Virginia Republicans have maintained control of the state Senate after a bruising, expensive contest that featured heavy investment from national special interest groups.
After both Republicans and Democrats spent millions of dollars, not a single seat flipped control in the upper chamber on Election Day Tuesday. The GOP retained a 21-19 lead.
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe led a well-financed effort, with help from deep-pocketed donors and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group, to help his party in a handful of competitive races. Republicans were helped by the Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based GOP group largely backed by corporate interests that invested heavily in key races.
In a closely watched Richmond-area open seat, Republican Glen Sturtevant narrowly defeated Democrat Dan Gecker to hold a seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. John Watkins.
Thomas A. Shearer, a retiree in Chesterfield County, said he was supporting Sturtevant in part because of the large financial assistance Gecker had received from out-of-state interests like Bloomberg’s gun control group.
“I’m not going to vote for anyone financed that way,” Shearer said.
Sturtevant beat Gecker 50 percent to 47 percent with 100 percent of the vote counted. Sturtevant said he won because he ran a positive campaign focused on key issues like improving Virginia’s business climate and schools.
“You saw that resonate with voters today,” Sturtevant said.
In the House, the GOP maintained a clear advantage.
With Republicans maintaining control of the General Assembly, McAuliffe lost a chance to gain leverage when negotiating with GOP lawmakers on matters like the state budget during the last two years of his term. And his top legislative priorities, like expanding Medicaid coverage or passing tighter gun laws, remain out of reach.
Read more: The Washington Times