Home 2024 Elections What to Look For in Virginia Politics 2024: Presidential, US Senate, Key...

What to Look For in Virginia Politics 2024: Presidential, US Senate, Key Congressional Primaries/Elections…Plus Big Changes in the Virginia General Assembly, etc.

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At the end of last year, I shared some thoughts about what to look for in 2023 Virginia politics – noting that 2023 was “REALLY going to be wild, with the entire Virginia General Assembly up for grabs — and along with it the proverbial ‘ballgame’ for Youngkin’s right-wing agenda, whether or not women will retain full reproductive autonomy in Virginia, whether, whether or not Virginia will lurch backwards on clean energy and environmental protection (and voting rights, civil rights, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ equality, you name it).” I also noted:

“We’ll also, of course, be getting closer to the 2024 presidential primaries and caucuses, which means that we’ll see which Republicans – Youngkin? – announce for the GOP(Q) nomination…and there could be a lot of them, particularly if Trump is on trial, in prison, in severe legal jeopardy or whatever.  Also, as we get closer to 2024, we’ll see which Republican(s) announce for US Senate against Tim Kaine, as well as who announces for U.S. House in competitive districts like VA02, VA07 and VA10.”

As it turned out, Youngkin didn’t manage to win either the House of Delegates or State Senate, despite spending millions of dollars – a lot of which came from far-right, out-of-state donors – in an attempt to do so. Which means that Youngkin will be somewhat of “lame duck” in 2024 and 2025, with the likelihood of him getting his desired legislation, budget, tax proposals, etc. through the Democratic-controlled (albeit by tiny margins) legislature not particularly high. Still, Youngkin will have control of appointments to boards (including, unfortunately, electoral boards), agencies and commissions, and will presumably try to push his hard-right policy views through them, to the extent that he’s able to do so. Which is why House and Senate Democrats will need to watch Youngkin like a hawk, investigate any shenanigans (of which there have already been a bunch), make sure he follows the LAW (e.g., don’t allow him to unilaterally pull Virginia out of RGGI), etc, in 2024 and 2025.

As for other things to keep an eye on in 2024? First and foremost, we’ll be having this little thing (you might have heard of it? LOL) called a presidential election on November 5, with Democratic and Republican presidential primaries on March 5 (“Super Tuesday”). And yes, our entire democracy will be at stake, so make sure you vote and encourage everyone you know to vote, up and down the ballot, for Joe Biden and other Democrats!

We’ll also have Democratic and Republican primaries for Congress – including to nominate candidates in VA07 (where Rep. Abigail Spanberger is not running for reelection, but IS running for governor in 2025) and VA10 (where Rep. Jennifer Wexton isn’t running for reelection due to tragic health circumstances) – on June 18. Also keep an eye on VA05, where far-right-extremist Rep. Bob Good (R) is being challenged by insurrectionist/extremist Del. John McGuire (R) for that nomination. And we’ll find out who runs for the Democratic nominations in other congressional districts, including VA01, VA02 (so far, Missy Cotter Smasal is the only candidate to take on the godawful Republican Rep. Jen Kiggans), VA05 (to take on either Good or McGuire), etc. We’ll also see which far-right nutjob the VA GOP ends up nominating to take on, and hopefully get CLOBBERED by, Sen. Tim Kaine.

Other than that, keep an eye on the General Assembly – starting on January 10 and ending on March 9 – to see how new leadership (Don Scott as Speaker, Scott Surovell as Senate Majority Leader, etc.) does; how well Democrats hold together with their tiny majorities; how far right Republicans go; what types of bills end up passing and what ends up getting vetoed or signed by Youngkin; etc. Also, we’ll see two special elections on January 9 in two deep-“red” districts (SD9 between Democrat Tina Wyatt-Younger and Republican Tammy Mulchi; and HD48 between Republican Eric Jason Phillips and Democrat Meloday Ann Cartwright). And don’t forget about the jockeying for 2025 throughout 2024 (and really picking up after the presidential election in November), including likely endorsements, announcements, fundraising totals, etc. for both Republicans and Democrats running for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

With that, here are a bunch of things to look out for in Virginia politics during the upcoming year of 2024.

  • January 8/9Congress is scheduled to be back in session, with a HUGE list of items to accomplish in a very short period of time.  – That huge list includes a massive aid package to Ukraine and other countries; ” two staggered deadlines for funding the government on Jan. 19 and Feb. 2″; and much, much more. This will all have an impact on Virginia, of course, particularly if Republicans end up (irresponsibly/insanely) shutting down the federal government.
  • January 9: Special elections for a Virginia House of Delegates and a State Senate seat. As noted above, there will be special elections in two deep-“red” districts (SD9 between Democrat Tina Wyatt-Younger and Republican Tammy Mulchi; and HD48 between Republican Eric Jason Phillips and Democrat Meloday Ann Cartwright). We’ll see if there are any surprises in either of these.
  • January 10The 2024 Virginia General Assembly will convene for its Regular Session, which this year goes for 60 days, adjourning sine die on  March 9. We’ll start off with the historic election of Del. Don Scott (D) as the first African-American Speaker in Virginia’s history – awesome! We’ll also see new House and Senate leadership teams get up and running, with many new faces in both chambers (we’ll see how they do), including highly diverse and possibly more progressive Democratic caucuses, with the polar opposite on the Republican side, which is overwhelmingly comprised of hard-right-wing white males. Anyway, we’ll see whether Democrats are able to pass a bunch of legislation or not, plus of course block the crazy crap coming from Republicans. Then, we’ll see if Youngkin vetoes anything/everything remotely progressive (presumably, Democrats will attempt to be strategic about what they send to Youngkin’s desk). Fortunately, Youngkin can NOT veto constitutional amendments, so definitely keep an eye on Democrats’ successes on that front, including on women’s reproductive freedom, ex-felons’ voting rights, and presumably others.
  • Around January 15: We’ll start to see campaign finance reports through the end of 2023 for federal and state candidates – for VA02, VA07, VA10, governor, etc. That will be VERY interesting, as we’ll really begin to get an idea of who the “top-tier” candidates might be…or might NOT be. Definitely keep an eye on that.
  • March 5“Super Tuesday” will see primaries for president in a slew of states, including Virginia. Presumably, President Biden will have things wrapped up by then on the Democratic side. And on the Republican side, I’m assuming that Trump will be cruising to his party’s nomination by that point as well. So, “Super Tuesday” could end up being fairly boring, but you never know what surprises might lie ahead, so stay tuned! Also, it will be fascinating to see if Youngkin, Sears, Miyares, etc. end up endorsing Trump – or Haley, DeSantis, or nobody – for president. Stay tuned.
  • April 17 or 24: “Reconvened session” of the Virginia General Assembly. We’ll see what the budget looks like at that point, what amendments Glenn Youngkin proposes, which bills Youngkin amends/vetoes/signs, etc. Should be interesting…
  • June 18Primary day in Virginia, and there will be several important Democratic and Republican primaries next year, for Democratic nominees in VA07 (for a list of candidates — Margaret Angela FranklinYevgeny VindmanDel. Briana SewellDel. Elizabeth Guzmansee here) and VA10 (for a list of candidates — Krystal Kaul, Travis NembhardDel. Michelle MaldonadoState Senator-elect Suhas SubramanyanDel. Dan Helmer, former VA House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-CornState Sen. Jennifer BoyskoDel. David Reid, former VA Secretary of Education Atif Qarni and Mark Leighton — see here), Republican nominees for US Senate and for Congress in VA05, etc. (P.S. Will incumbent Democrats like Rep. Don Beyer and Rep. Gerry Connolly draw any primary opponents?)
  • September 20: First day of early/in-person voting for the general election. We’ll start to see what turnout might look like, who’s more enthused to vote, etc.
  • November 5General Election Day in Virginia, with the all-important election for president of course, but also Sen. Tim Kaine’s reelection race against whichever far-right nutjob (Hung Cao? Scott Parkinson? other?) Republicans end up nominating. There will also be some key, competitive U.S. House races (particularly in VA02 – probably Democrat Missy Cotter Smasal vs. Republican Rep. Jen Kiggans) and VA07, possibly also VA10) that could definitely play a role in determining which party is in charge starting in January 2025. And we’ll see if there are any surprises in “red”-leaning districts like VA01 and VA05. By the way, the bigger margins of victory for Joe Biden and Tim Kaine, the better for “down-ballot” Democrats in “purple” districts like VA02 and VA07; so let’s do whatever we can to rack up huge margins for Biden and Kaine!
  • December: With the presidential election over, things will heat for the 2025 statewide and House of Delegates races in Virginia. Of course, if Trump god forbid wins the White House, our democracy will effectively be over – definitely not an exaggeration, by the way! – so I’m not sure how much the state elections will even matter, or whether any of us will care. But assuming that our democracy survives, the 2025 Virginia elections will be a HUGE opportunity for Democrats to regain a governing “trifecta” and crank out great legislation. But first, we’ll have to see who decides to run on both the Democratic and Republican sides. For instance, will LG Winsome Sears face off against AG Jason Miyares for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, or will Miyares stay put at AG and let Sears run for governor unopposed (at least by him)? Who will run for LG on the Republican side? Will any Democrats other than Abigail Spanberger and Levar Stoney run for governor? Which Democrats will run for LG (current names being bandied about include State Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, Prince William County School Board Chair Babur Lateef, Del. Sam Rasoul, Del. Dan Helmer, State Sen. Aaron Rouse, Harrison Roday, etc.)? How about AG – former Del. Jay Jones? Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano? Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor? Others? We should get some answers to many (if not most) of these questions by December 2024. We’ll also start to see who will run for key House of Delegates seats, such as…will Kimberly Pope Adams run again in HD82 after *barely* losing this time around? will Lily Franklin run again in HD41 after running an excellent race in 2023 (or might she run for Lt. Governor instead)? will Susanna Gibson run again in HD57? etc.

So those are just a few things to keep an eye on in 2024. What else do you think I should add to this list?

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