Election Year Shaping Up

Election Year Shaping Up

The General Assembly is meeting today, April 12, for its Reconvened Session during which the Governor’s amendments to or veto of bills passed during the regular session that had adjourned earlier on February 25 will be considered. There is little work to do, and the session is not likely to last more than a day. 

In November all 140 seats in the General Assembly will be up for election in new districts determined by a process approved by the voters whereby new districts were drawn for the first time by nonpartisan experts under the supervision of the Supreme Court rather than being gerrymandered by the majority party to their advantage. 

It appears at this time that the general election this year will bring about the most turnover of membership in the House and Senate than in any other election year. Currently, in the 100-member House, there are 35 Republican incumbents planning to run for re-election and 31 Democratic incumbents. That leaves 34 open seats, just over a third of the House, to be filled by new members. In the 40-member Senate, 13 seats are held by Republican incumbents running for re-election and 16 Democrats running for re-election. That leaves about a quarter of the Senate or 11 seats to be filled by new members. Currently the Democrats control only the Senate with the Republicans controlling both the House and the governorship. You can be sure that both parties will be working hard to gain a majority in both houses. 

As I announced earlier, I plan to serve out my current term to the end of this year, but I am not running for re-election. Next year will be the first time in 48 years that I will not be in public office or be a candidate for public office. In total I have been a candidate in a primary or general election 29 times and won 26 of those elections. I have been a member of the House for a total of 44 years serving continuously for the past 42 years. During my tenure I served under 8 different Speakers, 4 Democrats and 4 Republicans, and I served with 12 Governors, 7 Democrats and 5 Republicans. With those numbers I think it is obvious why I decided to retire at the end of my current term.

Election districts were renumbered as part of the redistricting process. To find the numbers of the House and Senate districts in which you reside, go to https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. For example, the House district in which I reside is numbered “7.” Since I am not running for re-election, four Democrats at the time of the writing of this column are seeking the Democratic nomination to run for the House of Delegates from the 7th District. A primary will be held on Tuesday, June 20, to determine the nominee. I am not aware at this time if there will be a Republican nominee.

It will be a busy year as there are Board of Supervisors, School Board members as well as House and Senate races on the ballot. I recommend the website for the Virginia Public Access Project, (https://www.vpap.org/) as a way to keep up with what is going on locally as well as throughout the state.