RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia Democrats seized the state legislature on Tuesday night in a hotly contested off-off year election that had all 140 seats in the General Assembly on the ballot.
With Gov. Ralph Northam (D) already in the governor’s mansion, the Democrats’ big night gives the party control of the state government for the first time in over two decades.
Republicans held a slight majority in the Senate and House of Delegates when the night began but high voter turnout, seen typically as a sign of Democratic enthusiasm, was reported in several counties.
Gov. Northam released a statement following the announcement.
Tonight, the ground has shifted in Virginia government. The voters have spoken, and they have elected landmark Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House of Delegates. I am proud of my fellow Democrats and inspired by our shared victory.
Since I took office two years ago, we have made historic progress as a Commonwealth. Tonight, Virginians made it clear they want us to continue building on that progress.
They want us to defend the rights of women, LGBTQ Virginians, immigrant communities, and communities of color. They want us to increase access to a world-class education for every child, and make sure no one is forced to go bankrupt because they or a family member gets sick. They want us to invest in clean energy and take bold action to combat climate change. And they want us to finally pass commonsense gun safety legislation, so no one has to fear being hurt or killed while at school, at work, or at their place of worship.
I look forward to working with our new Democratic majority to make these priorities a reality. Together, we will build a stronger, more inclusive, and more just Commonwealth.”GOV. RALPH NORTHAM
Kirk Cox, who won his reelection bid, also released a statement following the announcement of the results. Cox, who has served in the House for nearly 30 years, will no longer be House Speaker.
The voters of the Commonwealth of Virginia today carried on a 400-year-old tradition in representative government. As we have done since 1619, people across Virginia cast ballots to decide who would represent them in the oldest continuously-elected lawmaking body in the New World.
I congratulate those who were elected and re-elected to the House of Delegates tonight. When the House convenes in January, we will welcome new members on both sides of the aisle, and, for the first time in two decades, a new party will sit in the majority.
When Republicans took the majority 20 years ago, we preserved proportional representation on committees and sought to treat our colleagues with the respect that should be afforded to all equal members in an institution as revered and esteemed as the House. I hope and pray those traditions continue regardless of who wields power in the years to come.
I am deeply proud of what the House of Delegates has accomplished during the last two decades. We balanced the budget, protected our AAA bond-rating through a major recession, passed four teacher pay raises in six years, froze college tuition, made major reforms to our transportation system, secured our state’s pension system for the future, and guided Virginia to the nation’s top state for business.
Those results did not happen by accident, and they are not guaranteed to continue. The course set by the next General Assembly will affect the lives of millions for years to come.
Representative democracy began in Virginia 400 years ago, but it does not end tonight. Voters will have the opportunity soon to judge those elected based on their policies and results, not just promises and rhetoric of campaign season. Until then, Republicans will work with Democrats where we can, speak out against overreaching policies when we must, and always seek to guard the best interests of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is my sincere prayer that God will continue to bless our great Commonwealth.”KIRK COX (R-COLONIAL HEIGHTS)