All 40 Virginia state Senate seats were on the ballot on Tuesday, and Democrats have emerged from the election with majority control of the chamber.
The incoming Senate Democratic caucus will also be history-making; Senator-elect Danica Roem will be the first transgender woman to serve in the chamber.
With a Democratic majority, the Senate will remain 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.
Other Republican agenda items the state Senate will likely be tasked with blocking in the coming legislative session include book bans and rolling back voting rights by eliminating or reducing early voting, same-day voter registration, and absentee voting.
Democratic Sen. Louise Lucas will now be the most senior and powerful Democrat in the chamber, and her record suggests that she will emerge as Youngkin’s chief antagonist in his final two years in office.
Democrats did not win their Senate 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. Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC donated more than $5 million directly to Republican Senate candidates.
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.
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