(The Center Square) — Campaign season for Virginia’s 2024 General Assembly has effectively come to a close; today’s results remain a mystery until votes are counted – but here’s where things stand now.
Over 550,000 Virginia residents cast their ballots in person during early voting, the most popular early-voting method.
More than 226,000 submitted their votes by mail, and about 142,000 have submitted mail-in applications. Those ballots must be postmarked on or before election day or returned at a polling location on election day.
Historically, Democrats have dominated early voting, but Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Republican candidates have encouraged Virginia voters to vote early this year. Early voter turnout was highest in Republican-leaning or strongly Republican districts, but the public won’t know until votes have been counted whether that was reflective of new party converts or swing voters, or if it was roughly the same voters just voting earlier – or how early-voting Democrats figured into those numbers.
The Virginia Public Access Project, a nonprofit organization that tracks election results, including early voting tallies, shows how many votes have come in by district. For the House of Delegates, nine districts with the most early votes either lean Republican or are strongly Republican; six of the seven most competitive districts were in the top 20 for early voting; and five lean or are strongly Democratic.
For the Senate, a strong Republican district where incumbent Ryan McDougle is running for reelection, District 26, saw the largest early voter turnout at 32,225 ballots cast. That’s more than twice the amount in House District 71, which gathered almost 16,000 votes and where Democrat Jessica Anderson is running against incumbent Amanda Batten.
Following closely behind with 31,328 early votes cast was District 31, slated to be one of the most competitive Senate races this election. Republican Juan Pablo Segura faces off against Democrat Russet Perry.
Of the most competitive House races, Democrat Travis Nemhard received the largest single last-minute campaign contribution of $125,000 from the House Democratic Caucus. Nemhard is running against Republican Ian Lovejoy in District 22. Republican Lee Peters received a $100,000 last-minute contribution from the Spirit of Virginia, Youngkin’s political action committee. However, Republican John Stirrup of District 21 received close to $300,000 in contributions of $20,000 and up, and Republican Kim Taylor received nearly $220,000.
The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus’ donation to Del. Danica Roem’s campaign in Northern Virginia’s District 30 topped the charts of Senate last-minute contributions at $400,000 on Oct. 27 – until the Spirit of Virginia surpassed that days later by donating half a million dollars to Roem’s challenger, Republican Bill Woolf. Democrat Clint Jenkins also received a last-minute donation of $384,000 from the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus to opponent Republican Emily Brewer’s $195,000 from the Spirit of Virginia.