Home 2023 Elections With Virginia Early Voting Underway, “Sabato’s Crystal Ball” Looks at the Key...

With Virginia Early Voting Underway, “Sabato’s Crystal Ball” Looks at the Key State Senate, House of Delegates Races That Will Determine the Future of Reproductive Freedom, Voting Rights, etc. in the Commonwealth


With early voting now underway in the crucial elections for control of Virginia’s General Assembly, UVA’s Center of Politics (“Sabato’s Crystal Ball”) is out with its analysis of which districts we all should be focused on. See below for highlights, as well as my comments (in parentheses/italice following the “Crystal Ball”‘s analysis).

  • “We detailed six districts here. The expected partisan breakdown of the other 34 is 18-16 Democratic. Assuming there are no upsets in those other races, Democrats need to win three of these six to get to a 21-seat majority, while Republicans need to win four of these six to get to a 20-20 quasi-majority because of the lieutenant gubernatorial tiebreaker.” (This seems about right to me; I’d argue that SD30 – where Del. Danica Roem is running for State Senate – is in very good shape for Dems, while SD16 – where Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg is taking on incumbent Republican Sen. Siobhan Dunnvant – leans Democratic. So if Dems win both of those, that would get us to 20 seats in the State Senate, and mean that we’d just have to win ONE of the remaining four competitive State Senate races to get to a 21-19 majority. Of course, Dems could win ALL of those four competitive State Senate races and get to a 24-16 majority, so let’s shoot for that, but of course not get complacent or overconfident about doing so. Still, right now, I’d rather be the “blue team” than the “red team,” and if there’s a government shutdown 100% caused by Republicans, that’s ANOTHER advantage to the “blue team.” Bottom line: Unless for some bizarre reason there’s a “red wave,” which seems HIGHLY unlikely right now, Democrats should get to 20 seats in the State Senate at the bare minimum. If Russet Perry and Monty Mason both win, that should get Dems to 22 seats in the State Senate. And if Joel Griffin or Clint Jenkins win, that gets us to 23 or 24 in the State Senate. Let’s do it!)

  • “So that’s 10 key races in the House of Delegates to go along with 6 in the Senate. The 90 House districts not noted here would break 45-45. So if there are no upsets in the other races, each side needs to win 6 of these 10 to get to 51 seats. As we noted yesterday, there’s no tiebreaking vote in the House, and a 50-50 chamber is possible.” (I mostly agree with this, except that I’d toss in HD30, where excellent Democratic candidate Rob Banse faces a true far-right extremist/nutjob in Geary Higgins; HD41, where superb Democratic candidate Lily Franklin has a shot against right-wingnut Chris Obenshain; and possibly a couple other districts – HD75? HD64? – as possibly winnable for Dems. As for Dems’ path to 51, I’d argue that HD84 with Democrat Nadarius Clark and HD94 with Democrat Phil Hernandez are likely Democratic, while HD58 leans towards Democratic Del. Rodney Willett. That would mean that Dems just need to win 3 out of the remaining 8 races listed by “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” or 3 out of the remaining 10 races if you add in HD30 and HD41 as competitive. And as of right now, if I had to put money on it – especially if there’s a Republican-caused government shutdown – I’d say that Democrat Josh Thomas in HD21, Democrat Josh Cole in HD65, Democrat Kimberly Pope Adams in HD82 and Democrat Michael Feggans in HD97 are all looking like slight favorites, while several others – Travis Nembhard in HD22, Karen Jenkins in HD89, also possibly Rob Banse in HD30, Lily Franklin in HD41 and possibly even Susanna Gibson in HD57 – although obviously that situation is a mess – could go Democratic. So again, I’d rather be the “blue team” than the “red team” right now…).


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