Local Democratic members of the House of Delegates won comfortable victories Nov. 2, but otherwise had few reasons to celebrate.
Republicans ran the table at the statewide level, as Glenn Youngkin (R) defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) for the governorship, Winsome Sears (R) beat Hala Ayala (D) for the lieutenant governorship and Jason Miyares (R) ousted two-term Attorney General Mark Herring (D).
The local delegates also will find themselves back in the minority in the House of Delegates next year, as their party lost seven seats to the GOP, as well the majority it had enjoyed for the past two years.
All 100 House of Delegates seats were up for grabs this November, as they always are during odd-numbered years, and every seat was contested, which is not a regular occurrence.
Del. Marcus Simon (D) defeated Republican challenger Sarah White in the 53rd District, which includes Falls Church and parts of the McLean area.
According to unofficial results, Simon received 22,742 votes (71.96 percent) and White 8,806 (27.86 percent). There also were 57 write-in votes (0.18 percent).
Simon, a lawyer and businessman, has held the seat since 2013, when he succeeded his mentor, the late Del. James Scott (D). White manages several restaurants and was a first-time candidate.
White said she expected the lopsided results in the 53rd District, which long has been in Democratic hands, but was surprised Republicans won all three statewide offices and regained the majority in the House of Delegates.
Parental input in education was a key issue in the election, she said.
“I think it is clear that mothers and fathers all over the commonwealth want to have a say in their children’s education, as they should,” White said. “We really need to make sure that parents feel included and that their voices are heard. Whether it is on where their children go to school, what is being taught, what books are in the library or what classes are offered, parents want to be included in the conversation.”
Del. Mark Keam (D) won a seventh two-year term after beating Republican challenger Kevin McGrath in the 35th District, which covers the Oakton and Vienna areas.
Voters cast 25,658 ballots (69.95 percent) for Keam and 10,975 (29.92 percent) for McGrath, according to the unofficial tally. There also were 49 write-in votes (0.13 percent).
Keam first was elected to the seat in 2009 and until this year had been challenged only once for re-election. McGrath is a retired CIA employee and was making is first bid for office.
McGrath questioned how 19 local Democratic delegate candidates won by such large margins and said an audit of election results was in order.
“The most important issue to the Virginia Republican voters was cheating in the election,” he said. “At the end of every conversation I had with the voters, there was concern that the election [would] be fixed – just like the last one in November.”
Keam said he was disappointed, but not surprised, by the overall election results.
“Based on the long and logical history of Virginians voting for a governor of the opposite party of the sitting president one year after the presidential elections, which is a pattern that goes back to 1977, I expected this to be a tough year for Democrats,” he said.
American democracy works best when the majority’s wishes are carried out by those responsible for governing, while the minority’s views are fully considered, Keam said.
Constituents want to recover from the pandemic by “ensuring that everyone is vaccinated and that we all take personal responsibility to protect each other,” Keam said. “Related to this desire is the need for our schools and businesses to remain open and for our government to provide necessary resources to help them, such as unemployment payments and childcare.”
Del. Kathleen Murphy (D) bested Republican Gary Pan again in the 34th District, which includes Great Falls and parts of McLean and Sterling.
Unofficial results as listed Murphy as receiving 23,094 votes (57.07 percent) to Pan’s 17,328 (42.82 percent). Forty-six voters cast write-in ballots, which amounted to 0.11 percent of the tally.
Pan said he was “very happy” to see balance restored in Virginia and that the political pendulum always swings back.
“Voters rejected the far-left progressive agenda in favor of a more moderate, common-sense approach put forth by the Republican ticket,” Pan said. “Democrats overplayed their hand and Republicans were able to capitalize.”
Murphy, who also defeated Pan in the 2019 contest, first was elected to the seat in a January 2015 special election held after Del. Barbara Comstock was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2014. Murphy had to beat a challenger to win a full term in 2015 and has faced challengers in every election since.
Murphy said she would continue to deliver on her constituents’ most important issues and represent their values. While the statewide results were “disappointing,” Murphy said she has spent most of her time as a delegate in the minority party and knows how to get work done.
“Over the past two years, the Democratic majority passed landmark legislation that has had a positive impact on the lives of all Virginians,” Murphy said. “While I wish we had a more positive outcome in this election, it is my hope that my new and old colleagues in the House of Delegates will decide to build on the progress that we have made instead of taking the commonwealth backward.”
Del. Rip Sullivan (D), whose 48th District contains parts of Arlington and McLean, easily beat Republican challenger Edward Monroe.
In unofficial results, Sullivan received 28,545 ballots (72.13 percent) to Monroe’s 10,936 (27.63 percent). Voters cast 95 write-in ballots (0.24 percent).
Sullivan sounded an upbeat note, despite Democratic setbacks.
“While I am disappointed by the results of the election, I am hopeful that Gov.-elect Youngkin will govern with an eye on lifting up all Virginians, and working together to continue our work to ensure that Virginia remains not only the best place in the United States to do business, but the best place to work, play and raise a family,” he said. “That is certainly how I intend to move forward, since the good people of the 48th District have been kind enough to send me back to Richmond.”
Election officials will certify the election Nov. 15.