Three contests in the House of Delegates remained in the balance Wednesday, making unclear the extent of Democrats’ majority in the chamber. Democrats had 54 House seats to Republicans’ 43 with the three seats unresolved.
Also Wednesday, Del. Debra Rodman, D-Henrico, issued a statement congratulating Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, on her re-election in Senate District 12. Dunnavant’s victory means Democrats will hold 21 Senate seats to Republicans’ 19, according to unofficial returns.
In the House, Del. Roxann Robinson, R-Chesterfield, was in a photo finish with Democrat Larry Barnett in District 27 for the second time in two years. In unofficial returns, Robinson led by 191 votes with all precincts reporting. Two years ago, Robinson edged Barnett by 128 votes.
Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, appeared on his way to re-election via a successful write-in bid. With all precincts reporting, 15,116 write-in votes had been cast in House District 30, about 4,000 more votes than were cast for Democrat Ann Ridgeway. Local elections officials will now be responsible for verifying how many write-in votes were cast for Freitas, who mounted a write-in campaign after paperwork problems kept him off the ballot.
No one has been elected to the General Assembly in a write-in campaign since 1989, when Jackie Stump, the head of the Virginia arm of United Mine Workers, defeated Democratic Del. Donald McGlothlin Sr. in Southwest Virginia amid an uproar over a labor strike.
In House District 83, Del. Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, trailed Democrat Nancy Guy by 18 votes with all precincts reporting. There are no automatic recounts in Virginia. Once an election is certified, the candidate who appears to be losing can request a recount if the difference between the apparent winner and the apparent losing candidate is not more than 1% of the total votes cast for the two candidates.
Rodman, who gave up her House seat to challenge Dunnavant, said in a statement: “Congratulations to Senator Dunnavant on her re-election.” She added: “It’s not the outcome that we hoped for, but I want to thank everyone who helped this campaign, including my family, volunteers, my campaign team, and everyone who invested in our vision.”
With all 62 precincts reporting, Dunnavant was up by more than 1,500 votes and nearly 2 percentage points. Dunnavant declared victory Tuesday night, saying: “This is a bright shining light” on a tough day for Republicans. “We’re going to get great things done for Virginia.”