Nov 7, 2023 - News

What we're watching on Election Day in Virginia

The red vest is back. Photo: Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

He's not on the ballot, but he couldn't have more at stake.

What's happening: Gov. Glenn Youngkin is front and center this Election Day as he tries to eke out majorities in the state House and Senate.

State of play: Both chambers are considered toss-ups.

Why it matters: Depending on how races shake out in a handful of suburban swing districts, the next two years in Virginia could look very different for both the state and Youngkin.

  • If Republicans can win majorities in both chambers, they've promised to usher in a conservative agenda ranging from a 15-week abortion ban to big, new tax cuts.
  • On the other hand, Democratic victories in either or both chambers would mean Youngkin ends his term much the way it started — with Democrats triumphantly blocking all but the most banal bills that come out of his administration.

What they're saying: "Elect a Republican team to back me up, and I promise, we'll deliver," Youngkin said in a closing ad released by his PAC.

What we're hearing: Democrats have sounded increasingly confident in the final days of the race that they'll at least be able to hold the Senate.

  • "I think he thinks he's cracked the code, but he's going to get his head cracked," Don Scott, the Democratic leader in the House, told the Wall Street Journal.
  • Meanwhile, some Republicans have begun to raise doubts about their prospects. One unnamed GOP strategist was predicting a "massacre," per the Journal.

What we're watching: Youngkin's proposed 15-week abortion ban represents the first time the GOP has gone on offense on the issue in a swing state post Dobbs.

  • Youngkin's camp is betting that staking out what it frames as a "reasonable compromise" on the issue will bring back some GOP voters who might have been scared away by more draconian restrictions adopted in red states.
  • Democrats are skeptical and vigorously disagree with its portrayal as either reasonable or a compromise.
  • But both sides are eyeing the potential implications for the 2024 presidential contest.

What's next: Expect results to start rolling in shortly after polls close at 7pm.

  • Registrars around the state have warned that full results might not be available on election night because of how many different races are on the ballot.

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