Along with Ohio and Kentucky, Virginia’s 2023 general elections commanded national attention as an indicator of public opinion on abortion. Governor Youngkin campaigned for a 15-week ban in 2021, but a Democratic State Senate prevented any motion on this platform for the last two years. Youngkin has primarily supported Republican candidates in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates based on their support for this policy, which has consistently appeared as a significant issue in Virginia’s legislative races .
Through his Spirit of Virginia PAC, Youngkin raised over $18 million in support for Republican candidates . Some suggest that he desires to enact sweeping action on abortion in a historically blue state. This would theoretically gain him national conservative support to bolster a 2024 presidential campaign many suspected he intended to announce later in November . However, Tuesday’s elections evidenced that Virginia is not yet prepared for such a ban, and Youngkin’s 2021 election does not solidify Virginia’s presence as a red state.
After the elections, Democrats held a 21-19 majority in the state senate and a 51-49 majority in the House. Before the election, Democrats held a 22-17 Senate majority and the Republicans a 48-46 House majority (with six vacancies) .
In response to Tuesday’s election results, Governor Youngkin said, “I think this is what Virginians expect. I think they know that in a state that is so purple, that we do debate. We do argue…[but] we are a state that is very comfortable working together, and I am optimistic that we can continue to find these most important areas that we can move forward,” .
A full update covering the results of elections covered by The Polling Place will be released shortly.