Live Election Day updates: Virginia Democrats seize control of the state legislature

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia voters head to the polls Tuesday to take part in one of the most highly-anticipated state elections in decades. Find the latest here:

Click here to track election results

6:30 a.m.

Republican Siobhan Dunnavant will hold on to her seat in the Virginia Senate after a tight race against Democrat Debra Rodman.

Last night the race for the 12th Senate District seat was too close to call. The Virginia Department of Elections modified their results at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Dunnavant won over Rodman with 1,518 votes.

11 p.m.

Democrats hold a 21-18 lead in the Virginia Senate. The race for the 12th Senate District seat between Republican incumbent Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) and Democratic challenger Debra Rodman is still too close to call.

In the House of Delegates, Virginia Democrats currently have a 53-43 majority with four races that have yet to be called.

10 p.m.

Virginia Democrats have taken control of both chambers of the state legislature on Tuesday night. With Gov. Ralph Northam (D) already in the governor’s mansion, the Democrats’ big night gives the party control of the state government for the first time in over two decades.

Gov. Northam released a statement following the announcement.

Tonight, the ground has shifted in Virginia government. The voters have spoken, and they have elected landmark Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House of Delegates. I am proud of my fellow Democrats and inspired by our shared victory.

Since I took office two years ago, we have made historic progress as a Commonwealth. Tonight, Virginians made it clear they want us to continue building on that progress.

They want us to defend the rights of women, LGBTQ Virginians, immigrant communities, and communities of color. They want us to increase access to a world-class education for every child, and make sure no one is forced to go bankrupt because they or a family member gets sick. They want us to invest in clean energy and take bold action to combat climate change. And they want us to finally pass commonsense gun safety legislation, so no one has to fear being hurt or killed while at school, at work, or at their place of worship.

I look forward to working with our new Democratic majority to make these priorities a reality. Together, we will build a stronger, more inclusive, and more just Commonwealth.”

Gov. Ralph Northam

Kirk Cox, who won his reelection bid, also released a statement following the announcement of the results. Cox, who has served in the House for nearly 30 years, will no longer be House Speaker.

The voters of the Commonwealth of Virginia today carried on a 400-year-old tradition in representative government. As we have done since 1619, people across Virginia cast ballots to decide who would represent them in the oldest continuously-elected lawmaking body in the New World.

I congratulate those who were elected and re-elected to the House of Delegates tonight. When the House convenes in January, we will welcome new members on both sides of the aisle, and, for the first time in two decades, a new party will sit in the majority.

When Republicans took the majority 20 years ago, we preserved proportional representation on committees and sought to treat our colleagues with the respect that should be afforded to all equal members in an institution as revered and esteemed as the House. I hope and pray those traditions continue regardless of who wields power in the years to come.

I am deeply proud of what the House of Delegates has accomplished during the last two decades. We balanced the budget, protected our AAA bond-rating through a major recession, passed four teacher pay raises in six years, froze college tuition, made major reforms to our transportation system, secured our state’s pension system for the future, and guided Virginia to the nation’s top state for business.

Those results did not happen by accident, and they are not guaranteed to continue. The course set by the next General Assembly will affect the lives of millions for years to come.

Representative democracy began in Virginia 400 years ago, but it does not end tonight. Voters will have the opportunity soon to judge those elected based on their policies and results, not just promises and rhetoric of campaign season. Until then, Republicans will work with Democrats where we can, speak out against overreaching policies when we must, and always seek to guard the best interests of the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is my sincere prayer that God will continue to bless our great Commonwealth.”

Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights)

9:30 p.m.

Virginia Democrats have seized control of the state Senate for the first time in five years.

Democrat Ghazala Hashmi defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R-Richmond) in the race for Virginia’s 10th Senate District on Tuesday night. Hashmi is the first Muslim woman elected to the state Senate. 

8:30 p.m.

Election results are coming in and a few races have been called despite the Virginia Department of Elections reporting issues with its website. 8News has learned that the concerns are not security-related.

Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) has won her reelection bid against Democratic challenger Amanda Pohl, according to the Associated Press. Chase’s victory comes after she was kicked out of the Republican Party in Chesterfield.

7 p.m.

Polls in Virginia are now closed.

Despite polling issues being reported on Tuesday, local registrars confirmed high voter turnout in several counties and precincts.

5 p.m.

The director of elections and general registrar in Colonial Heights, Jennifer W. Schott, told 8News that voter turnout on Tuesday “is much higher than the 2015 General Election.” Citywide turnout as of 4 p.m. is at 34 percent after 4,071 ballots were cast.

Based on absentee voting, Schott said those figures are similar to the 2018 midterms.

In a 4 p.m. update, Henrico County is reporting 20,857 ballots have been cast, 35 percent voter turnout, in a sample of 20 counties.

Chesterfield County is reporting that voter turnout is at 35.4 percent as of 4 p.m., according to VPAP. That number is 3 percent higher than in 2015, the last time all 140 seats in the state legislature were on the ballot.

3 p.m.

Henrico County has reported that 13,777 ballots were cast in 20 of the county’s 91 precincts by noon. The numbers, confirmed by the county’s general registrar Mark Coakley, represent a voter turnout of 23.2 percent.

In 2015, the last time all 140 seats in the General Assembly were on the ballot, there was 31 percent voter turnout.

Coakley told 8News that Henrico County will provide another update by 4 p.m.

Richmond’s general registrar, Kirk Showalter, called voter turnout in the city “robust,” with an average of 24 percent at this time.

According to VPAP, the Chesterfield County registrar reported 30.4 percent turnout at 2 p.m.

11 a.m.

The ballot issues at 1st Presbyterian Church and the Shenandoah Community Center have been fixed.

The Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Chris Piper explained the early hiccups in an 11 a.m. update. He said Precinct 104 — First Presbyterian Church — is a single precinct with two districts. One of the districts has a smaller number of voters, so 150 ballots were ordered for that district, and 1,500 ballots were ordered for the larger district.

Somehow those numbers were switched, so the larger district quickly ran out of ballots, Piper said. They discovered the issue around 8 a.m. and 1,200 more ballots were delivered to the precinct by 8:14 a.m.

Piper said there will be no extension of polling place hours, therefore, anyone who left will only have until the normal 7 p.m. time to come back and vote.

Piper also said there was a problem with poll books in six precincts in Stafford County, resulting in some voters receiving the wrong ballots. He says the problem was quickly diagnosed and fixed, but that the wrong ballots that were cast cannot be reclaimed.

8:43 a.m.

8News has received multiple tips about ballot issues at the 1st Presbyterian Church polling location on Cary Street.

An 8News viewer told us that the polling location was telling voters that they had run out of ballots.

We reached out to the Richmond Registrar’s Office who told us they are unclear what the issue is but they are sending a technician.

Voters should note that in these cases they can request to file a provisional ballot.

8:13 a.m.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam casts his vote in the general election.

6:55 a.m.

8News has received tips about voting registration issues at a polling location in North Chesterfield.

There was no electronic poll book to check voters at the Shenandoah Community Center Tuesday morning.

Photo: Brad Davis, WRIC Photographer

8News was able to discover that the polling center had received incorrect electronic thumb drives needed to check-in voters.

The issue was reported when the precinct opened and had people waiting up to 45 minutes. It has since been resolved.

If you are having issues at a polling location, submit your tip to

6 a.m.

The polls are officially open!

The balance of power in the state legislature could change as all 140 seats in the General Assembly are on the ballot. Republicans hold a 21-19 majority in the Senate and a 51-48 majority in the House of Delegates with a vacancy in each chamber.


Voters could possibly give Virginia Democrats the majority in the state legislature for the first time in more than 20 years.

Democrats have not controlled both chambers at the same time since 1995 and there hasn’t been a Democratic governor with a Democratic majority in the General Assembly since 1993.

Stay with 8News for all your 2019 election coverage.

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