Despite Habeeb Retirement, Republicans Are Likely to Maintain Majority in House of Delegates

Jul 30, 2018

Delegate Greg Habeeb (R-Salem) announced his plans to retire from the General Assembly last week.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

Republicans in the House of Delegates have a one-vote majority. So any shake up of that composition could mean dramatic change. But, even a new vacancy isn’t causing a lot of hope among Democrats.

At this time last year, Republican Delegate Greg Habeeb of Salem was asking voters for another two-year term. Now, less than a year later, he’s calling it quits. That could give Democrats an opportunity to pick up a seat and force a power-sharing agreement in the House. But Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says don’t hold your breath.

“There’s a possibility that a blue wave could make a Republican win smaller than it historically is in this district. But I’m just not sure there are enough Democratic voters in the 8th to make the blue wave big enough.”

Democrats are hoping that the Republican House speaker will call for the special election in November, when voters will be going to the polls in the general election. But Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington suspects Republicans will probably want it to be sooner than that to avoid the wave of Democratic voters.

“In the anti-Trump environment where Democratic candidates have been over-performing everywhere, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this election were held on a day other than November 6th.”

Trump won this district with 62% of the vote, which makes it one of the most reliably Republican strongholds in Virginia.

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