2013 Virginia General Election Update

Kemper Consulting’s 2013 Virginia General Election Update is below, more information will become available as results are finalized.

Statewide Elections
Terry R. McAuliffe, former National Democratic Committee Chairman, and longtime Democratic activist is the Governor-elect. He defeated Republican Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II, the current Attorney General, in a close race. Although several pre-election polls suggested that McAuliffe would win by 5-7 points, the final margin was less than 2.5 percent. The third party candidate, Libertarian Robert C. Sarvis, gained more than 6.5 percent, which was still lower than polling had suggested.

Pundits and arm-chair quarterbacks have only just begun to analyze the race, but it appears that the final results tracked polling in late September when McAullife was marginally ahead. The September timeframe was before the federal government shutdown – a boost to McAuliffe – and before the collapse of the federal Obama Care web site – a boost to Cuccinelli.

We will continue to analyze and report on the election details, but McAuliffe is the new governor largely thanks to the vote of unmarried women, 60 percent of whom supported him, and the Northern Virginia vote. Northern Virginia trends more Democratic than the rest of the state and is obviously heavily populated.

McAuliffe’s victory broke a Virginia trend: since 1977, the governor’s race has been won by the party not in control of the White House.

The results suggest that Virginia is a purple state that can trend Democratic but just as easily can trend Republican. At the end of the day, and more times than not, Virginia trends to the middle of the road in statewide elections. Apparently, McAuliffe successfully portrayed Cuccinelli as out of the mainstream.

While McAuliffe’s win, combined with state Senator Ralph S. Northam’s Lt. Governor victory, suggest a positive trend for Virginia Democrats, the new governor likely will face a hostile House of Delegates.

As noted below, the House remains firmly in the hands of conservative Republicans.

Later today, the Governor-elect is expected to announce his transition team leadership.

In the Lt. Governor’s race, Senator Ralph Northam (D) soundly defeated E.W. Jackson (R) with 55 percent of the vote. His win means a change in party for the presiding officer of the evenly split 20-20 Senate. The current Lt. Governor is a Republican. He does have tie-breaking authority, but only on non-revenue measures. Candidates have already lined up to take his now open Senate seat based in Norfolk and the Eastern Shore.

There will be another special election, but just where has yet to be decided. The Attorney General’s race is just too close to call. As of 2:00 P.M. today, Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R) is holding onto a 1,072 vote lead (0.05 percent) over Senator Mark R. Herring (D). Election offices around the state are currently executing a final canvass of votes to ensure their reported tallies are correct. Unless something drastic changes, the margin will be well within the constitutionally mandated recount of 1%. As a reference, Robert F. McDonnell’s election as Attorney General in 2005, which he won by 323 votes, was not officially decided until mid-December.

General Assembly Elections
Headed into the 2013 elections, the General Assembly’s chambers maintained two very different makeups. The House was solidly Republican and the Senate was evenly divided.

The 2013 election results leave a solidly Republican House and leave the Senate with two contested seats and a new presiding officer – a new presiding officer from a new party. Once again, elections – past and pending – portend a bumpy Senate ride. It is worth noting that the Senate did not stand for election, but the statewide races have created a domino effect with forthcoming special elections.

As mentioned above, the 6th District Senate seat, which will be vacated by Senator Northam, already has candidates on both sides lining up to run. In the past, special elections of this type have occurred in early January, typically the Tuesday before the Session convenes. However, due to the close Attorney General’s race and new provisional ballot voting laws enacted this year, a timeline for these two special elections is just speculation.

As things stand now, the Republican House of Delegates old majority of 68-32 (including one independent caucusing with the GOP) was reduced by just one seat to 67-33. Although the Democrats lost a retiring member and did not contest his seat, they defeated two incumbents for a net pickup of just one seat. In total, 14 new members will join the House in January.

Despite 57 contested races yesterday, only 44 involved at least one Republican and one Democrat. Of those, University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato noted just 12 were “in play” with five days left in the campaign. The Republicans held 10 of these seats, thus keeping intact their veto-proof super majority. Details are below.

Incumbent loss – HD 2(Prince William and Stafford) – Michael Futrell (D) 50.7% defeats Del. Mark Dudenhefer (R) 49.3%

HD 6(Carroll, Smyth, and Wythe) – Jeff Campbell (R) 57.1% defeats Jonathan McGrady (D) 36.6%. Seat held by retiring Del. Anne Crockett-Stark (R).

HD 12(Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski, and Radford) – Del. Joseph Yost (R) 52.5% defeats James Harder (D) 47.5%

HD 13(Prince William and Manassas Park) – Del. Bob Marshall (R) 51.4% defeats Atif Qarni (D) 48.6%

HD 33(Clarke, Frederick, and Loudoun) – Dave LaRock (R) 53.7% defeats Mary Daniel 42.9% (D). Seat held by Del. Joe May (R) who Dave LaRock defeated in June’s primary.

HD 34(Fairfax and Loudoun) – Del. Barbara Comstock (R) 50.7% defeats Kathleen Murphy (D) 49.3%.

HD 51(Prince William) – Del. Rich Anderson (R) 53.8% vs. Reed Heddleston (D)

HD 85(Virginia Beach) – Scott Taylor (R) 56.4% defeats Bill Dale (D) 43.6%. Seat held by retiring Del. Bob Tata (R)

HD 86(Fairfax and Loudoun) – Del. Tom Rust (R) 50.1% defeats Jennifer Boysko (D) 49.9%

HD 87(Loudoun and Prince William) – Del. David Ramadan (R) 50.5% defeats John Bell (D) 49.5%

Incumbent loss – HB 93(James City, Newport News, Williamsburg, York) Monty Mason (D) 52.2% defeats Del. Mike Watson (R) 47.8%

HD 94(Newport News) Del. David Yancey (R) 51.3% defeats Robert Farinholt (D) 51.3%

First order of business for the new House will be to reelect Del. William Howell (R-Fredericksburg) as Speaker and for the respective caucuses to elect their leadership. Additionally new committee members will need to be appointed. For example, thanks to retirements and election results the appropriations committee has five vacancies, including the chairman.

More updates will be available as the Attorney General results become clearer, the House organizational changes are made, and the Senate special elections take place.

For the full elections results, visit the State Board of Elections website by clicking here.