Democrats Win Control of Virginia Legislature, Setting Up Potentially Massive Reforms

Democrats won full control of the Virginia General Assembly Tuesday, marking the first time the party held both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s mansion since 1993.

Democrats flipped six seats in both chambers to take a slim majority in the legislature, USA Today reported.

"I'm here to officially declare today, Nov. 5, 2019, that Virginia is officially blue," said Gov. Ralph Northam, whose political future seemed in doubt just months earlier amid a blackface scandal.

The win was made possible after Democrats fought in courts for years against a racial Republican gerrymander.

A court found that the gerrymander was indeed created down racial lines and ordered new districts to be drawn ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Blue Virginia could see major reforms:

The election win could pave the way for issues long on the Democrats’ wishlist, like ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, increasing the minimum wage, and enacting gun control measures.

"It wouldn't really be an exaggeration to say that we could have the most progressive regime we've had in Virginia's government history," election analyst J. Miles Coleman told USA Today.

But some urged caution.

"Don't expect socialism," warned Ernest McGowen, a political science professor at the University of Richmond. "Even though they're Democrats, they're probably more conservative than the average Democrat in the country."

What could change?:

Among the issues that Democrats campaigned on were prescription drugs and healthcare. Democrats are vehemently opposed to Republican bills in the legislature that would allow insurers to exclude people with preexisting conditions, Vox reported.

Democrats are also expected to take up gun control after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach killed 12 people in June.

“Democrats statewide are also eyeing a laundry list of other priorities that have been blocked by Republicans in the past, including raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and passing a state Equal Rights Amendment that would give civil rights protections to LGBTQ individuals,” Vox reported.


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