Virginia Democrats Flip Three House Seats
By Charlie Perez, Online Editor
This month’s midterms saw the highest non-presidential election turnout in the last 50 years. In Virginia, three Republican congressional incumbents lost to Democratic candidates, as the Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives for the first time in a decade.
In District 10, State Senator Jennifer Wexton beat incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock by eight percentage points after a campaign that attacked Comstock’s record of voting with President Donald Trump even as Comstock attempted to distance herself from the president.
Wexton played on the Democratic theme of a grassroots “blue wave” in response to the Trump administration’s policies. “We sent a message that we want a better nation, that we demand a better nation,” she said in her victory speech.
To the south, Democratic challengers in Districts 2 and 7 also won major victories. In District 7, the highly conservative Representative Dave Brat was upset by Abigail Spanberger, a former C.I.A. officer who was part of covert anti-terrorist operations during the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Spanberger emphasized her connection to the voters over her opponent’s commitment to hard-line conservatism. “We won an unwinnable district by doing exactly what every campaign should do. We focused on the needs of the people, the voters,” she said at her election party.
In District 2, a battle between two former naval officers ended in victory for Elaine Luria. Republican incumbent Scott Taylor’s reelection bid was damaged by the allegation that his campaign used the names of fake and dead voters on a petition to include an independent candidate on the ballot.
In her victory speech, Luria said, “We’ve been waiting two years for someone to stand up to the partisanship and division in Washington… and today, across the second district and across the country, voters… went to the polls and did it.”
On January 3, 2019, the newly elected U.S. Congress will be sworn in. Many political analysts believe that the Democratic House will pose a serious roadblock for the Republican Party’s political agenda.
However, the White House seems ready to reach across the aisle. At his press conference on November 7, President Trump remarked, “Hopefully, we can all work together next year to continue delivering for the American people... some of things that the Democrats do want to work on, and I really believe we’ll be able to do that. I think we’re going to have a lot of reason to do it.”