Republicans win back control of the Virginia House of Delegates, rounding out their statewide sweep

This Wednesday Feb. 10, 2021 file photo shows House speaker Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, as she exits the center isle of the empty Virginia House of Delegates chamber
This Wednesday Feb. 10, 2021 file photo shows House speaker Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax, as she exits the center isle of the empty Virginia House of Delegates chamber. Republicans won back control of Virginia's lower legislative chamber in the November 2, 2021 elections. Steve Helber/AP
  • Republicans won back control of the Virginia House of Delegates.

  • The GOP will hold at least 51 seats, with two races still too close to call.

  • Republicans completed their sweep of all the big offices up for election in 2021.

What's at stake:

Republicans have won back control of the Virginia House of Delegates, completing their sweep of all the biggest seats up for grabs in the November 2 elections.

The GOP will control at least 51 seats and Democrats will hold at least 47 seats, Insider and Decision Desk HQ project. Competitive races for the Democratic-held 21st District, held by Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler, and 85th District, held by Del. Alex Askew, remain too close to call.

In 2019, following a national anti-Trump blue wave in the midterms, Democrats won control of both of Virginia's state legislative chambers for the first time in two decades. They came close in 2017, but a tied race decided by a random drawing went to the Republican candidate and gave the GOP a 51-seat majority in the chamber.

Democrats held 55 seats in the chamber compared to Republicans' 45 going into the election, putting them just five seats away from losing their majority.

As of November 8, Republicans have flipped control of six House of Delegate seats. They are the Blacksburg-based 12th District, held by Del. Chris Hurst; the 28th District, held by Del. Joshua Cole; the 63rd District, held by Del. Lashrecse Aird; the 75th District, held by Del. Roslyn Tyler; the 83rd District, represented by Del. Nancy Guy; and the 91st District, held by Del. Martha Mugler.

Democrats did, however, narrowly retain control of the Loudoun County-based 10th District, represented by Del. Wendy Gooditits, and the 73rd District, held by Del. Rodney Willett.

Virginia, once a thoroughly conservative southern state, turned blue at the presidential level in 2008 and has since only backed Democratic presidential nominees. Much of the leftward movement in the state was concentrated in the state's growing and diversifying suburbs, particularly in Northern Virginia.

The blue shift took longer to materialize down-ballot, and, traditionally, the party in the White House has faced a tougher environment in Virginia's off-year elections. This proved true for Democrats last Tuesday when they faced stinging losses in the Old Dominion as Republicans flipped control of the governorship, the lieutenant governorship, and the attorney general's office.

Since Democrats took control of Virginia's House of Delegates nearly two years ago, the majority has passed a slew of progressive policies, including raising the minimum wage, abolishing the death penalty, legalizing marijuana, and mandating background checks for gun purchases.

Democrats had also gotten rid of some abortion restrictions, passed criminal justice reforms - including abolishing no-knock warrants and implementing minimum standards for police training, and created a goal of transitioning the state's electric utilities to 100% green energy by 2050.

Republicans in Virginia focused their messaging on culture war issues, including fighting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and accusing Democrats of undermining the will of parents, and hoped to tie state lawmakers to President Joe Biden, whose approval rating has dipped to new lows in recent months amid rising inflation, slow-moving legislative negotiations in Washington, DC, and the US's messy withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Read the original article on Business Insider