Home 2023 Elections Political Winners and Losers: Virginia Elections 2023

Political Winners and Losers: Virginia Elections 2023

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Here are a few “winners” and “losers” from Tuesday’s election that I believe are worth highlighting. Note that this list isn’t even *close* to comprehensive – nor is it intended to be – so please add “winners” and “losers” of your own in the comments section if you’d like. By the way, it’s important to point out that you can be a “winner” even if you’re a right-wing Republican (e.g., McDonnell and Cuccinelli in 2009 – or Youngkin in 2021 – were “winners,” even though they suck!) or whatever, and that you can be a “loser” even if you’re the greatest (or my favorite) Democrat in the world, because in this context “winner” and “loser” is all about whether someone “won” or “lost” politically in this election cycle, not whether that makes me happy or not or whether it’s normatively a “good” or “bad” thing, per se. Also, the lists aren’t in any particular order, except of course for the biggest loser from this election, which you can see below and is VERY obvious. 😉

Oh, one more thing – I’ve always asked people for their opinions, so some of the following aren’t originally by me, but I’ve chosen to include them because I thought they were interesting, because I agreed with them in full or part, etc.. Still, you’re welcome to blame me if you don’t like them. LOL

P.S. I’m obviously not going to include everyone who won or lost an election in these lists, but only ones that jump out at me for whatever reason(s).

Winners

1. VA House Democratic Leader Del. Don Scott: He already had an incredibly compelling story – serving seven years in prison back in the 1990s, after which he worked his way to becoming Senior Vice President at a workforce development company; being admitted to the bar and opening his own firm; getting elected to the House of Delegates and rising to become House Democratic Leader; etc. – but now will truly make history, becoming the first African-American Speaker of the House of Delegates in Virginia history. Amazing. Del. Scott also played a huge role in helping to win back the House of Delegates for Democrats. So…yeah, Don Scott’s a winner no matter how you look at it!

2. Planned Parenthood/ReproRising/Abortion Rights: This was arguably THE #1 issue in terms of motivating Democratic voters to vote in this typically low-turnout, off/odd-year election. And for good reason, as Republicans – despite their claims to be in the “middle” on this issue – would clearly go as far as they could if given the opportunity to restrict women’s reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy, etc. Also, great job by Planned Parenthood and ReproRising for focusing voters’ attention on what was at stake in these elections, as well as for raising and spending $$$ to help Democrats keep Virginia as the only state in the South where women’s access to crucial reproductive health care remains safe, legal and a decision made between women and their doctors – not a bunch of far-right, mostly male politicians!

3.  Virginia women: In this post-Dobbs election, women knew what was on the line here in Virginia – and responded accordingly, volunteering, donating and voting (for Democrats) as if their lives depended on it. Great job!

4. Clean Virginia/Michael Bills and Sonjia Smith (also Executive Director Brennan Gilmore and Political Director Justin Jones, both of whom deserve a great deal of credit): With Democrats not controlling the governorship, the question was who would step up with the money needed to match Youngkin’s (and Youngkin’s out-of-state, far-right-billionaire buddies) money. The answer, in the end, was a team effort, but no question, the top contributors to this were Clean Virginia/Michael Bills and Bills’ wife Sonjia Smith, who refused to let Youngkin bury Democrats in dirty money. Thank goodness. In the end, clearly it was a good night for Clean Virginia/Michael Bills and Sonija Smith (Bills’ wife). According to a press release from the group: “Clean Virginia invested $11.8 million total in the 2023 election cycle and supported 75 candidates in the general election, including $4.9 million invested in 15 priority House and Senate races. All of these candidates, including Democrats and Republicans, share a principled stance against accepting campaign contributions from Virginia’s largest energy monopoly, Dominion Energy. Over a third of the entire General Assembly, 58 members from both parties, refuse contributions from Dominion, including the vast majority of both House and Senate Democratic caucuses.” Also: “Clean Virginia’s priority candidates who won their races: Josh Thomas (House District 21) Rodney Willett (House District 58) Joshua Cole (House District 65) Nadarius Clark (House District 84) Phil Hernandez (House District 94) Michael Feggans (House District  7) David Suetterlein (Senate District 4) Schuyler VanValkenburg (Senate District 16) Danica Roem (Senate District 30) Russet Perry (Senate District 31).” Nice job!

5. DLCC: As a press release by the DLCC put it, “The DLCC was up against unprecedented Republican spending in Virginia, but thanks to our early investments and the infrastructure we built with our in-state and national partners, we were able to chart this path to victory for the Senate” and “In the House of Delegates, we flipped a chamber that was lost in 2021, showing that the landscape for races across the country has been completely upended since the fall of Roe and the increased extremism of Republican candidates.” Great job, thanks to the DLCC (and its interim president, Heather Williams, also communications director Abhi Rahman, etc.)!

6. Del. Dan Helmer (D) and the VA House Democratic campaign operation: Helmer, the House Democratic Caucus campaign chair, was all over Virginia campaigning to flip the House of Delegates blue. He also raised a lot of money ($1.2 million in 2023) to help make this goal a reality. So kudos to Helmer, along with the VA House Democratic campaign operation, which got the job done on Tuesday.

7. Sen. Mamie Locke (D): Sen. Locke worked hard this cycle to hold the Democrats’ “blue wall” in the Virginia Senate. That includes her donations of $1.2 million in 2023. Sen. Locke now will attempt to become the new Majority Leader (succeeding VA Senate Democratic Leader Dick Saslaw, who is retiring), with a caucus vote likely taking place in about 10 days, and with her main rival being Sen. Scott Surovell. Should be interesting!

8. Sen. Tim Kaine, Sen. Mark Warner, Rep. Jennifer McClellan, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, etc.: These folks all traveled around Virginia to help Democrats hold their State Senate majority and take back the House of Delegates – and it paid off on election night. As for Rep. Spanberger, who is likely to announce any day that she’ll be running for governor of Virginia in 2025, this election saw her traveling around Virginia (which helped to get her name out there, beyond VA07, and presumably gain goodwill/”chits” from candidates, etc.) campaigning for Democratic candidates, and also seeing her main potential Democratic rival for the 2025 Democratic gubernatorial nomination – Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney – lose the Casino referendum he had put a great deal of political capital into. Rep. Jennifer McClellan (another potential statewide candidate at some point) was also VERY active and effective in making the case why these elections mattered so much. Great job, everybody!

9. State Sen. Scott Surovell (D): Raised and donated $1.3 million this cycle to Virginia Senate Democrats (and significantly more to specific candidates);  recruited and campaigned for them; and is now one of two top contenders – along with Sen. Mamie Locke (see above) – to be the new VA Senate Majority Leader. Stay tuned…

10. Former Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D): Big credit to Filler-Corn for all her hard work, campaigning all over Virginia for House Democrats, doing ~100 events, donating significant money ($400,000), etc., and helping regain the majority, even as she retires from the House of Delegates in order to run for Congress in VA10. Thanks!

11. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, MD Gov. Wes Moore, Former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden and others who helped Virginia Dems win on Tuesday: We greatly appreciate all the help from Democrats outside of Virginia, including former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, both of whom were here on the final weekend before election day; President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris, who made endorsements for the Virginia General Assembly; former President Obama, who recorded robocalls that were “sent to over 100,000 households in key battleground districts”; etc. Thanks!

12. Hampton Roads Political Power: For the past few years, the center of Virginia political gravity was arguably in Northern Virginia, with Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) serving as Senate Majority Leader and Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) becoming the first female Speaker in Virginia history. Now, Saslaw’s retiring, Filler-Corn’s running for VA10, Del. Don Scott (D-Portsmouth) will be the new Speaker, while it’s possible that Sen. Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) could be the new Senate Majority Leader (the other major contender is Sen. Scott Surovell from Fairfax). Plus, add in Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), who is VERY powerful, and the Hampton Roads delegation to Richmond is looking super-strong vis-a-vis other regions.

12a. Sen. Louise Lucas (D): I mentioned her, above, but also wanted to give her an entry of her own, as she’s a force of nature who worked really hard to hold the line on the Senate Democratic “brick wall.” Thanks!

13. Prince Willliam County Board of Supervisors Chair Democratic candidate Deshundra Jefferson (D): After her massive upset of Prince William County Board Chair Ann Wheeler in the June Democratic primary, the question was whether Deshundra Jefferson could take it to the next level against Republican nominee Jeanine Lawson. And…yes she did, defeating Lawson by a 51.4%-48.3% margin. Congratulations and good luck as the new Chair!

14. Hanover County Supervisor Faye Prichard (D); Hanover School Board Democratic candidates: Outspent heavily by her Republican opponent in a red county, Prichard won anyway. Nice job!

15. Spotsylvania School Board: Check this out – “Democrats/Indy-backed Dems not only swept ALL of the Spotsylvania County school board races, they beat an incumbent in a district Youngkin won with 72% (!!!!) by 23.5 points.” Wow! As Holly Hazard puts it in this post:, “Spotsylvania County, with one of the most “toxic” school boards in the Commonwealth, flipped from MAGA extremist to centrist, teacher-focused sanity. Carol Medowar, a newcomer to politics, and part of the wave that flipped the Spotsylvania school board, stated ‘I’m just so happy for the students, families, and educators who really get to breathe a sigh of relief for this race. It’s a huge flip on the Spotsy school board.'”

16. Allison Spillman (D): Was elected to the Albemarle School Board, defeating the (right-wing) daughter of none other than former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who said some really appalling things and would have been a disaster on the School Board. Thankfully, in the end this race wasn’t even close, with Spillman demolishing Meg Bryce 62%-38%. Nice!

17. Constitutional amendments (felons’ rights restoration, LGBTQ equality, abortion rights, etc.): With Democrats about to control both chambers of the General Assembly, they can get back to work on passing crucial constitutional amendments, such as for automatic restoration of voting rights to former felons; LGBTQ equality/same-sex marriage; reproductive freedom; etc. The good news is that Glenn Youngkin can’t block the General Assembly from passing amendments. The bad news is that the amendments have to pass two separate legislatures, with an intervening general election, before they can be placed before voters. Still, now that Democrats control both chambers, we can get moving on this!

18. Gun Violence Prevention, Clean Energy/Climate/Environment, Voting Rights, LGBTQ Equality, Labor, Criminal Justice Reform and a gazillion other important things: If Republicans had won a governing “trifecta,” they would have rolled back progress on pretty much EVERYTHING, including the issues listed as “Winners” here, and much much more. Fortunately, Republicans didn’t manage to do that, which means that the vast majority of the progressive and environmental legislation enacted by Democrats’ trifecta in 2020-2021 is now secure. Phew! (and, of course, the groups that backed gun violence prevention, clean energy/climate/environment, etc. are also “Winners”)

18a. Former Gov. Ralph Northam (D): Related to #22, this item recognizes the fact that Ralph Northam had BY FAR the most successful progressive governorship in Virginia history. All that was threatened by the specter of a Republican trifecta, but for the next two years – and quite possibly much longer – it appears that the danger has passed, and that the vast majority of Gov. Northam’s many accomplishments are safe. The next step: BUILD and EXPAND on those accomplishments after, hopefully, Democrats win back a trifecta in 2025!

19. The Majority Project/DPVA: We’ll see what final voter turnout numbers look like, but the Majority Project – “The combined effort of the House Democratic Caucus, Senate Democratic Caucus, and the Democratic Party of Virginia is an unprecedented coordinated effort, utilizing every available medium to drive absentee and early voting for the 2023 state legislative elections” – appears to have done its job, as Democrats were able to get enough of our voters out in a tough, historically LOW-turnout, off-odd election year in order to hold the State Senate and take back the House of Delegates. Also, rebounding from the 2021 election, this time around was much more successful, in part thanks to the efforts of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Nice job!

20. No-Excuse Early Voting, Same-Day Registration, etc.: The many changes Democrats made, when they had a governing trifecta in 2020-2021, to make voting easier and more convenient, almost certainly helped boost Democrats in the House of Delegates and State Senate this election. But these changes aren’t just “Winners” because they help Democrats, they’re “Winners” because they are good for democracy, boosting voter turnout and eliminating measures that disproportionately disenfranched minority voters.

21. House Democratic Leadership: In addition to VA House Democratic Leader Del. Don Scott becoming Speaker, other Democrats likely will move up in rank as well. For instance, on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Del. Luke Torian is in line to become Chair. On the important Privileges and Elections Committee, Del. Mark Sickles is in line to become Chair.  And on the powerful House Rules Committee, Del. Vivian Watts is in line to become Chair. (actually, the Speaker of the House is always the Rules Chair) As for House Democratic Leadership, Del. Charniele Herring will likely now be Caucus Chair for the *majority*; with others like Del. Dan Helmer (Vice Chair for Outreach); Del. Marcus Simon (Deputy Floor Leader); Del. Karrie Delaney (Democratic Whip); Del. Marcia Price (Deputy Whip); Del. Rodney Willett (Deputy Whip), Del. Kathy Tran (Deputy Whip); etc. also likely gaining more power.

22. Virginia Election Prognosticators/Analysts Sam Shirazi, Chaz Nuttycombe, Ben Tribbett, etc.: They helped keep us informed regarding which districts were key ones to focus on, who was winning on election night, etc. I don’t know about you, but on election night, I rely heavily on the race calls by Chaz (who predicted a 51-49 Democratic majority in the House of Delegates and a 21-19 Democratic majority in the State Senate. which at this point appears to be exactly what happened; also got 40/40 correct in the Senate and 98/100 in the House of Delegates), Ben, Sam, etc. Thanks!

[UPDATE] 23. Grassroots volunteers: Adding this important item to recognize the MANY superb grassroots volunteers who knocked doors, made phone calls, donated of their time and treasure, etc. to help elect Democrats this election. That includes folks volunteering on their own or with their local party’s Democratic committee (e.g., the Arlington Dems’ “Beyond Arlington” program). Nice job, everybody!

[UPDATE] 24. Paul Goldman and others who opposed the Richmond Casino: Massively outspent by pro-casino forces, Goldman and others opposing the casino not only emerged victorious, but by a massive, 23-point margin. And Goldman also handled viciously personal, anti-Semitic attacks against him with class. Impressive.

Mixed

1. The 15-week-abortion framing by Youngkin et al: Was it enough to completely blunt Democrats’ messaging on Republicans’ threats to women’s reproductive rights? No. Would things have been even worse for Republicans if, let’s say, they had run overtly on a 6-week abortion ban or whatever (which of course many of them WANT to do, but were afraid to say publicly, because they know it’s intensely unpopular)? Almost certainly. So, in the end, Youngkin’s cynical, calculated, dishonest and disingenuous 15-week ploy may have kinda/sorta worked for him…or not. We’ll never really know, but we’ll put this in the “Mixed” category, even though it arguably could be in the “Losers” category.

2. Virginia Senate Republicans: They didn’t win back the majority, but they did gain a seat, getting VERY close – but not quite – to the 20-20 tie they’d need, along with Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears’ tie-breaking vote, to take back the State Senate. Also, although Virginia Senate Republicans blew it with Juan Pablo Segura, they won tough races with some other candidates, like Tara Durant, Emily Brewer and Danny Diggs. However, they were NOT able to pull off a miracle and hold Siobhan Dunnavant’s Senate seat, which along with SD31 (a new district, but similar to the one held by Republican Sen. Jill Vogel), killed their hopes for a majority.

3. Virginia Senate Democrats: On the one hand, they kept their majority, which was crucial. On the other hand, they actually appear to have lost a seat, going from a 22-18 majority to a 21-19 majority, with incumbent Sen. Monty Mason (D-SD24) apparently going down to defeat, and with at least two other potential seats – Clint Jenkins in SD17 and Joel Griffin in SD17 – slipping away, despite both being winnable. So…mixed bag here. Also, a question: why is it that Virginia Senate Democrats so often seem to underperform expectations? For instance, in 2019, the expectation was that Senate Democrats would win several more seats than they actually ended up doing., even as House Democrats that year went from being in the minority at 49 seats to a 55-seat majority. Frustrating.

4. Early Vote Numbers: The early vote numbers, published by VPAP, L2 Political, and TargetSmart, are very interesting and helpful as far as they go. But the 11/7/23 Virginia elections shows that you can’t use them to consistently predict election results. For instance, the early vote numbers for Kimberly Pope Adams were off-the-charts great for her, yet at best, if she ends up winning, it will be by a hair. Or if you look at the Loudoun County early vote, it was also SUPER strong for Dems, and yet in the actual election, Dems (other than Russet Perry) mostly didn’t do very well there. So who knows. But again, if you use the early vote numbers as one data point, don’t put too much weigh on them, etc., then sure, they’re an interesting data point worth looking at.

5. Out-of-state, far-right billionaires’ money: Glenn Youngkin received and spent milions of dollars from some really bad people (the “Nazi memorabilia” dude, the “secretive titan” working “ruthlessly…to strip workers of protections,” etc.), mostly from out of state. In the end, while all that money wasn’t quite able to buy Youngkin the House of Delegates or State Senate, just imagine the election results if those millions of dollars had NOT flowed into prop up badly flawed, far-right candidates for State Senate and House of Delegates? Presumably, Virginia Republicans would have lost several close races, with Democrats quite possibly getting to 23-24 in the State Senate and 54-55 in the House of Delegates. Of course, if we had any sort of serious campaign finance laws in Virginia, this sh** would be illegal, but…nope.

6. Redistricting amendment: On the positive side, the redistricting amendment, which meant that incumbents couldn’t protect themselves, opened up things to new candidates and may have resulted in increased diversity. On the negative side, if Democrats hadn’t unilaterally disarmed by giving up their power to draw new district lines, it’s quite possible that right now, they’d have in the mid-20s State Senate seats and in the mid-to-upper-50s House of Delegates seats.

7. Loudoun County Democrats: On the one hand, Russet Perry won for State Senate and Phyllis Randall won reelection as Chair of the Board of Supervisors. On the other hand, Randall’s win wasn’t particularly large (48.3%-42.9%), although obviously “a win’s a win.” Meanwhile, it looks like Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj (D) lost, as did Sheriff candidate Craig Buckley (D), Board of Supervisors (Dulles District) candidate Puja Khanna (D), Commissioner of the Revenue candidate Sri S. Amudhanar (D), etc. On a more positive note, see Liberals Win A Majority In Battleground Virginia School Board Race (“Liberals now have a 6-seat majority on the nine-seat board”) and this (“In Loudoun County, the genesis of the politization of public education education, pro-public school supporters held their ground in a clear referendum on Youngkin’s plan to dismantle public schools, drive out teachers and humiliate trans-kids.”

[UPDATE] 8. Youngkin’s Push to Persuade R’s to Vote Early/Absentee: Youngkin poured a LOT of resources into this effort, and presumably it had SOME success, the main question being how much. For instance, did it mostly persuade likely Republican voters to cast an early ballot instead of an election day ballot? Did that then allow Republicans to effectively focus on turning out less-likely voters on election day? How big an impact did all this had? I’m putting this in the “Mixed” category mostly because I don’t know the answers to this question, but interestingly, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) – which isn’t the most reliable source, to put it mildly – claims that “Without our AB/EV efforts, Virginia Republicans would likely be sitting at a 45-55 House of Delegates and a 17-23 Senate. ”

Losers

1. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R): A very, very, very bad night for Glenn Youngkin, as he had based a lot of his (supposed) appeal to wealthy Republican donors, the media, etc. on his ability to win in “purple” Virginia. Of course, that ignores the fact that Youngkin only won  by 2 points in 2021, even after the White House switched parties to Democratic control, which historically speaking would indicate a big Republican win for governor of Virginia the next year (e.g., Bob McDonnell in 2009 won by 18 points, one year after Barack Obama flipped the White House; in 2017, Ralph Northam won by 9 points, one year after Donald Trump flipped the White House).

2. VA House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R): His Speakership will have lasted for two years, during which he managed to get almost none of Glenn Youngkin’s and his own hard-right agenda enacted into law. And now, he’s presided over the loss of Republicans’ majority in the House of Delegates. Also note that Gilbert’s prospects for regaining the Speakership anytime soon don’t look great, as Democrats might actually GAIN seats in the 2025 gubernatorial election year. So…yeah, all that definitely qualifies Gilbert to be on the “Losers” list. LOL

2a. Other House of Delegates Republicans: In addition to Todd Gilbert losing his Speakership, other Republicans in the House of Delegates will also lose power after this election. For instance, Del. Terry Kilgore will drop down from MAJORITY Leader to MINORITY Leader and no longer be Chair of the House Commerce and Energy Committee; Del. Israel O’Quinn will lose his position as Deputy House Majority Leader; Del. Amanda Batten will no longer be Caucus Chair for the House majority; Del. Michael Webert will no longer be House MAJORITY Whip; Del. Barry Knight will no longer be Chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee; Del. Leslie Adams will no longer be Chair of the Courts of Justice Committee; etc. Also, Paul Nardo will no longer be House Clerk, with other Republican staffers also presumably dropping down or losing their positions.

3. All the HORRIBLE bills Republicans were drafting up to repeal the progress we’ve made in Virginia: I’m told that Youngkin’s team was busy writing up legislation to gut pretty much every bit of progress we’ve made in Virginia the past few years. Fortunately, that’s all completely dead, now that Virginia Democrats have won control – albeit narrowly – of both the House of Delegates and State Senate. Major/deadly bullet dodged!

4. Dominion Energy: Given that Clean Virginia is on the “Winners” list, it’s not surprising that their arch-nemesis, Dominion Energy, is on the “Losers” list. Why? Because they  invested nearly $13 million, yet lost a majority of contested races where they were involved. Sad, huh? LOL  In all seriousness, though, it appears that this monopoly utility’s business model of trying to manipulate the legislature may no longer be working in Virginia. Currently, I’m told that 41 of 51 House Democrats now refuse Dominion money, as do 14 of 21 Senate Democrats. So hopefully, in coming years, particularly if Democrats win back a trifecta in 2025, we’ll get a lot more action – campaign finance reform, ethics reform, changing their business model away from top-down and rewarded-for-building-stuff to more clean and distributed energy (e.g., rooftop solar) and rewarded-for-energy-efficiency, etc. – to rein in this company. And no, this will NOT happen if Republicans are in charge…

5. Any connection between Republican candidates’ rhetoric and facts, the truth, reality, science, moderation, etc.: Contary to some absurd “hot takes” in the media, the fact is that Virginia Republican candidates moved even further to the right, away from facts, the truth, reality, science, moderation, etc. For instance, former Sen. Glen Sturtevant used to be considered a relatively “moderate” Republican, but this time around, he moved HARD right in primarying insurrectionist/extremist VA Sen. Amanda Chase. And, very tellingly, the move to the hard right by Sturtevant WORKED for him, as he narrowly won the primary Tuesday night over far-right-extremist Amanda Chase. That’s just where that party’s at currently, which is why it’s so crucial that we all turn out in every single election and vote Democratic up and down the ballot!

6. The “mainstream media”: Another election cycle, another period of weak, thin, shallow, false equivalence, “both sides-ist,”  godawful “access journalism,” “concern trolling” (like this), whitewashing (also see this crap), and/or nonexistent coverage of Virginia politics by the “mainstream media.” And when I refer to the “mainstream media,” I’m not even talking about blatantly the cesspool of social media and/or right-wing-propaganda media, like Sinclair (e.g., WJLA7 in northern Virginia), Fox “News,” far-right/MAGA talk radio, etc. Also, sadly, local papers continue to decline, with many Virginia news outlets mere shells of their former selves (although there’s also been a rise in online publications such as Virginia Mercury and The Cardinal, which have mostly been a positive force, but not really a replacement for high-quality daily local papers). All in all, the political media in this country is a mess, and the consequences are VERY damaging to our democracy (given that an INFORMED citizenry is essential to democracy’s healthy functioning, even its very existence).

7. Richmond Casino/Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney (D): Stoney, who was on the “winners” list back in June, has moved to the “losers” list after Tuesday’s election. Why? Because he put a great deal of political capital into the casino referendum, and…it got SHELLACKED (61.6%-38.4%), despite millions of dollars being spent on its behalf.  It also ended REALLY ugly, with audio of casino supporters using anti-Semitic, racist, sexist, and other offensive language against opponents of the casino. A total debacle, in other words. (P.S. Also see the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s editorial this morning, “For Youngkin and Stoney, election losses reverberate,” which argues, “Stoney, denied a second time on the casino, suffered what could turn out to be a career-altering defeat, despite going all in on Urban One and Churchill Downs’ $562 million Richmond Grand Resort and Casino on the city’s South Side…For Stoney, said to be eyeing a run for governor in 2025, the lopsided casino vote may be even more damaging — a repudiation of his two-term mayoralty. In a desperate attempt to secure a shiny, economic development trophy to bolster his resume — thanks to the failed Navy Hill project and the slow-dragging, financially shaky Diamond District development — voters didn’t just reject the casino, but Stoney’s morality play.” Yikes.)

8. Republican consultants looking to make a fortune off of Glenn Youngkin: A lot of Republican consultants were salivating at the prospect of making huge $$$ off of a Glenn Youngkin for president campaign, but that now appears dead. We’ll see about any other future campaigns by Youngkin, but no question, yesterday’s results were not helpful to his argument that he has somehow “cracked the code” for Republicans in the Trump/MAGA era, or that he’s uniquely able to straddle the line between MAGA extremism and “suburban moderate voters,” etc. Not that Youngkin won’t spend money in the future, but Republican consultants must be disappointed right now when they think of the gravy train they could have experienced in the next few months…

9. Clint Jenkins (D) and Karen Jenkins (D): It’s not often that you see a husband-and-wife duo BOTH lose their elections on the same night, but Clint and Karen Jenkins did just that last night, losing  races for State Senate and House of Delegates, respectively. Making matters even more frustrating, both of these races should have been winnable, but neither Clint or Karen Jenkins ran particularly strong campaigns, with Karen Jenkins facing a really weak (and faaaar-right/nutty) opponent, and they both lost. Fortunately, these two losses in seats that Democrats could have (should have?) won didn’t cost us majorities in the Senate or House of Delegates, but they certainly could have. Frustrating.

10. Right-wing demonizing of school boards, attacks on public education, “parent’s rights” (which of course is aimed by Republicans at only a small minority of right-wing parents) messaging:  See the “Winners” lost for numerous examples of where this messaging face planted, including Meg Bryce’s campaign in Albemarle, what happened in Spotsylvania and Loudoun, etc. In other words, Youngkin and his consultants thought they had figured out a way to use anti-public-schools, anti-transgender, anti-“CRT,” etc. messaging effectively for them, but this election at least, it doesn’t seem to have worked…and maybe even backfired?

11. Everyone who lives in a district which elected a right-wing Republican instead of a competent, sane Democrat: For instance, SD24 residents will now suffer through four years of the godawful Danny Diggs (R) as their State Senator, instead of the SUPERB Monty Mason (D), who lost narrowly to Diggs. Massive downgrade. And in SD27, residents COULD HAVE had an excellent, middle-of-the-road State Senator with Joel Griffin (D), but instead they got a right wingnut (Tara Durant) who threatened to run down protesters with her car and lied through her teeth about what actually happened in that incident. Other districts which will see MUCH WORSE representation that they could have had include: HD22 (Republican Ian Lovejoy instead of Democrat Travis Nembhard, who is very impressive); HD89 (far-right-extremist Baxter Ennis will be a FAR worse delegate than Democrat Karen Jenkins would have been); HD41 (Republican Chris Obenshain is far right like his cousin, Mark Obenshain, and will be a terrible delegate, while Democrat Lily Franklin would have been excellent); etc.

 

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