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The long battle for control of Virginia’s House

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IT WAS no great surprise when Democrats held Virginia’s governorship in November. The state had been comfortably carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016, auguring a Democratic victory for governor that was probably clinched by voters’ deep distaste for Donald Trump.

What was a surprise, however, was Democrats’ huge success in legislative elections. These are typically friends-and-neighbours affairs in which party affiliation can mean little and hyper-partisan gerrymandering all but snuffs out competition. But this time round Democrats, who had been outnumbered two-to-one in the House of Delegates before the election (many seats had been drawn to help the election of Republicans) surged to within two seats of a takeover. Except for a smattering of delegates in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, the Richmond area and in the defence-rich south-eastern corner of the state, Republicans are now largely confined to heavily rural, thinly populated, Trump-friendly House districts.

Indeed, nearly a month after voting a…Continue reading

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