WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Competitive Races For Most Virginia State Senate Seats

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With the election only a month away, the campaigns for all 140 House of Delegates and Virginia Senate seats have kicked into high gear. Dozens of seats are uncontested, but the stakes are especially high in one chamber of the General Assembly. 

A number of long-time incumbents are defending their seats. But the Senate is more competitive than the House, with the two major parties vying for control. State Election Services Assistant Manager Matt Abell says the Senate has only 14 uncontested seats. 

"That leaves 26 contested races of the 40," he says. "24 of the 26 are contested between the major parties -- the Republican and Democratic candidates." The margin of the Democrats' majority in the State Senate is small, and the body could change hands this year, depending on the outcomes of a few key races.

The House has only 37 contested seats, with 27 between the major parties. The rest have Independents, Libertarians, or Independent Greens on the ballot. 

But Abell says the number of competitive races in the House has recently  declined. There were 59 uncontested House of Delegates races in 2007; in 2009, the number of uncontested races dropped to 32. For 2011, there are 63 uncontested races in the Republican-controlled House of Delegates.

Virginia will also hold local elections, including those for constitutional officers, supervisors, and school boards. 

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