Votes are being counted in Virginia, where some of the 11 U.S. House elections are among the most closely watched in the country for who will control the chamber next year. Meanwhile, several county and local races and bond issues are also on the ballot.
Votes are being counted in Virginia, where some of the 11 U.S. House elections are among the most closely watched in the country for who will control the chamber next year.
Three races that were thought to be the closest go down to the wire, with one just seeing a reversal around 10 p.m.
Spanberger-Vega in the 7th century
In the 7th Congressional District, two former law enforcement officials — Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Republican Prince William County Supervisor Yeslie Vega — are waging a tight race in a district that was also redrawn, in this case to exclude areas outside of Richmond that were difficult for Spanberger, who is also seeking a third term.
With 209 of the 226 polling places declared, Spanberger, who has been building up the race for most of the evening, took her first lead of the evening, trailing Vega by about 51% to 49%. (The Associated Press estimated that about 84% of the votes had been counted.)
While WTOP’s Dick Uliana says spirits are high in the Vega camp at their Woodbridge celebration, WTOP’s Kyle Cooper at Spanberger’s Fredericksburg celebration said her supporters are pointing out that she still has a 2-to-1 lead on her own Vega Yards in Prince William County. As of 9:30 p.m., there are seven plots left to count; it is not known how many votes it entails.
More than $20 million was spent on the race, according to OpenSecretswhich estimates the costs of the campaign.
Spanberger is one of the few moderates in the House calling for new, younger Democratic leadership; Still, Vega tried to connect Spanberger with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and echoed Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s claims that Democrats are trying to give government too much of a role in what is taught in public school classrooms.
If Vega wins, she will become the first Hispanic elected to Congress from Virginia.
Luria-Kiggans in the 2nd
Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria is battling it out in the 2nd Congressional District, where she is seeking a third term against Republican Jen Keegans, a state senator.
In 221 of 247 precincts, Kiggans leads Luria by about 55% to 45%. (The Associated Press estimated that about 63% of the votes had been counted.)
Both Navy veterans, both candidates are running in a district that was redrawn after the 2020 census and is more Republican-friendly than before.
Luria was a member of the January 6 committee that investigated an attack on Congress by supporters of then-President Donald Trump in an attempt to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. That left her vulnerable in the new district, which includes the Virginia Beach area and was redrawn to include more rural areas and less of the Norfolk area.
“Our constitution and our democracy are worth fighting for,” Vega said in the ad. “I will always honor my oath and stand up for what is right, regardless of the political consequences.”
Still, Kiegens “hasn’t gone all-in on some of Donald Trump’s agenda, and that gives her a little more credibility with people who aren’t reflexive Republicans,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington . said WTOP’s Nick Iannelli earlier this month.
A poll late last month found the race tied, while the nonpartisan Cook Political Report has the race a toss up. The Virginia Public Access Project reports that more than $15 million has been spent on the race.
Wexton vs. Cao in the 10th
Closer to D.C., Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton is running for a third term in the 10th Congressional District against retired Navy Capt. Hung Cao. Real Clear Politics rates the seat as “leaning Democratic.” While Kyle Kondik of Sabbat’s Crystal Ball of U.Va. The center of politics, has a place as “probably Democratic”, he too recently wrote that Tsao “appears to be running a real race in a district that has swung sharply to the Democrats in recent years.”
Out of 185 precincts out of 209 reports, Wexton leads by about 53% to 47%. (The Associated Press estimates that about 83% of the votes were counted.)
Cao, Kondik wrote, recently released an internal poll that dropped him by just two points. The internal polls aren’t exactly gospel, but Kondik said the race is worth watching.
The prospect of tight races for those seats in a national atmosphere where Republicans need just five seats to take control of the House has drawn national attention — and money — to Virginia for months.
Other congressional races in the commonwealth went as expected with victories for incumbents. The Associated Press predicts:
- Republican incumbent Rob Whitman retained his 1st District seat;
- Democrat Robert Scott will retain his seat in the 3rd;
- Democrat Don McEachin was re-elected in the 4th;
- Republican Robert Hood was re-elected in the 5th;
- Republican Ben Kline took his seat in the 6th;
- Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat, retained his seat in the 8th District;
- Representative Morgan Griffith, a Republican, won the 9th District and
- Congressman Jerry Connolly, a Democrat, was re-elected in the 11th.
Meanwhile, voters will also elect members of the Arlington County Board and school board, as well as six bond issues.
Fairfax City will elect a mayor, city council and school board, while Herndon will elect a mayor, as well as school board elections and city-level races in Loudoun County and Manassas Park.
It’s probably no surprise that early voting totals far exceed those of the last midterm election, which took place in 2018. The Virginia Public Access Project reports that 942,532 ballots had been cast as of Monday, compared to a final tally of 344,594 four years ago.
Mail-in ballots must be posted by Tuesday; they can arrive at your local electoral commission by Monday to be counted.
WTOP’s Nick Ianelli and Mitchell Miller contributed to this report.