Well, the Virginia elections are over—and Democrats delivered punishment to Republicans. Guy will have a deep-dive on this race later, but here's a very brief roundup with the final results. Democrat Ralph Northam decisively trounced Republican Ed Gillespie 53/45. The Democratic turnout was overwhelming, and that paved way for a blue wave that crashed into the GOP down ticket. Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Justin Fairfax beat Republican Jill Vogel 52/47. Incumbent Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring beat Republican John Adams for another term 53/46. The Democrats are also now on the verge of retaking the House of Delegates, gaining 13 seats in the lower chamber; the GOP held a 66-seat supermajority going into this contest. The lower chamber now leans Democratic, with a 47-46 split. It’s way too early to call who will control the chamber, but David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report wrote on FiveThirtyEight that it's likely the Democrats clinch it:
If I had to put a bet on it, I’d bet Democrats will ultimately win control of Virginia’s House of Delegates. They’ve captured 47 seats, and they’re ahead in four more races, pending absentee and provisional ballots. So far, absentee ballots have broken more Democratic than the Election Day vote, so that’s no comfort to Republicans. But the bottom line is, we probably won’t be able to call control tonight.
Dear Pundit Friends, please stop attributing this D landslide in VA to "changing demographics". VA hasn't changed that much since last Nov. 8 (Hillary by 5%). The bigger explanation is a backlash to Trump and Trumpism, pure and simple. #VAGov— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) November 8, 2017
I see some commentary on why Gillespie lost that seems disconnected from what just happened.— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 8, 2017
He did really well in white rural Virginia! He's going to outperform Romney, Cucc in all sorts of areas.
He was *annihilated* in the suburbs.
It’s not that Gillespie and the Republicans did badly with white rural Virginians. They did—but they got murdered in the suburbs as Nate Cohn noted. University of Virginia's Larry Sabato warned against the narrative about "changing demographics," noting that this was more of a response against Trump. In the end, the Democrats were able to mobilize—big league (via WaPo):
Northam’s victory was propelled by white, college-educated women; voters who are concerned about health care; a robust showing among Democrats; and voters who strongly disapprove of Trump, exit polls indicated.
Though overall returns were incomplete, Northam’s strength showed in a few bellwether counties.
With 95 of 96 precincts reporting in the D.C. suburb of Loudoun County, Northam had a nearly 20-point advantage. In 2013, Democrat Terry McAuliffe won Loudoun by only about four points on his way to a narrow gubernatorial victory.
Similarly, the key Richmond suburb of Chesterfield County, long a Republican stronghold, was showing a one-point edge for Gillespie with 75 of 76 precincts reporting. In 2013, Republican Ken Cuccinelli took the county by nearly eight points in his losing bid against McAuliffe.
Recent statewide polls had shown the race for governor to be neck and neck, but the outcome hinged on two unpredictable factors: turnout and Trump.
Folks, you win some and you lose some; that’s the nature of our elections. So, let’s move on, try and understand what went right and wrong, and prepare for the next battle. We don’t whine. We don’t set things on fire. We don’t riot in the streets like the Left. We regroup, and that what needs to happen. Democrats, you guys had a good night. I mean a really good night. Keep drinking that champagne. You deserve it. This was a contest in which conservatives were beaten badly. Let’s rest up (briefly) and get back to work. This political game is far from over. Again, Guy will go deeper into what happened tomorrow.
I’ll close with this, it doesn’t seem that many were expecting Northam to lead a Democratic wave in Virginia. Alas, politics offers its fair share of surprises, though some things appear to be constant, like the commonwealth’s urban/rural divide:
Northam has led Democrats to a sweep tonight, including possibly picking up the House of Delegates. But in a sign of just how gigantic the urban/rural divide has become, he appears to have lost Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore, his one-time political base.
Who thought Ralph Northam would lead a Democratic sweep in VA tonight while losing the Eastern Shore? #VAGOV— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
Wasserman was charting the GOP Walloping last night. Here’s some of the butcher’s bill in the House of Delegates race:
Right now Ds lead in 19 Republican-held seats. Again, hard to see how they aren't the favorite to flip the chamber as of right now (of course, still time for things to change).— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 8, 2017
This is a tidal wave.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
Up to 11. Democrats flip VA House seats 10, 67, 73, too --> https://t.co/b09DmO0IAr— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 8, 2017
Gillespie didn't lose because he didn't embrace Trump. He lost because Trump's approval rating is low, and Democrats turned out to vote against Trump.— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Chris Hurst (D) has unseated Del. Joseph Yost (R) in Blacksburg's #HD12. Dem pickup. Brings Dems to +12, need 5 more for control.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Schuyler VanValkenburg has defeated Edward Whitlock (R) in Henrico County's #HD72. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Debra Rodman (D) has unseated Del. John O'Bannon (R) in Henrico County's #HD73. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Another upset. Hala Ayala (R) has unseated Del. Rich Anderson (R) in Prince William County's #HD51. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: In an upset, Lee Carter (D) has unseated Del. Jackson Miller (R) in Manassas's #HD50. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Kathy Tran (D) has defeated Lolita Mancheno-Smoak (R) in Fairfax County's #HD42. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: David Reid (D) has unseated Del. Tag Greason (R) in Fairfax County's #HD32. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Elizabeth Guzman (D) has unseated Del. Scott Lingamfelter (R) in Prince William County's #HD31. Dem pickup.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D) has unseated Del. Ron Villanueva (R) in Virginia Beach's #HD21. Dems now +13, need 4 more pickups for control.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Del. Tony Wilt (R) has won reelection in Harrisonburg's #HD26, defeating Brent Finnegan (D). 47D, 45R, 8 races left uncalled.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017
BREAKING: Cheryl Turpin (D) has unseated Del. Rocky Holcomb (R) in Virginia Beach's #HD85, reversing the Jan. special election result. Dems +14, need 3 more for control.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 8, 2017