The following is a very helpful table from political researcher/map-maker Emil Shabanov. The big question in my mind is whether this November’s turnout “universe” looks more like: a) previous “off-odd” election years, which had miserable turnout, particularly among the Democratic “base”; b) the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial election turnout pattern, which saw an anti-Trump “blue wave” of Democratic voter turnout; c) somewhere in between, and if so, where exactly?
In the end, whether Democrats take back the State Senate, and by how many seats, really depends on who shows up to vote – and who doesn’t show up, to put it another way. Thus, if turnout is more like 2017, then Democrats could most certainly pick up SD7 (54%-45% Northam over Gillespie; Democratic nominee Cheryl Turpin vs. Republican nominee Jen Kiggans); SD8 (50%-49% Northam; Democratic nominee Missy Cotter Smasal vs. Republican nominee Sen. Bill DeSteph), SD10 (57%-42% Northam; Democratic nominee Ghazala Hashmi vs. Republican Sen. Glen Sturtevant), SD12 (52% Northam; Democratic nominee Debra Rodman vs. Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant), SD13 (55%-44% Northam; Democratic nominee John Bell vs. Republican nominee Geary Higgins), and maybe even SD17 (50%-49% Gillespie; Democratic nominee Amy Laufer vs. Republican nominee Sen. Bryce Reeves).
That would be as many as 5-6 Democratic pickups, giving us potentially 24 or 25 Senate seats out of 40, which would be a very nice margin. On the other hand, if turnout is more like the last “off-odd” election year (2015), the road to a solid majority will be a *lot* tougher, but hopefully we could still pick up 2-3 seats and take back control…albeit not by a wide margin. So let’s shoot to get Democratic turnout closer to 2017 than to 2015, and we should be in very good shape in the State Senate.