Voters will have more choices in this year’s election for the House of Delegates than they have ever had before.
Sixty of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates are contested this year. That’s way more than most years. In the last cycle, for example, only 29 seats had a Democrat and a Republican running against each other. Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says this year is the most competitive election for the House of Delegates ever. “From the end of the Civil War until the 1960s, Virginia was largely a one-party state," Kidd said "So there really weren’t a lot of contested races in general elections.”
The only year that came anything close to this cycle was back in 2009, according to an analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project. Geoff Skelley at the University of Virginia Center for Politics says the dynamics then were similar to this year but the parties were reversed. “It was apparent to people looking at running for office that it was going to be a decent environment for a Republican to be running in with an unpopular Democratic president, and we sort of have the reverse of that in this cycle.”
Democrats would need to take 17 seats to win a majority in the House of Delegates this year. That’s why they are so focused on the 17 Republican-held House seats where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump last year.