People around the nation kept an eye on elections results in Virginia on Tuesday night.
Republicans are trying to keep their narrow majorities in both houses of the legislature, while Democrats are trying to flip both chambers. The outcome could affect laws that have an impact for years to come.
The parties are optimistic. Leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties in Virginia told 10 News on Tuesday afternoon that they were optimistic that their party will come out on top.
“I’m hoping we take over the House and the Senate. It’s very important. This would probably be the most important election in Virginia in many, many years,” said Sen. John Edwards, (D) Roanoke.
“I think they’re going to be in for a surprise,” said Sen. Bill Stanley, (R) Franklin. “We have been not only competitive but have been up in a lot of the races that the rest of Virginia has been looking at to determine the control of the state Senate. So we’re feeling really good about our chances.”
Many ads run outside of southwest Virginia and Southside have shown how heated the races have become — particularly in northern Virginia, Richmond and the Tidewater region. Both parties are spending millions to try to win control of the commonwealth.
A Richmond-area Republican candidate portrayed their opponent as a socialist in a Soviet-style poster. It was part of a push to make Democrats appear as extremists.
Also in the Richmond area, a race reached more than $5 million spent, seeing Democrats press the GOP on gun issues, and Republicans showed an opponent holding the blackface image central to the Gov. Ralph Northam’s controversy.
The Democrats hit back, running an ad that blames the GOP for mass shootings.
In Northern Virginia, a Democrat raised more than $2.5 million in a race for an open seat.
In the Tidewater region, a Republican mailer shows an opponent photoshopped into a picture with MS-13 gang members.
10 News political analyst Dr. Ed Lynch predicts the Democrats will win the night.
“When there’s a change in party, which is what I expect, it usually is because of several factors, and I think that’s what we’ve got going here,” Lynch said Monday. “We have a state that is trending blue. We have a Republican president who is not popular in Virginia right now, and we have a redistricting map, which was largely drawn for the benefit of the Democratic Party, confirmed by the courts.”
The Democrats promise, if they win, they will take actions long blocked by Republicans —
including on abortion rights, gun rights and the minimum wage.
Analysts say Tuesday’s outcome could offer a preview of the 2020 presidential race.