State Senate Seats Still Up For Grabs

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) -- Control of the State Senate is still up for grabs.

When the State Senate convened Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor -elect Ralph Northam and Attorney General -elect Mark Herring were in their usual seats, but they won't be for long.

"Where the scales will tip on that remains to be seen, as far as the balance of power," said State Sen. Emmett Hanger.

In the race for Northam's seat, Republican Wayne Coleman trails Democrat Lynwood Lewis by just 10 votes, as the state board of elections certified that result Friday.

The seat is not Lewis' quite yet because Coleman's campaign manager has told The Virginian-Pilot they'll request a recount.

With another special election still to come, "It's going to be very critical, I think, as to what might take place," said political analyst, Dr. David McQuilkin.

The State Senate has been split 20-20 for the last two years and the tie-breaking vote has gone to a Republican.

That will change Saturday when Democrat Ralph Northam is inaugurated.

"I think everyone is cautiously optimistic that we can get some things done," said Delegate Dickie Bell.

A lot hinges on those special elections as tussles over Medicaid and the budget loom, lawmakers hope to avoid the partisan bickering taking over Washington.

"We've learned to get along in a bipartisan way, so hopefully that will continue this year," said Hanger.

"I think there's common ground for both sides, I hope we'll focus on that and try to find that," said Bell.

The special election to replace Herring is set for the January 21, if Democrats hold on to the open seats they would have the edge in the Senate, while Republicans would govern the House. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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