Government & Politics
4:55 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Special Election in the 6th District

With the election of Ralph Northam to be Virginia’s next lieutenant governor, his state senate seat will open, and there will be a special election to replace him.  It’s a vote that could have statewide implications.

Listen to Sandy Hausman's report.

Right now, there are 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans in Virginia’s Senate, and with Lt. governor Bill Bolling casting tie-breaking votes, the GOP ‘s been able to pass plenty of legislation.  Now, a Democrat will preside, and if Ralph Northam’s seat is filled by another Democrat, that party would have control.  At the Virginian Pilot, political reporter Julian Walker says it’s difficult to say how the Sixth District, which encompasses Norfolk and the Eastern Shore, will go.

“It went for President Barack Obama in 2012, however in the 2009 election it went comfortably for Governor Bob McDonnell.”

And turnout for special elections is usually low, which means issues and personalities may not decide this race.

“I mean this is such a compressed election that I don’t know that this really amounts to one person’s ideology over the other.  I think it’s much more about who shows up and who can get their people to the polls.”

Three Democrats and three Republicans are now running in primaries.  Democrats will vote Saturday and Republicans next Thursday.  Of course even if Democrats win in the 6th, it won’t  be the end of the story.   Once the attorney general’s race is decided, there will be another special election.  If it’s in Senator Mark Obenshain’s district, voters are likely to choose a Republican, but Senator Mark Herring’s Northern Virginia district could go either way.