Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Could Virginia Be the Bellwether?

There are scattered elections in Nov. 2023, including three for governor, but the most interesting ones may be in Virginia. The state Senate is currently 22D, 18R. Every seat is up in November. The Democrats are guaranteed to win six of the seats because no Republican filed. Similarly, the Republicans are guaranteed to win two of the seats. The other 32 are contested. For more on the state Senate, see Ballotpedia.

The House of Delegates is currently 46D, 50R. An astounding 32 incumbents decided not to run in 2023. Typically about nine members retire, not 32. All the seats are up this year. Democrats are sure to win 33 districts because they are uncontested. Republicans are sure to win 13 because they are uncontested. For more details, again see Ballotpedia.

The Virginia elections are being seen as a bellwether for the whole country next year. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) is spending all his time campaigning for Republican candidates instead of governing or running for president. He is currently stymied by Democratic control of the state Senate. If Republicans can win both chambers, they will get the trifecta and he can ram all his plans through. If Democrats win one or both of them, he won't be able to budge.

Abortion is playing a big role in the elections because Democrats are talking about it a lot. The results will give a good idea how that issue plays in strongly Democratic, swing, and strongly Republican districts. If Democrats win big, it will encourage them to go all out on abortion in 2024. If it fizzles, they will need to find something else. If Democrats do well, Republicans are up a tree. They can't suddenly decide that they are fine with abortions since their base would revolt. But if it is a losing issue, then what? So a lot is riding on the Virginia elections.

Also important is the future of Youngkin. If he gets the trifecta and enacts his whole program in January or February, he could possibly jump into the presidential race later in the spring if Donald Trump is a convicted felon before the convention. Even if that doesn't happen, if he gets the trifecta and rams everything he wants through, he could be a force in 2028. On the other hand, if the Democrats win both chambers despite his giving everything he's got to prevent this, he will suddenly be a muddy object, not a bright shiny one. (V)

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