All eyes are on Virginia, as both Republicans and Democrats hope to make a statement about the future political landscape, according to Virginia Tech political expert Karen Hult.

What it means if Democratic candidates win statewide in Virginia on Tuesday

“A Democratic win statewide -- taking all three statewide positions and maintaining control of the House of Delegates -- could signal that the hue of purple Virginia remains blue-tinted,” said Hult. “It also would provide evidence of the possible impact of ongoing worries about former President Trump's continuing influence over the Republican Party, including over public education, reproductive rights, access to the ballot, and climate change. Nationally, Democrats likely would breathe enormous sighs of relief while Republicans return to the campaign drawing board.”

What it means if Republican candidates win statewide in Virginia on Tuesday

“A Republican win statewide would reflect in part Virginia continuing its pattern of voting against the party of the newly elected president, which has happened every election since 1997 except 2013. It also might suggest the effects of President Biden's declining approval and relatedly of a drop in enthusiasm and energy among Democratic voters,” according to Hult.  “Nationally, Republicans will draw lessons of both candidate positioning and strategy going into the 2002 midterms. Democrats would receive more sobering news about the clear constraints on their influence and messaging.”

Impact on the Virginia General Assembly

“For Virginians, if Republicans win the governorship -- and either the lieutenant governorship or control of the House of Delegates, some of the legislation passed over the last two legislative sessions could be reversed. With state legislative and U.S. House redistricting now in the hands of the Virginia Supreme Court, Republican advantages in the 2022 U.S. House races and in 2023 for the  General Assembly could be reinforced,” said Hult.

Karen Hult teaches political science at Virginia Tech and its Center for Public Administration & Policy, with expertise in the U.S. Presidency, Virginia state politics and organizational and institutional theory.

Schedule an interview

To schedule an interview with Karen Hult, contact Bill Foy in the Virginia Tech Media Relations office at 540-998-0288.

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