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Wexton Wins Special Election, Giving Democrats Edge In Virginia Senate

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Voters in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties in Virginia have selected a new state Senator to replace Mark Herring, who became Virginia's attorney general after a recount last year. The election preserves the even 20/20 party split in the Senate.

Turnout yesterday was about 18 percent, higher than expected despite the winter weather. Democrat Jennifer Wexton won the race with 53 percent of the vote, beating Republican John Whitbeck and independent candidate Joe May, a longtime Republican member of the House of Delegates who split with the party.

Wexton is a former prosecutor. She won every Fairfax precinct and all but two of the precincts in Loudoun County. This is her second time running for office. In 2011, she waged an unsuccessful campaign for commonwealth's attorney against Jim Plowman.

With the election of Democrat Ralph Northam to the office of lieutenant governor, Democrats hold the tie-breaking voting in the commonwealth's divided senate. Under Senate rules, however, Republicans will maintain control over all Senate committees. It would take a two-third majority to change these rules.

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