WASHINGTON (AP) — Although his name won’t appear on the ballot, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin looms large over Tuesday’s general election in Virginia. Republicans hope to gain full control of the state legislature and clear a path for the governor to enact his proposals on abortion, education, taxes and other key policy priorities. Democrats seek to maintain control of at least one chamber and possibly flip the other to continue to serve as a check against Youngkin’s agenda.
In 2021, Republicans won a narrow 52-48 majority in the House of Delegates and swept every statewide constitutional office. Meanwhile, Democrats hold a slim 22-17 majority in the state Senate. An additional state Senate seat most recently held by a Republican is vacant.
All 40 state Senate seats and 100 state House seats will be on the ballot, but the balance of power will likely be determined by a handful of competitive districts in northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., central Virginia near Richmond and southeast Virginia in the Hampton Roads area.
In the state Senate, Democrats face competitive races in the four districts that voted for Democrat Joe Biden for president in 2020 but then supported Youngkin the following year. The governor has been active on the Virginia campaign trail. Since his election in 2021, his political action committee has spent $19 million on contributions to legislative candidates, local party committees and other campaign expenses. And as he possibly mulls a late entry into the 2024 presidential race, the outcome of Tuesday’s election could be interpreted as a referendum on Youngkin himself.