Democrats had an incredible election night in Virginia on Tuesday, and while the 9-point victory in the Governor’s race has garnered a lot of attention (deservedly), what Democrats did in the Virginia House of Delegates was even more stunning.
Going into the election with a 66-to-34-seat deficit and facing heavily gerrymandered maps, Democrats picked up between 15 and 19 seats (depending on the final count in four contests still too close to call), entirely erasing the GOP’s enormous advantage – and possibly even taking back the VA House altogether.
And the way Democrats did it is even more incredible. Of the 19 seats Dems picked up or that remain too close to call, Dems won 5 seats in districts in which they didn’t even field a candidate in 2015. In the other 14 seats, the average result flipped from a 17-point Republican win in 2015 to a 7-point Democratic victory in 2017 – a 24-point swing!
After the 2016 election and the madness of this past year, Democratic voters were fired up and ready to make their voices heard. In the 14 districts that were contested in both 2015 and 2017, the number of votes for the Democratic candidates more than doubled (!) – while the number of votes for the Republican candidates increased by only about 30% – as Democratic turnout surged to record highs for a state-level election in Virginia.
As we look toward taking back the NC House in 2018, this is all incredibly encouraging. Virginia has provided the perfect two-step road map for North Carolina. First, we need to run strong progressive candidates in all districts that are even remotely competitive, including many where Democrats didn’t field a candidate in 2016.
Second, we need to turn out fired-up Democratic voters in record numbers. Efforts to turn out Democratic voters in 2018 will be especially important because there won’t be a Presidential or US Senate contest in NC to bring people to the polls. This kind of “blue moon” election comes once every 12 years, and, historically, voter turnout has been especially low in blue-moon elections years.
Flipping the NC house won’t be easy, but Virginia has shown the way. Join us and help make Election Night 2018 in North Carolina just as historic (and fun!) as Tuesday night was in Virginia! Sign up for our email list here – we only send a couple of emails per month so don't worry about us flooding your inbox.