For decades, Virginia was considered a reliably Republican state. But that was before Barack Obama became the first Democrat since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s to win Virginia two presidential elections in a row. And although Democrat Hillary Clinton lost the general election to President Donald Trump in 2016, Virginia was among the states she carried. Democrats have gained a lot of ground in Virginia, and a July 29 report by Jordan Pascale for WAMU-FM (Washington, D.C.’s NPR affiliate) explains why increased voter registration in Virginia could be good news for Democrats.
Pascale reports that according to new data from the Virginia Public Access Project, roughly 110,000 new voters have registered in that state so far in 2019 — which is a 67% increase since 2015. And Democrats, Pascale explains, are hoping to see some more blue waves in Virginia.
At this point, it would be premature to call Virginia a blue state: Republicans still enjoy a slim majority in both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. But after some important Democratic victories in Virginia — from winning the state in three presidential elections in a row to flipping 15 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017 to some important victories like Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s win over Republican Dave Brat in 2018 — it is safe to say that Virginia went from red state to swing state. And Democrats are hoping to achieve a majority in Virginia’s state legislature in the 2019 election.
Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, told WAMU that the new voter registrations in that state likely favor Democrats.
“Younger people vote 60-40 for Democrats, and groups moving to Virginia tend to be less Republican than those already here,” Farnsworth told the NPR affiliate.