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Democrats win legislative control Virginia, kneecapping Youngkin - Conservative Angle

GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin failed to secure the legislative support he needed for his pro-life agenda, signaling potential gridlock in Virginia.

In a closing ad released by his PAC, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) urged Virginians to elect a Republican team to back him up, promising that they would deliver. However, with most localities now reporting the results of the 2023 November general and special elections, it is clear that Youngkin won't have the backup he desired for the remainder of his term.

While Democratic pornographer Susanna Gibson failed to beat Republican David Owen for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, Democrats managed to seize control of the state legislature and maintain their majority in the state Senate.

GOP Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant lost her 16th District seat by nearly nine points. Former CIA officer Russet Perry prevented Republican newcomer Juan Pablo Segura from taking the Virginia state Senate's 31st District. In the House of Delegates, Dels. Lee Peters and Karen Greenhalgh lost their seats by roughly five and four points, respectively.

The likely one-seat majorities in both the House and Senate mean the state GOP's promised 15-week abortion ban and tax cuts are unlikely to materialize.

Senior Youngkin adviser Dave Rexrode wrote late on election night, "We had hoped for a stronger outcome this evening but are proud of the effort all of our candidates put in to these extremely competitive districts."

There are strong indications that just as Republicans' pro-life agenda reportedly served to blunt the anticipated GOP red wave last year, it amounted to a millstone around their political ambitions in this election. It was, after all, a featured focus in Democratic campaigns across the state and regarded as a top drivers for voters.

The Times indicated that abortion was understood to be so great a motivating factor for turning out progressive votes that Michael Bloomberg's gun control organization Everytown promoted abortion entitlements before even mentioning gun violence in Virginia TV ads.

President Joe Biden also leaned on the matter of abortion in the state, suggesting in a fundraising email circulated by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, "Folks, in Virginia, the stakes have never been higher."

"Governor Glenn Youngkin and extreme Republicans have made it clear that they're trying to take our country back on issues like choice," added the formerly pro-life Democrat.

"Virginians understood the extremism of Youngkin's abortion ban and the threats to democracy posed by MAGA Republicans," Dan Helmer, a Democratic House delegate in Virginia, told the New York Times. "That's why they turned out to vote."

"It's official: There will be absolutely no abortion ban legislation sent to Glenn Youngkin's desk for the duration of his term in office, period," said state Sen. Mamie Locke, chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, reported Axios.

While Democrats can ensure Youngkin's pro-life efforts won't make it out of harbor, they similarly won't be able to advance their policy agenda without bipartisan support or fear of gubernatorial vetoes, meaning potential legislative gridlock for years.

Beyond seeing his agenda kneecapped at home, this outcome might also throw cold water on the governor's possible national aspirations, at least in the short term.

"The only justification for running next year would be if Republicans took over both houses," Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told the Times. "Without that, he's got a problem of having been elected to one public office and only being halfway through that single term."

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