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How Tuesday's Senate Election Could Determine Next November's Battlegrounds

The 2018 election is now in the books. But get ready for the next election cycle because the primary is only about seven months away.


Nineteen Republicans in the General Assembly are in districts where Democrat Tim Kaine beat Republican Corey Stewart.


Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says Democrats will clearly target some of those Republicans, like state Senator Glen Sturtevant in the Richmond suburbs where Kaine had a 23-point margin of victory. Or Delegate David Yancey of Newport News, who only won when his name was randomly selected out of a bowl earlier this year.


Some of the other seats, though, Kidd isn’t so sure. “Corey Stewart was not attractive to all kinds of Republican voters, and so there are many Republican voters who sat home," Kidd says. "Some of those who sat home last Tuesday certainly will show up to elect Bryce Reeves, for example, or Chris Jones.”


Republican consultant Dan Scandling says Republican Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo is in a particularly tough spot because of the shifting politics of Northern Virginia, where last year’s blue wave has already washed away other Republicans. “Redistricting is not going to help, and the state’s probably going to tilt more Democratic because the population centers are now in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads and suburban Richmond," Scandling says. "That’s just the facts of life, and the way it is.”


All 19 of those Republicans in Kaine districts may not end up losing their seats or even find themselves in competitive races. But it will only take a handful of flipped seats for Democrats to seize control of the House and Senate next year.


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


Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.