WDBJ7's political analysts share thoughts on Virginia Democrats' historic win

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Tuesday night Democrats won at least two major seats in the Senate and five in the House. Democrats haven't controlled both houses of legislature and the Executive Mansion since 1993.

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"We won on the maps that Republicans drew in 2011," Senator Tim Kaine told CNN. "On their maps, we did something that we haven't done for a quarter century. With great energy and enthusiasm, we picked up both houses."

Joe Dashiell spoke to WDBJ7's political analysts, Dr. Bob Denton and Harry Willson about what this means moving forward.

"It was a very big night for democrats indeed," Denton said.

And Wilson added, "The path forward for Republicans is difficult to really now identify Republican leaders."

Now the big question being asked is what does the flip of power mean for Virginians.

"Well, I happen to think that it's a real sea change for the Commonwealth of Virginia, make no mistake about it, in terms of whatever the issues are and now there's a new majority," Denton said. "The bills will come out of committees. They will absolutely be voted on, whether it's about abortions or guns or education or minimum wage, whatever the issue is."

Wilson agreed.

"We really could see literally a new sheriff in town in some localities and a new group of people in charge in Richmond and that has serious impact for issues. [It's] probably the most impact election, in terms of issues, in decades in Virginia," Wilson said.

Among the big issues that have polarized the two parties are gun control, abortion, equal rights amendment, criminal justice reform and environmental concerns. With Governor Northam still in office for another two years, Wilson said Democrats will likely work this to their advantage to bring change.

"It will be interesting to see which issues they prioritize, what they really move forward with first or where they really put their energies," he said. "And where some issues may fall by the wayside if there's a perception that we only have enough time or we only have enough political capital to get one or two or three big things done."

Denton added that a question for Democrats will be how progressive they go on social issues and how aggressive they'll be in dictating the legislative agenda.

"It will be very fascinating to see how they will govern," Denton said. "And I will tell you that the Democrats of today and those who were elected looking in terms of their age and generation, they're not the Democrats who were in the leadership in the '80s and '90s. So it's going to be interesting to see how they divide themselves, how they select their leaders, how will they govern, and it's going to be interesting to see that process in terms of who is going to be elected to the leadership positions in committees."

Governor Ralph Northam released a statement Tuesday night after the Democratic win saying in part:

"Since I took office two years ago, we have made historic progress as a Commonwealth. Tonight, Virginians made it clear they want us to continue building on that progress. I look forward to working with our new Democratic majority to make these priorities a reality. Together, we will build a stronger, more inclusive and more just Commonwealth."

We also asked WDBJ7''s political analysts what they thought this democratic victory would mean for the 2020 election.

Wilson said that the number of Democrats who turned out to vote Tuesday compared to Republicans suggests that Virginia really is now a blue state and that could carry through to next year's election.

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