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Virginia has two special elections on the horizon


The November election may be over, but voters aren't done yet.

Sometimes it seems like the voting never really ends in Virginia, which has two special elections on the horizon for the General Assembly. In northern Virginia, voters will fill a seat vacated by former Delegate Mark Keam, who stepped down to take a position in the Biden administration. And, voters in Virginia Beach will also fill a vacancy in the state Senate created by Jen Kiggans, who was recently elected to Congress.

J. Miles Coleman at the University of Virginia says these elections will be a preview for the upcoming 2023 election cycle.

"One reason why these special elections tend to get more attention is that they happen in isolation," Coleman says. "And they oftentimes can set the tone for what the cycle ends up being like."

The special elections in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads come at a time when Republicans are trying to figure out next steps after an extremely disappointing election cycle.

Mark Rozell is dean of the Schar School at George Mason University.

"So right now, everybody's asking the question where does the Republican Party go?" explains Rozell. "Does it move beyond Mr. Trump or does the Trump faction within the Republican Party still hold primary sway in internal Republican Party nomination politics? And we're going to see a little preview of that in the special elections that are coming up."

Voting in both of those special elections is scheduled to end on Tuesday, January 10th. That’s the day before the opening of the next session of the Virginia General Assembly.

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.