Democrats retake majority in the Virginia House of Delegates to win full control of the General Assembly

(AP photo/Steve Helber)

By Carolyn Fiddler

November 8, 2023

All 100 House of Delegates seats were on the ballot on Tuesday, and Democrats have emerged from the election with majority control of the chamber.

Earlier in the night, Democrats secured the majority in the state Senate, giving the party full control of the legislature.

Democrats lost majority control of the Virginia House two years ago in the same election that gave the state its first Republican governor since 2013.

The incoming House Democratic majority will also be history-making, should current Democratic leader Don Scott become the chamber’s next speaker; he will be the first Black Virginian to lead the chamber since its establishment (then as the House of Burgesses) in 1619.

With a Democratic majority, the House will join the Senate to become a roadblock to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s conservative agenda, which includes banning abortion, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Virginians, and diverting taxpayer dollars away from public education to fund private schools.

Agenda items that will likely move forward in a Democratic-majority General Assembly include improving gun safety, making prescription drugs more affordable, fully funding the commonwealth’s public education needs, reducing housing costs, and protecting reproductive rights in the state constitution.

Democrats did not win their House majority easily or cheaply; final finance reports from candidates and PACs are still pending, but ad spending alone suggests that this year’s elections were the most expensive ever. 

Since Virginia governors cannot succeed themselves, Youngkin is barred from running for reelection, and without his party in control of the General Assembly for the final two years of his term, he’ll begin 2024 as a lame duck. Few of his agenda items are likely to be passed into law before he leaves office.

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood's chief political correspondent. She is also the nation’s foremost expert in state politics with almost two decades of experience in statehouse machinations, and her comic book collection is probably bigger than yours.

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