Latest: Democrats gain Senate control; 1st time in 5 years

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Latest on Virginia’s legislative elections (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

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

Democrats flipped the Senate on Tuesday. Control of the state House is still unknown as officials continue to count votes in key races.

Of four states having legislative elections this year, Virginia is the only one where control of the statehouse is up for grabs.

Prior to the election, Republicans had a slim majority in both the state House and Senate.

Democrats are hoping to take total control of the statehouse and Executive Mansion for the first time in more than two decades.

Voter animosity toward President Donald Trump has powered Democratic gains in Virginia in recent elections.


9:14 p.m.

A community college administrator and first-time candidate has unseated a Republican incumbent in a competitive Richmond-area state Senate race.

Ghazala Hashmi defeated Sen. Glen Sturtevant Tuesday in a key win for Democrats hoping to flip control of the Senate.

Hashmi campaigned heavily on education, gun violence prevention, and health care, criticizing Sturtevant for his vote against Medicaid expansion.

Hashmi immigrated to the U.S. from India as a child. The state party says she will be the first Muslim-American woman to serve in the Senate.

Sturtevant, an attorney, took office in 2016. He promised to be an independent voice in the Senate and made opposition to a Richmond city schools rezoning plan a key part of his campaign.


9:10 p.m.

The powerful Republican Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates has fended off a challenge from a vocal gun control advocate.

Speaker Kirk Cox defeated Sheila Bynum-Coleman on Tuesday.

His win comes despite the fact the two were competing in a redrawn district after courts found that the GOP-led Virginia House illegally packed black voters into certain districts when they drew legislative boundaries in 2011. The new map dramatically shifted the makeup of the once safely Republican district to Democrats’ advantage.

Cox, a retired schoolteacher, has served his district south of Richmond since 1990.

Bynum-Coleman is a mother of five whose daughter survived being shot in 2016. She made gun control a central part of her campaign.


9 p.m.

A Democratic challenger has unseated one of the state’s most powerful Republican lawmakers to earn a seat in the Virginia House.

Clinton Jenkins, an Army veteran who runs a real estate company, defeated Del. Chris Jones on Tuesday.

As chairman of the House appropriations committee, Jones has outsized influence in how Virginia spends its money every year. A pharmacist from Suffolk, he has served in the House since 1998.

Jones and Jenkins competed in a district redrawn after courts found that the GOP-led Virginia House illegally packed black voters into certain districts. The new map shifted the makeup of the district to Democrats’ advantage.


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