The Slatest

Virginia Swings Blue as Democrats Flip Both Houses of the Legislature

A majority of voters finally wins a majority of seats

A woman wears a sticker after casting her vote at a polling station.
A woman wears a sticker after casting her vote at a polling station.
Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Democrats in Virginia have gained full control of the state’s Legislature for the first time since 1994, according to the Associated Press.

All of the state’s 140 legislative seats appeared on Tuesday’s ballot. Among the winners was Ghazala Hashmi, who upset Republican incumbent Glen Sturtevant and will become the first Muslim woman in the state Senate.

State Democrats have promised to limit access to guns by banning assault rifles and universalizing background checks, to broaden abortion access, to raise the minimum wage, and to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. (This would make Virginia the 38th state to ratify the measure and could revive the push to add it to the United States Constitution.)

Tuesday’s wave in Virginia is due, in part, to a court-ordered redrawing of the state’s legislative maps. A Republican has not held a statewide political office since 2009, but the party has maintained control of the state Legislature through gerrymandering. In 2017, state Democrats won the aggregate vote by a 9-point margin but failed to take control of the House of Delegates due to aggressive map-drawing by the Republicans. The next year, three federal judges declared that 11 state districts were racially gerrymandered and needed to be redrawn. State Republicans appealed the ruling, taking the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court which upheld the lower court’s order.