LISTEN: Democrats Have A Chance To Gain Control of Virginia Senate


Steve Burns

RICHMOND – (WMAL) Democrats could gain control of the Virginia Senate if a special election in the Lynchburg area goes their way today.

Republican attorney Mark Peake, Democratic former County Sheriff Ryant Washington, and independent developer Joe Hines are squaring off in the contest that encompasses Goochland County to Amherst, Appomattox, and part of Lynchburg. They are vying to replace Republican Tom Garrett, who won election to Congress in November.

Special elections are known for their unpredictable results due to low turnouts, and that unpredictability could be magnified further with two conservative candidates, University of Mary Washington political scientist Dr. Stephen Farnsworth told WMAL.

“Control of the Virginia Senate may really hinge on a handful of voters in the Lynchburg area,” he said. “The seat is normally Republican, but special elections always have the possibility of surprises, especially when there are two conservative candidates running.”

Another special election Tuesday in the Richmond area features a Democrat running unopposed. Should Democrats win both, the Senate would be split 20-20, giving a tie-breaking vote to Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat. The House remains under Republican control.

“If you have divided government among the two chambers in Richmond, you would have Democrats and Republicans negotiating with each other on the shape of bills before they even get to the Governor,” Farnsworth said. “That would dramatically increase the Governor’s ability to get what he wants.”

Copyright 2017 by All Rights Reserved. (PHOTO: Waldo Jaquith/Wikipedia)

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