Republican Split May Give Democrats Control Of Virginia Senate | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Republican Split May Give Democrats Control Of Virginia Senate

Play associated audio
Lt. Gov-elect, Ralph Northam, left, and Attorney General-elect, Mark Herring, right, prepare for the start of the Senate session during opening ceremonies of the 2014 General Assembly at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Both Northam and Herring are being replaced via special election.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Lt. Gov-elect, Ralph Northam, left, and Attorney General-elect, Mark Herring, right, prepare for the start of the Senate session during opening ceremonies of the 2014 General Assembly at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Both Northam and Herring are being replaced via special election.

The outcome of two special elections may determine the fate of the Virginia state Senate.

One of the special elections is headed to a recount, although the Democrat has been certified as the winner of the Norfolk seat. That means control of the state Senate may rest on the special election in Loudoun County next week to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Mark Herring — a race which features long-time Republican Joe May running as an independent.

"It seems like, all in all, the best odds are probably that the Democrat ends up winning with a plurality because May and the other Republican, or the Republican, end up splitting the Republican vote," says Geoff Skelly, an analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Even if Democrats retain the state Senate seat, they still might have a hard time using their newfound one-vote majority. When Republicans took control of the Senate back in 2012, they set a leadership structure that will last the entire four-year term.

Skelley says making the change will probably require a lawsuit.

"If anything is going to happen, if anything is actually going to change the setup in the Senate, there will probably have to be some kind of court ruling," Skelley says.

But will Democrats be willing to take on Republicans? George Mason University professor Toni-Michelle Travis says moving forward with a lawsuit would be a mistake.

"He's talking about this bipartisan effort, and to challenge them in the court system with his own Democratic attorney general now might be a little too hardball," Travis says.

Travis says Democrats might have better luck by reaching across the aisle.

"I think McAuliffe will identify Republicans that might be brought over to the Democratic side on some issues," Travis says.

The special election in Loudoun County is scheduled for Jan. 21.

NPR

Christmas Bells Are Ringing, And Cable Holiday Movies Are Unrelenting

Christmas cable movies are a genre unto themselves. We take a look at some of the Hallmark (and other) romances that are surprisingly big business this time of year.
NPR

Astronauts Will Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner In Space

Two NASA astronauts are aboard the International Space Station. Turkey is on the menu but not pumpkin pie. NASA can't make pumpkin pie in space because the crust doesn't come out right.
NPR

EPA's Proposed Rules Add To Obama's Collision Course With GOP

The Environmental Protect Agency has drafted regulations on Ozone pollution. The latest move exposes divisions between the Obama administration and leading Republican lawmakers over the environment.
NPR

In Darren Wilson's Testimony, Familiar Themes About Black Men

Wilson's descriptions of Michael Brown reminded some people of negative depictions of African-Americans in history. Recent studies suggest these perceptions have deeper psychological roots.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.