By Meghan McIntyre
Capital News Service
All but one incumbent across Virginia’s 11 congressional districts will return to the U.S. House of Representatives after races were called in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Republicans picked up one seat and now hold five seats in the U.S. House compared to the six seats Democrats hold. All races have been declared by multiple news outlets, although election officials are still counting some remaining absentee and provisional ballots.
Republican challenger Jen Kiggans unseated Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, a two-term incumbent, by almost 12,000 votes in District 2.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., a two-term incumbent, defeated Republican challenger Yesli Vega in District 7 by just over 11,000 votes.
“It seems to me overall in Virginia and around the country, this was a good night for incumbents from both parties,” said Stephen Farnsworth, director of the University of Mary Washington Center for Leadership and Media Studies and a political science professor.
Republican candidates pushed messaging around the economy and inflation, while Democratic candidates focused on abortion access and reproductive rights and threats to democracy, Farnsworth said.
“I came out today because of the state of our country,” said Larry Jett, a Spotsylvania County voter at Massaponax High School in District 7. “I’m hurting. I know others are hurting, as well. Something’s gotta change.”
Nearly 3 million votes were counted as of midday Nov. 9, based on data from the Virginia Department of Elections. A few precincts have yet to report results from early voting, provisional ballots, and absentee ballots. Early voting turnout neared the 1 million mark.
The preliminary voter turnout this year was approximately 49%, down over 10 percentage points from the previous midterm elections in 2018. Turnout was historic that year and seen as voter reaction to former President Donald Trump. The last time there were only U.S. House seats on the ballot during the Virginia midterm elections was 2010, when the turnout was 44%.
The state had initial problems ahead of Election Day with backlogged voter registration forms, and some voters received incorrect information about which polling place to cast their ballots.
“Virginia generally does pretty well in the process of elections,” Farnsworth said, “but there are signs that there’s significant room for improvement when it comes to these issues of election mechanics.”
Several voters surveyed by 15 Capital News Service reporters at precincts throughout Central Virginia said they hit the polls as a part of their civic duty.
“Voting is kind of the foundation of our democracy,” said Brian Miller, a Chesterfield County voter at Ecoff Elementary School in District 4. “If we don’t have that, what else have we got?”
Bernice White emphasized the importance of casting a ballot after she voted Tuesday for her 4th District congressional candidate at Transformation Church in Chesterfield.
“There are things that affect our community that if we don’t get out and vote, we don’t make the change, and it’s not enough to talk about it,” White said. “You got to be about it.
Congressional candidates raised and spent tens of millions of dollars to campaign in tightly contested races this year, according to campaign finance reports on the Virginia Public Access Project, or VPAP. Spanberger spent $7.8 million this year, with her opponent spending almost $2.7 million. Approximately $9 million total was spent this year in the District 2 race between Luria and Kiggans.
Close races in Virginia have historically “generated immense amounts of money” for congressional campaigns, Farnsworth said. “We are looking at so much money being spent in these elections,” Farnsworth said. “It’s really amazing when you compare the numbers of 2022, to say, the midterm elections of 2018.”
Luria spent almost three times the money as Kiggans, but was unable to snag a victory in the hotly-contested race.
“For those who didn’t vote for me, I look forward to representing you in Congress,” said Kiggans during her Election Day victory speech. Kiggans currently represents Virginia Beach and Norfolk cities as state senator. A special election to fill the one year remaining in Kiggans’ term will likely occur before the 2023 General Assembly convenes on Jan. 11, according to VPAP.
Her experience as a lawmaker “who offered up a vision of the Republican party that was not 100% the Donald Trump election denial narrative” helped her win the seat, Farnsworth said. The district shifted four points more Republican as a result of recent redistricting, which Farnsworth said also contributed to her victory.
The race between Democrat incumbent Jennifer Wexton and Republican challenger Hung Cao in District 10 was also closely watched. Wexton won by almost 6 percentage points, or almost 17,000 votes. The three main competitive elections were key markers for where the country may be headed in this election and beyond, Farnsworth said. The “real contests” in American politics, he said, are in the suburbs, which were represented in those three districts.
Suburban voters in districts across the country “are going to determine how much progress President Biden can make in the next two years, or whether he’s going to be battling with Republicans,” Farnsworth said. “Basically, if the Republicans end up controlling the House, the legislative capacity of the Biden Administration shrinks to basically zero.”
Seats for both the U.S. House and Senate were up for grabs across the country in this election. Republican candidates outnumber Democrats in the House and are currently tied in the Senate, according to the latest results from the New York Times.
All 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly will be on the ballot in the upcoming 2023 election.
Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.
The Woodbridge Magisterial District has a Republican seeking the seat on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors for the first time in eight years.
On February 3, 2023, the Stafford County Health Department confirmed that a gray and white colored, tabby cat collected on Jan 30, 2023 from the 400 block of Widewater Road in Stafford County was positive for rabies.
Hundreds packed Chris Yung Elementary School in Bristow on Thursday, February 2, opposing a massive data center complex on the horizon.
Tim Hughes, an environmental specialist with the Prince William County Public Works Department, recently accepted a Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter.
Every Sunday from May until November, the Dale City Farmer’s Market offered to donate their leftover fresh produce to the North Virginia Food Rescue to help those struggling with hunger.
The Dale City Farmers Market has been serving its local community since 1987. It is one of the largest open-air markets in the area. Their first donation last May was over 3,300 lbs of produce. That single donation provided 2,825 meals to food insecure communities.
Since that time, they have completed 28 food donations totaling nearly 127,000 lbs taken to the food bank by Paxton Van Lines. This provided more than 105,800 fresh meals to those in need.
Miller & Smith announces Cascades at Embrey Mill, is now selling. The age qualified 55+ Active Adult community offers main level living with low- maintenance homes designed for homeowners to enjoy a carefree lifestyle in Stafford, Virginia, near Fredericksburg, Quantico and Washington, D.C. The villa style attached homes at Cascades at Embrey Mill are priced from the upper $400,000s. The Rainier plan is available with and without a walkout lower level delivering three to four bedrooms, two to three-and-a-half bathrooms and up to 2,800 square feet with a two-car front entry garage. The Rainier plan prioritizes space and flexibility via uninterrupted flow between rooms. Top wish list items such as a primary suite located on the main level, walk-in closets, and optional add-ons such as vaulted ceilings and zero entry primary showers attract prospective buyers. Other add-ons include a screened- in porch, patio and patio with screened-in porch. Buyers who need extra space can select a Rainier with a walkout lower-level plan. A community surrounded by a wealth of natural beauty, the Cascades at Embrey Mill offers residents 10 miles of trails and community gardens, pools, parks, a community café and multiple gathering spaces. An easy connection via I-95 to nearby national hotspots allows residents to live a universally fun and fulfilled life just minutes from home. Prospective buyers are encouraged to visit the newly decorated model home at 247 Smokebush Drive to see the Rainier model firsthand. Contact Debora Flora at 703-300-1333 for information.