Virginia State Senate Races Boil Down To A Few Districts | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Virginia State Senate Races Boil Down To A Few Districts

Play associated audio
Alejandro Mejía Greene: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jubilo/386243713/

Northern Virginia is likely to have more than a few state and local races decided by the slimmest of margins in today's elections, and one of them, the state senate race in the state's 39th district, has major ramifications for the balance of power in Richmond. 

If Democrats lose just two state senate seats Tuesday, Republican Lt. governor Bill Bolling becomes the tie-breaking vote in that lawmaking body. Virginia's 39th District, comprised of parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties, is currently held by Democrat George Barker. 

"I think we need a government in Richmond that represents broad interests, rather than narrow partisan interests of one party," says Barker. 

While the professorial Barker is touting his ability to work across the aisle, challenger Miller Baker is focusing on local issues including education funding, and criticizing Barker's record of voting for tax increases. (Baker did not respond to interview requests for this story.)

Democrats in Virginia do not control any of the statewide offices right now, and they're likely to remain a minority in the House of Delegates for years to come, according to one political analyst. 

"Essentially, control of the Senate is where Virginia Democrats are hanging on to power -- you might say, for dear life -- right now," says political scientist Bob Holsworth. No matter who wins, Holsworth says, both parties will be looking for hints as to what will happen in Northern Virginia in 2012's national races. 

"The electorate no doubt will be very different, but I can assure you that people are going to read a very significant message out of what happens on Tuesday," Holsworth says. 

The race for the 39th district in 2007 was also a tight one: back then, Barker was elected by just 761 votes. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.

WAMU 88.5

How The Smithsonian Is Building Its New, Sweeping Collection Of Black American Music

“I think it really smashes a lot of ideas about what the Smithsonian does and what it’s supposed to do,” one curator says of the African-American Museum’s growing collection.

NPR

Panera Is The Latest To Drop Artificial Ingredients From Its Food

Panera on Tuesday announced it is dropping artificial colors, preservatives and additives from many menu items. Nestle, Hershey and Kraft are also eliminating or cutting back on additives.
WAMU 88.5

What's An Official Act? Former Virginia Attorneys General Weigh In On McDonnell Case

As the former Virginia governor awaits his appeal on corruption charges, former attorneys general for the commonwealth have filed an amicus brief saying that the jury instructions' definition of "official acts" went far beyond court precedents.

NPR

Silicon Valley Remembers Dave Goldberg, Who Died Unexpectedly

The CEO of SurveyMonkey was known for his generosity toward colleagues and for supporting the career of his wife, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg. He died while vacationing with his family in Mexico.

Leave a Comment

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