© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A quarter of General Assembly races this year are uncontested


Voting for this fall's General Assembly elections ends Tuesday. And, some candidates on the ballot have no challenger.

One out of four elections this week has no challenger; candidates running unopposed. That includes a dozen who are not even incumbents; candidates who are essentially Senator-elect or Delegate-elect before any votes are even counted.

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

"We have seen some election cycles relatively recently where candidates who contested seats where many believed there was really no chance or the incumbent may be too strong and then were successful in flipping a seat here or there," Rozell says. "And that tells you that there is real potential to effect change in districts where entrenched interests might think that there really is no potential."

Wes Bellamy is a political science professor at Virginia State University.

"You never know who’s going to win until all the ballots are counted," says Bellamy. "So, I honestly believe that while it may seem like there is some smooth sailing for some particular seats, two years from now, four years from now, six years from now; you never know. Those who were once unopposed may be in highly contested races."

In the last 15 years, the average percentage of uncontested races was 40% in the House and 30% in the Senate. So, this year's percentage of uncontested races is in line with that trend despite new maps some hoped might increase the number of competitive races.

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.