Northern Virginia is No Longer a Republican Stronghold

Nov 7, 2018

Democrat Jennifer Wexton speaks at her election night party after defeating Republican Representative Barbara Comstock.
Credit AP Photo / Alex Brandon

Northern Virginia was once a bastion of economic conservatism. But now the region has only one elected Republican official at the state or federal level.

Northern Virginia was once the home of Republican stalwarts like Congressman Tom Davis. Senator John Warner. Delegate Dave Albo. But now that Congresswoman Barbara Comstock has been unseated, the region has only one elected Republican: Delegate Tim Hugo, the caucus chairman for Republicans in the House of Delegates.

Republican consultant Dan Scandling says the era of the Northern Virginia Republicans is over.

“It’s going to be a tough road ahead for Republicans in Northern Virginia. Essentially it’s gone. The suburban vote has just switched to the other side, and there’s just not a whole lot you’re going to be able to do to change that.”

Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton is leaving a state Senate seat previously occupied by Attorney General Mark Herring. He says the political geography is shifting.

“Districts like the 10th used to drive GOP victories in previous elections. But now it’s the other way around. Suburban areas are driving Democratic victories, and I think it shows a real shift.”

Tim Hugo barely held on to his seat last year, prevailing only after a recount. And it’s clear Democrats will target that seat — and others — next year in their attempt to seize control of the Virginia House in 2019.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.