Wow! it was a very long night and one that will no doubt be discussed ad nauseam for many months to come. After the dust settled, it became clear that there is indeed a profession where you can be more frequently (and profoundly) wrong than a weatherperson and stay gainfully employed - that of a political pollster!
Virginia was the only traditional "swing" state to go for Clinton, something many will likely attribute to the selection of Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. Kaine will now stay in the US Senate, rendering the much discussed game of jockeying for his seat moot until 2018 when he is up for reelection.
Virginia will have three new Congressmen - all of whom came from the ranks of the Virginia General Assembly:
- State Delegate and former Navy Seal Scott Taylor (R) easily defeated businesswoman Shaun Brown (D) with 62% of the vote to win his first term from the Virginia Beach-based 2nd Congressional District. This was a hold for Republicans. There will be a special election for Taylor's fairly Republican House of Delegates seat prior to the 2017 Session commencing. Stay tuned for details.
- State Senator and Democratic Senate Caucus Leader Don McEachin defeated Henrico Co. Sheriff, Mike Wade (R) with 57% of the vote to pick-up a Congressional seat for Democrats. This was a newly created district resulting from court ordered redistricting - it runs from Richmond City to Chesapeake. There will be a special election for McEachin's State Senate seat prior to the 2017 General Assembly commencing. Stay tuned for details as at least a couple of House members have shown interest in moving to the more deliberative body on the other side of the Capitol.
- State Senator Tom Garrett (R) kept the Central Virginia based 5th Congressional District in the Republican column by defeating former Albermarle Co. Supervisor, Jane Dittmar (D) with 58% of the vote. There will be a special election for Garrett's State Senate seat prior to the 2017 General Assembly commencing. Stay tuned for details as several folks are already attempting to circle the wagons in preparation for a run.
While the party makeup of both chambers remained the same, four seats were filled in the General Assembly:
- The 5th Senate District will be represented by Lionel Spruill come January - Lionel had been in the House of Delegates for 22 years. This was the seat that became vacant after Kenny Alexander was elected Mayor of Norfolk.
- The 1st Senate District will be represented by Monty Mason. Monty, an executive with Visa, resigned his House of Delegates seat to run after the sudden passing of John Miller back in April.
- The 77th House District (Spruill's old seat) will now be represented by life-long Chesapeake resident Cliff Hayes (D).
- The 93rd House District (Mason's old seat) will now be represented by prosecutor and political newcomer, Mike Mullin (D).
Also of note, two statewide ballot initiatives were considered:
- Constitutional Amendment 1 - would have placed the provisions of Virginia's right to work law into the Constitution of Virginia. This did NOT pass.
- Constitutional Amendment 2 -- would allow localities to make tax-exempt the properties of surviving spouses of first-responders killed in the line of duty. This PASSED overwhelmingly.
So, the musical chairs will continue, at least up until the General Assembly is gaveled in on the second Wednesday of January. And, for all of those looking for a long break from politics, no such luck as don't forget Virginia is lucky enough to have statewide races for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General next year AND all 100 members of the House of Delegates will face re-election. Those campaigns will begin in earnest after the 45 legislative days in Richmond. Being that 2017 is an election year in Virginia, it will be a big year for the Virginia Dental Political Action Committee (VADPAC) so please don't forget to make your contribution, which you can easily do when paying your VDA dues. Dues statements should be in your mailbox very soon! We also hope to see you all at the VDA Day on the Hill, being held on January 20, 2017 in Richmond. Click here to register
Thanks for your support and we will continue to keep you posted!