By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
Virginia Democrats won the 2023 Legislative General Election on November 7 reclaiming both the State House and keeping the Senate
In unofficial results just before 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, Democrats had majorities of 21-19 in the Senate and 51-49 in the House of Delegates. All 140 legislative seats were on the ballot. Pivotal to the House flip was won by Michael Feggans over incumbent Karen Greenhalgh in Virginia Beach.
The thin majorities will allow Democrats to keep Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin in check on issues such as abortion which may have energized Independent and Democratic voters, fearing Republicans would restrict the time a woman could undergo the procedure, from the state’s current 22 weeks.
Virginia is the only southern state that has not imposed any abortion restrictions since the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade.
Senator L. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth won in the newly created 18th District that pitted her and Sen. Lionel Spruill of Chesapeake in a primary battle under the state’s new redistricting plan. The November 7th election was the first one held under the state’s new plan. Lucas is the legislature’s President pro tempore and is poised to head the powerful Finance and Appropriations Committee.
In another historic first, State Delegate Don Scott, of Portsmouth, is now poised to be the first African American speaker during the upcoming House leadership elections this weekend. If he elected by his peers to the House position, then the state’s Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears will preside over the Senate. It will be the first time in history that two African Americans will preside over both chambers of the Virginia Legislature.
Also, for the first time, the legislative delegation from Norfolk will have three African American women and a Hispanic.
Delegate Angelia Williams Graves won a seat in the Senate, and Bonita Anthony, Jackie Glass, and Phil Hernandez won seats in the newly drawn 92nd, 93th, and 94th House Districts.
In the 33rd District, comprised of northeastern Prince William and a portion of southern Fairfax County, Jennifer Carroll Foy led Republican Mike Van Meter by nearly 5,000 votes. Carroll Foy had over 64% of the vote.
Foy, a former member of the House of Delegates, resigned to run for governor in 2021.