victories in two of the races were narrow as Republicans found their own wave of support in the state’s rural quarters.
But big turnout in the state’s biggest suburbs was still enough to hand three Democratic House candidates, all women, wins over three incumbent Republican representatives, giving Democrats victories in a majority of the state’s 11 congressional seats for the first time since 2008.
One of the candidates will be the first woman elected to represent her district: Abigail Spanberger, who beat U.S. Rep. Dave Brat in the suburban-Richmond-anchored 7th District. Trump won the district and Republicans carried it again in last year’s governor’s race. It will be the first time a Democrat has held the seat since 1971.
Two other candidates will be the first Democratic women to hold their seats: State Sen. Jennifer Wexton beat Rep. Barbara Comstock in Northern Virginia’s 10th District — another longtime Republican stronghold the party has held since 1981. And Elaine Luria beat Rep. Scott Taylor in the Virginia Beach-anchored 10th District. Democrats last won that seat in 2008.
Behind U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine’s lopsided victory for a second term and the pickup of three congressional seats, including one in the Richmond area that four years ago was held by a prospective Republican speaker, Democrats strengthened their hold on the bustling eastern crescent that drives Virginia’s politics. They also extended their reach into areas where Republican dominance had been an article of faith.
Republicans, having lost House seats in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and the Richmond suburbs, head into the crucial 2019 legislative elections reduced to a largely rural presence, protected — for now — by partisan gerrymandering that could be undone by a federal court and swelling Democratic ranks in the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate. Their bench for statewide office was deeply depleted Tuesday.
The Spanberger, Wexton and Luria victories pushed the Democrats’ numbers in the state’s House delegation to seven, giving them a majority for the first time in a decade. Before the 2016 election, Democrats held only three seats to the Republicans’ eight.
Virginia voters reproached President Donald Trump for the second year in row as Democrats flipped three congressional races and scored a convincing victory in a U.S. Senate race.
Democrats won GOP-held districts in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and the Richmond area, boosted by suburban voters unhappy with the president. The Virginia victories helped put Democrats on track to take control of the U.S. House.
All three Democratic congressional victories were by women, two of whom are new to politics.
Democrats controlled only four out of 11 congressional seats in Virginia prior to Tuesday. Now they are set to control seven seats to the GOP's four.
Democrat Jennifer T. Wexton defeated Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), ending nearly four decades of Republican control of a key Northern Virginia seat.
“Change is coming to America, and change is coming to Virginia 10, and that change came tonight!” Wexton told cheering supporters at her victory party. “We demand a better nation, a nation where we treat each other with dignity and with respect.”
“I am honored to stand before you as the congresswoman-elect from Virginia’s 7th District,” she told a large crowd at The Westin Richmond in Henrico County late Tuesday. “This is what can happen when everyday citizens realize their collective strength in a democracy and when they join with their neighbors to stand up for what they believe in and they use their voices at the polls.”
Throughout the campaign, she positioned herself as someone who would work with both parties to solve problems with a focus on national security and protecting health care. She attacked Brat for his votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and specifically over the possibility that people with pre-existing health conditions could have been charged more should the repeal have also passed the Senate.
In the buildup to Tuesday, Spanberger campaigned in all 10 of the district’s counties in 10 days, while Brat, who was endorsed by Trump, declined to release a campaign schedule to the public or press and held few public campaign events, saying he worried political opponents would protest him.
Democratic challenger Elaine Luria ousted U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor on Tuesday, turning the 2nd Congressional District blue on a night that was shaping up to be a big one for Democrats across the country.
"For a while now, we've had leaders in Washington who don't share the values of Coastal Virginia, values of decency, community and service the country over all else," Luria told the crowd.
"We've spent two years waiting for someone to stand up to the partisan and the division in Washington. We've been waiting for someone to stand up and say, 'Enough is enough.' "
"If we want to change the conversation in Washington, we need to change the people we send to Washington," Luria said in closing her speech Tuesday night. "This is your night, your democracy, and let's get to work."