All tied up in Virginia?
November 9th, 2011
03:51 PM ET
2 years ago

All tied up in Virginia?

(CNN) - Things are getting interesting in Virginia - Tuesday's state government elections secured a Republican majority in the state House of Delegates but the prized Virginia senate is proving more elusive for the GOP.

In the commonwealth of Virginia, which broke for President Barack Obama in 2008 but elected Republican Bob McDonnell governor in 2009, a Republican-led assembly would be a boon for the GOP.

But statewide elections delivered a split state senate, with 20 seats won by Democrats and 19 by Republicans. Eleven Republicans ran unopposed and won while only three Democrats did the same.

In what appears to be the deciding race, Republican Bryce Reeves edged out Democrat R. Edward "Edd" Houck by 86 votes - a contest that will most likely face a recount. A win by Reeves will tie the chamber up, but a win by Houck in the potential recount will keep it out of GOP hands. Houck has not conceded the race.

Calling the outcome a "tremendous victory" during a conference call Wednesday, McDonnell said, "We are thrilled with the results of last night's election."

The president of the state senate - a role served by the lieutenant governor - is responsible for casting the deciding vote in the event of a tie, the only time a lieutenant governor votes. Republican Bill Bolling was re-elected lieutenant governor in 2009.

McDonnell praised Bolling's ability to "determine matters" if needed, though a recount in the critical race is possible and cannot begin until election results are certified later this month.

"Presidential elections aren't won or lost on the outcome of a single state senate seat, but it certainly helps if your party controls the entire political infrastructure of a state, even if it's by a narrow margin," said Robert Yoon, CNN Political Research Director. "Win or lose, both sides in Virginia got a lot of good practice last night for the ground war that's to come in 2012."

Virginia is considered a critical battleground state in 2012. President Obama's win in 2008 was the first time a Democratic presidential candidate won there since 1964 and recent polling in the state indicates the 2012 race is up for grabs.

The president made two stops in Virginia during his recent bus tour touting the American Jobs Act, Obama's effort to build infrastructure and promote job growth. Obama even appeared in the district of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as he encouraged residents to personally reach out to congressional members in support of the bill.

And Virginia isn't only a presidential battleground - in a matchup of former Old Dominion State chief executives, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen are running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by first-term Sen. Jim Webb, who announced his retirement in February.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Also see:

Perry addresses values in new ad

DNC continues anti-Romney blitz

Gingrich: I'm the tortoise, Romney's the hare


Filed under: 2012 • Bob McDonnell • Virginia
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Aaah Virginia! Stop sleeping in! Wakey, wakey!! Even Mississippi, Arizona, and Ohio are getting on the ball!
    Wake up Virginia!

    November 9, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. NC

    By 2012 the people of Virginia will have buyers remorse. Republicans in control will over reach like they have in other states. Thank goodness we have a Democrat for Governor who doesn't mind vetoing some of the crazy bills Republicans passed in our state. They did over ride some of her vetos but not all of them. In our city election yesterday local Republicans lost because of state and national republicans. People have simply had enough the last year from republicans in power and we are taking our country back. We are tired of time spent on social issues instead of on the economy. We are tired of public employees being treated like the enemy. The 2010 election did not do anything for your average hardworking family.

    November 9, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. A True Centrist

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama
    "Even Mississippi, Arizona, and Ohio are getting on the ball!"

    Ummmm...what? Mississippi voted for a Repub governor and Repubs increased their seats in the state Senate and House. Ohio split, voting against the union bill but also voting against the Obamacare mandate. Arizona ousted a Republican for another Republican.

    Not sure what you mean by "on the ball" but yesterday was probably a better day for Repubs than it was Dems.

    November 9, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Hair bear

    Looks like those Virginia folks just don't get it! Everybody must be working in that state and the housing market has to be booming.

    November 9, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Gino Martell

    As been mentioned previouly, by 2012 the republicans will over reach and anger most independents and they will feel the same pain that Pearce is feeling here in Arizona.

    November 9, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    A True Centrist, Mississippi voted against extremism on the their ballot initiative, the Ohio referendum will be overuled if the Healthcare reform survives the court challenges, Virginia is skating by a thread, and AZ recalled the author of their illegal immigrant law because it was bad for business. Seems like sanity is being restored, and it was not a good day for the GOP because their centerpieces are being chipped away at, bit by bit.

    November 9, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. tee66

    Virginia better take notice in what OH, and WI have done they told the republicans don`t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out. Not in my house not now and not in 2012.

    November 9, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |