The stage is set for November.
As I discussed last week, the majorities are up for grabs in both of Virginia’s legislative chambers on November 5th. In the upper chamber, Democrats hold a 22-17-1 majority while Republicans have a 50-46 majority in the State House of Delegates. Such a landscape presents an opportunity for GOP Governor Glenn Youngkin to seek a Republican sweep that could even allow him to make a late entry into the 2024 Presidential primaries.
The magic of primary night, however, are those surprising upsets that knock incumbents out of the race before the general election campaign even begins. There were at least four such instances last night, with one standing out among the rest.
Incumbent Democratic State Senator Chap Petersen of the 37th District (Fairfax), was felled by Saddam Salim, who emigrated to the United States from Bangladesh as a ten-year old. Salim ran to Sen. Petersen’s left, hitting the incumbent for voting against an assault weapons bill, pro-labor legislation and removing a Confederate monument.
At this moment, with most of the precincts in, Salim is ahead with 10,050 votes (53.84%) against Petersen’s 8,616 votes (46.16%).
In a neighboring district another Democratic incumbent State Senator, George Barker, was upset by Fairfax County School District member Stella Pekarsky. Barker is a veteran legislative expert, but the 36th District was so drastically redrawn in redistricting that constituents were more familiar with the younger Pekarsky.
So with all of the precincts in, Pekarsky stands at 7,775 votes (52.22%), just ahead of Barker’s 7,113 votes (47.78%).
Democrats will once again be rid of the thorn in their side known as State Sen. Joe Morrissey. Morrissey was run out of politics in 2013 for having a sexual relationship with a 17 year-old, only to make a stunning comeback in 2019. This time, however, a targeted effort by Democratic and pro-choice forces to back former House Delegate Lashrecse Aird paid off.
So far, Aird’s compiled 14,178 votes (69.36%) in the 13th District compared to just 6,263 votes (30.64%) for Morrissey.
Meanwhile, in the 12th District, Virginia Senate Republicans ousted their own caucus outcast. State Sen. Amanda Chase, a self-proclaimed “Trump in heels”, walked out of the GOP caucus after she was censored for praising the January 6th riots. Yet Chase was up against not one, but two, primary challengers – former Congressional candidate Tina Ramierez and ex-State Senator Glen Sturtevant Jr. – so an upset victory still remained plausible for her.
Yet with nearly all of the precincts in, Sturtevant emerged as the winner with 8,493 votes (39.47%), just ahead of Chase’s 8,153 votes (37.89%). Ramierez finished a distant third with 4,874 votes (22.65%).
Finally, another notable name who went down in defeat Tuesday night was former NASCAR driver/announcer Hermie Sadler. Sadler was running in the Republican primary for the newly created 17th State Senate District against House Delegate Emily Brewer.
Now, with almost all the precincts in, Brewer is ahead with 9,496 votes (58.77%) while Sadler trails behind with 6,661 votes (41.23%).
You can check out the full results of these races, and every other contest held last night in the Commonwealth of Virginia, at this Decision Desk HQ results page.