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Tuesday's Results May Have Sweeping Impacts on Elections Next Year and Beyond

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This year's election in Virginia will have widespread influence across the country.

Virginians will be eagerly awaiting the results of Tuesday's elections. But the results may end up sending shock waves across the country.

"If Republicans win on Tuesday, it will change everything in Washington," explains Republican strategist Dan Scandling. He says momentum coming out of Tuesday would persuade better candidates to run for office.

"If all of a sudden Virginia flips back, it will be huge. It will have Republicans across the country saying we can do this, and this is a platform we can run on," he says.

A Republican win could also have Democrats all over the country in difficult districts deciding to not run again. Democratic strategist Ben Tribbett says the Virginia election results come at a key decision-making time for 2022.

"Every Virginia cycle, this always happens where the Virginia results come out right at the time where the final candidate recruitment is happening at the federal level," Tribbett says. "And the winners of the Virginia elections tend to get a real boost in the national elections in terms of late candidate recruitment as people are reading the tea leaves."

And strategists on both sides say it's not just about who wins, but which side looks like it's coming out of the election with momentum heading into 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. He has reported for NPR, the New York Daily News and the Alexandria Gazette Packet. He has a master's degree in American Studies from Florida State University, and he is a former adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. He is the author of four books.