Senate Control Up For Grabs In Richmond - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Senate Control Up For Grabs In Richmond

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It’s unusual to go into any season of the Virginia General Assembly without the political high ground having already been fought over and decided.

But as lawmakers continue their work during this first week of the 2014 session, control of the state Senate is still a big question mark.

Controlling the Senate means controlling which bills make it to the governor’s desk, and that has eyes fixed on two very important special elections. Republicans need to win only one of those bouts to keep control of the entire legislature.

The special election to replace Lieutenant Governor-elect Ralph Northam in the 6th District took place Tuesday. Democrat Lynwood Lewis won by a narrow 10-vote margin over Republican Wayne Coleman. The State Board of Elections will certify the results Friday, with a recount more than likely.

“I really think some of my Democratic colleagues are quite shocked that a Republican would do that well in a very heavily Democratic-leaning district,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment said.

For Democrats to control the Senate, they need to hang on to the 6th, and win a January 21 special election for Mark Herring’s 33rd District seat. If that happens, both parties will return to an even 20-20 split in the chamber with the lieutenant governor holding a strategic tie-breaking vote on many issues.

But as an election and a recount have both parties waiting anxiously to see who takes control, Northam says he’s prepared for his new role regardless of the outcome.

“That’s what democracy is all about, and you know, whoever wins we’re going to welcome them in the Senate and move forward."

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