With final results still being tallied late Tuesday night, Democrats appeared poised to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Virginia, with three clear Democratic seats gained, contributed to that takeover. When the dust settles, Democrats look to hold seven of Virginia’s 11 House of Representatives seats and both Senate seats. The Republicans’ statewide losing streak — which dates to 2009 — continues.
In a handful of races, incumbents won as expected, including Republican Rob Wittman in the 1st Congressional District, Democrat Donald McEachin in the 4th District, Democrat Don Beyer in the 8th District and Republican Morgan Griffith in the 9th District.
Democrat Bobby Scott ran unopposed in the Hampton Roads’ 3rd District. And Republican state Del. Ben Cline coasted to a win over Democrat Jennifer Lewis to take the 6th District seat representing the western part of the state.
Cline, a conservative, campaigned as an ally of President Donald Trump, supporting the construction of a southern border wall and the GOP tax cuts, The Roanoke Times reported, as well as calling for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
Control of the House of Representatives means Democrats can push back on hot-button campaign issues, like health care and immigration. The new Democratic majority could also make life difficult for President Donald Trump’s administration through investigations of Trump’s business dealings and Russian tampering in the 2016 election, among other lines of inquiry.
Here’s a brief overview of who won in the state’s most competitive races, and where they stand on key issues.
Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat
Kaine, a former Virginia governor and Richmond mayor, won re-election handily over GOP provocateur Corey Stewart.
Health Care: Kaine is a champion of the Medicare-X proposal that he co-authored. The plan would create a low-cost option for health care so people could choose between an existing private health plan or a public option. “I want Virginians — and all Americans — to have more health-care choices,” Kaine told the Washington Post last year.
Immigration: Critical of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, including travel bans and ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Kaine supports creating a path to citizenship and protecting Temporary Protected Status recipients. “I strongly enforced immigration laws, but I also think immigration is fundamentally positive for the country and that we need to do comprehensive immigration reform rather than to demonize immigrants,” Kaine told CBS 6.
Tax reform and the economy: In a statement on the Republican tax bill, Kaine called it “a bad bill that will raise taxes on millions of working Americans, explode the deficit, and raise health care premiums.” He supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and policies to help small business grow, which he sees “as the drivers of job creation and economic growth in Virginia,” according to his website.
Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District stretches from the Eastern Shore into Hampton Roads.
2nd District: Elaine Luria, Democrat
Luria appears to have narrowly edged out incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor.
Health care: Luria wants to protect the Affordable Care Act and especially address veterans’ health care issues. She served in the Navy for 20 years and has had personal experience with an inefficient Veterans Affairs system: Her husband once waited a year to get an appointment with a specialist.
Immigration: Like her opponent, Luria doesn’t think the United States needs to build a physical wall at the Mexico border. She favors finding a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought here as children and wants to allow more immigrants to come to the country for work.
Tax reform and the economy: Luria, who owns a Norfolk crafts business called the Mermaid Factory, said she favors gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She doesn’t think Trump’s tax reform does enough for people who don’t make a lot of money. “I don’t think anyone’s really tricked by this tax bill being a good deal,” Luria said in an interview with The Mercury during her campaign. “It’s working for some people, but for most people, $688 a year isn’t a game-changer.”
Virginia’s 5th Congressional District stretches from Northern Virginia down to the state’s southern border.
5th District: Denver Riggleman, Republican
Riggleman, a short-lived 2017 gubernatorial candidate, easily won over Democrat Leslie Cockburn, a former journalist, to represent a district that favored Republicans. The seat was up for grabs after U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett, a Republican, decided not to run for re-election.
Health care: Riggleman supports some aspects of the Affordable Care Act, like protecting people with pre-existing conditions and allowing people to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26.
Immigration: In order to benefit the farmers in his district, Riggleman favors immigration reform, specifically the H2C program that brings immigrants to the country on work visas. “What I’ve heard from dairy, cattle and fruit farmers is that we need a much more efficient immigration system,” Riggleman told The Mercury in an interview during his campaign.
Tax reform and the economy: Riggleman wants to keep Trump’s tax cuts permanent. It benefits the agricultural industry in his district and will help people achieve the American Dream, he said in an interview.
Virginia’s 7th Congressional District stretches from the suburbs of Richmond north to Culpeper.
7th District: Abigail Spanberger, Democrat *
*Spanberger was clinging to a narrow lead Tuesday night over U.S. Rep. Dave Brat, a Republican. Three precincts were still out and the margin between the candidates was less than 2 percentage points. Spanberger has declared victory but Brat hasn’t conceded.
Health care: Affordable and more accessible health care was one of Spanberger’s top priorities in her campaign. She supports Tim Kaine’s Medicare X proposal, which allows Americans to purchase private insurance plans but extends a public option to everyone as well.
Immigration: As a former CIA agent, Spanberger supports stronger borders while addressing issues like making work visa programs more responsive to needs and addresses DACA recipients. On her website, Spanberger says she supports an “earned pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants currently living here as long as they abide by the law, work hard and pay taxes.”
Tax reform and the economy: Spanberger has called Trump’s tax reform bill a handout to corporations and criticized it for adding to the national debt. She supports organized labor and policies that empower small businesses to thrive.
Virginia’s 10th Congressional District stretches east from Winchester into the suburbs of Washington.
10th District: Jennifer Wexton, Democrat
Wexton blew the doors off U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, an incumbent who was seen simultaneously as one of the nation’s most vulnerable but savvy Republicans.
Health care: Having voted to expand Medicaid in Virginia as a state senator, Wexton has said she supports a universal health care system. Her website highlights her goals of protecting coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, among other priorities.
Immigration: Wexton supports comprehensive immigration reform that would protect Dreamers, create a pathway to citizenship for immigrant families, and put any money toward building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border toward “securing and modernizing our borders,” according to her website. She’s criticized “President Trump’s divisive rhetoric and policies” as inhibiting any chance of bipartisan action on immigration.
Tax reform and the economy: Wexton has criticized the Republican tax overhaul as too favorable for corporations and the wealthy, calling it the “Comstock-Trump tax scam.” As a state senator she voted to raise the minimum wage several times, and has said she would support similar measures as a Congresswoman.