Virginia Democrats block GOP bid to take full control of state government


Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin speaks at the Economic Club of Washington luncheon at the Marriott Marquis on September 26, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia voters have rejected Republican efforts to take full control of state government, keeping Democrats in power in the Legislature as a counterweight to GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin and conservative policy proposals that include a 15-week abortion ban.

The Associated Press expected that Democrats maintained their majority in the state Senate and overturned the state House of Representatives.

Youngkin spent much of the summer and fall campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates throughout Virginia, and his political action committee, Spirit of Virginia, pumped millions of dollars into key races. The group also launched an early voting program that increased early turnout among Virginia Republicans, according to data from the state Board of Elections.

The result means Democrats will still be able to block Youngkin’s legislative priorities in the General Assembly. He and his allies had high hopes of pushing through legislation related to the economy, education and public safety in the next two years until Yongqin’s term expires in 2025.

But abortion has also been at the heart of Republican campaigns, and the party has struggled over the issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022.

Youngkin has long called for a 15-week abortion ban, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest and risks to the woman’s life. He said 15 weeks was a “consensus” that Virginians could get behind, and candidates in key battleground districts campaigned hard on the plan.

But their Democratic opponents also spent big money undermining the proposal. Now, Republicans are still searching for a winning message on abortion in the post-Roe era.

With Democrats winning, any legislation to limit abortions is guaranteed to fail in the General Assembly next year.

The Virginia races also attracted support from beyond the state’s borders. Billionaires Thomas Peterffy and Jeff Yass have each donated several million dollars to Youngkin’ Spirit in Virginia. In the final days of the campaign, Democrats called on former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., along with Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, to help push them over the finish line by raising money and campaigning alongside the candidates. A group affiliated with Illinois Governor JB Pritzker also sent hundreds of thousands of dollars To help Democrats in the final days of the race.

A Democratic win on Tuesday could complicate any potential plans Youngkin may have had to seek higher office. He cannot run for re-election in 2025, and in recent months he has weighed in on the question of a possible run for president in 2024, telling NBC News that he “Very focusedAbout Virginia and legislative races.

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