Dem 51
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GOP 49
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A Bad Night for Incumbents in Virginia

The Virginia House of Delegates currently has a 51-46 Republican majority. The Virginia Senate currently has a 22-17 Democratic majority, along with one member who is a Republican but not a member of that caucus. So, you could call it 22-18, except with one extremely unreliable GOP vote. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) wants the trifecta so bad that he can taste it. Whether he got closer yesterday, in the state's primary elections, is an excellent question.

These primaries were the first held under the district map drawn after the 2020 census. That alone is enough to shake things up, but on top of that, they were also the first primaries held since the 1/6 insurrection and since Roe was struck down. So, the stage was set for a wild night once the results were announced. Here are the most notable of those:

So while there wasn't a lot of tumult when it comes to the lower house of the Virginia legislature, for five sitting state senators to get booted is a lot, especially since there were a grand total of just 22 state Senate primaries, and only 10 had an incumbent running. Note also that there's one uncalled race left, in SD-29. There, state Sen. Jeremy McPike (D), another moderate, is barely holding on against the much leftier state Del. Elizabeth Guzman, 50.2% to 49.8%. Depending on the absentee ballots, then, there could be six sitting senators swiftly sacked. Say that six times fast.

Now back to the question at the top: Could Youngkin's dream be on its way to reality? It's hard to say that it was a good night for the national version of the Republican Party, since the overarching themes of the night were "dump the Trumpers" and "protect abortion access." That said, lefty Democrats could be more likely to lose the general in Virginia than moderate Democrats (even crooked ones), while non-Trumpy Republicans could be more likely to win. Further to that point, Youngkin endorsed 19 candidates, favoring the more moderate one when that was an option, and all 19 won. Since the rebel Republican (Chase) is certainly going to be replaced by a grown-up Republican (Sturtevant), the Governor only needs two more seats to flip. That's certainly very plausible.

Of course, Virginia is also something of a bellwether for national politics. And there, as already noted, the news doesn't look great for the Republican Party. The evidence keeps mounting that abortion access is a winner; it's going to be the centerpiece of the Democrats' argument in 2024. Meanwhile, Trumpy candidates did poorly on the whole, which is probably good news for the GOP long-term, but presages an ugly year in 2024. (Z)

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