Early in-person voting in Virginia’s November general election started Friday, kicking off a 45-day period when voters can cast ballots in-person before Election Day at a local registrar’s office or satellite voting location.
Voters are casting ballots for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, the House of Delegates and in local races.
With all 100 House of Delegates seats on the ballot, and Democrats defending a 55-45 advantage, Republicans are looking to flip six seats to take control of the chamber.
“Certainly the Republicans have an opportunity to pick up some seats statewide,” said Virginia political analyst Bob Holsworth.
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Some of the competitive House races can be found in Northern Virginia, including in Loudoun County’s 10th District, where Republican Nick Clemente has raised almost twice the amount of money that Democratic incumbent Del. Wendy Gooditis has.
“That’s one race that people are looking at pretty closely,” Holsworth said.
Another race Republicans are watching is in the 40th District, which includes parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties. Democratic incumbent Del. Dan Helmer is facing a challenge from Republican Harold Pyon.
“In recent years it’s shifted more toward the Democrats, but Republicans think it’s a competitive district,” Holsworth said.
There are two other races in Northern Virginia that could flip for Republicans, since there is no incumbent on the ballot.
Those include the 50th District, which covers parts of Manassas City and Prince William County, and the 51st District, which sits solely in Prince William County.
In the 50th District, Democrat Michelle Maldonado is facing Republican Steve Pleickardt. The incumbent, Democratic Del. Lee Carter, lost to Maldonado in the June Democratic primary.
The incumbent delegate in the 51st District, Democrat Hala Ayala, left her seat to become the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor. The candidates running to replace Ayala are Republican Tim Cox and Democrat Briana Sewell.
As Democrats are expected to do very well in Northern Virginia, Holsworth said Republicans are looking more closely at seats in areas around Richmond, Hampton Roads, Blacksburg and Southside Virginia.
Ultimately, whether Republicans are able to take control of the House will likely depend on how much enthusiasm they can build around their candidate for governor.
“It’s hard to imagine the Republicans could pick up six seats if Glenn Youngkin didn’t win,” Holsworth said.