I was chatting about this yesterday with a smart Virginia Democratic politico, and I thought it would be helpful to lay it out in written form. So…based on this analysis by VPAP (“Mapping Midterm Results by State Districts”), the path to a Dem majority in the VA Senate could end up looking something like the following.
Note that currently, Democrats hold 22 State Senate seats out of 40, but that due to redistricting, all the districts will look different – some significantly so – in the June primaries and November general election. Overall, though, according to VPAP’s analysis, Democrats start off with 15 strong Democratic seats, 6 that lean Democratic and 3 tossups. If Democrats were to win all of those, we’d end up at 24 State Senate seats, up from 22 now. Or, if Democrats win the 15 strong and 6 lean Democratic seats, that would get us to 21, down a seat but still a majority. With that, here are the key State Senate districts to focus on this November:
- First, Democrats need to “hold serve” by winning everything above 55% Democratic performance (note: of course, that’s based on the 2022 midterm results, which obviously might not reflect turnout in November 2023). This would get Democrats to 18 State Senate seats.
- Next, win SD16 (Democratic Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg vs. Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant), which would get Democrats to 19 State Senate seats.
- Then, win SD30 (Democratic Del. Danica Roem vs. ?), which would get Democrats to 20 State Senate seats (still not sufficient, given that Republican Winsome Sears is Lt. Governor and breaks ties in the State Senate).
- Next, win SD31 (Democrats Russet Perry or Zach Cummings vs. Republican Juan Pablo Segura), which would get Democrats to a slim 21-seat majority in the State Senate. Still too close for comfort, so…
- To get back to where we are now, win SD27 (Democrats Joel Griffin, Ben Litchfield or Luke Radley Wright vs. Republicans Tara Durant or Matt Strickland vs. Independent Monica Gary), which would get Democrats to 22 State Senate seats. That would keep Democrats where we are now in the State Senate, and would be a satisfactory outcome, although we can do better if we…
- For some cushion (or “icing on the cake,” whichever metaphor you prefer), Democrats need to win SD24 (Democratic Sen. Monty Mason vs. Republican Danny Diggs), which would get us to 23 State Senate seats, up one from where we are now. Also, we really need to make sure that the Democratic incumbent in this seat, Monty Mason, doesn’t lose.
- Finally, for even more cushion – and in case we lose any of the other competitive races – Democrats need to win SD17 (Democratic Del. Clint Jenkins vs. Republican Del. Emily Brewer or Republican Hermie Sadler) – 24 State Senate seats, up two from where we are now (which would really marginalize renegade “Democratic” Senate Joe Morrissey)
So there we have it – winning a Democratic State Senate majority in four doable steps, and winning an even bigger majority than we have currently in three tougher steps after that. Is everyone ready for the battle this November? If not, get ready, because it’s coming, and the stakes are every high (e.g., keeping Glenn Youngkin from having a governing “trifecta” and trashing much if not all of the progress we’ve made in Virginia the past few years)!