Virginia Republicans anxious to see the party’s takeover of the state House of Delegates in the November election affirmed got what they wanted Friday after election officials in the southeastern part of the commonwealth determined Republican Karen Greenhalgh had won the crucial 51st seat.
Greenleigh led Delegate Alex Askew by 127 votes on Nov. 2 but, as the difference between the two was less than 0.5 percent, the incumbent Democrat availed himself of the option of having the votes recounted at public expense.
He still lost, election officials determined, but by just 115 votes out of more than 28,000 cast, The Washington Post reported.
“House Republicans are excited to begin working for the people of Virginia,” Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), who has been elected by the GOP caucus to serve as Speaker of the House once the General Assembly session gets underway on Jan. 12, said in a statement. “Now that the majority is official, we can move forward with a timely transition as to be prepared to work on day one.”
Gilbert is expected to work closely with GOP Gov-elect Glenn Youngkin to move the incoming chief executive’s priorities including a repeal of the sales taxes on groceries through the legislature despite the Democrats having a one-vote majority in the Virginia Senate.
“While this is not the outcome we hoped for, I continue to be filled with optimism for the future of our Commonwealth and of the city of Virginia Beach,” Askew said in a release issued shortly after election officials announced the results. A recount in a second race occurs next week in Hampton, Va., where Republican A.C. Cordoza is ahead of incumbent Democratic Del. Martha M. Mugler by 94 votes out of 27,836 votes cast. If Cordoza is declared the winner, the Republicans will control the House of Delegates, 52-48.
By winning all three statewide constitutional offices in Virginia on Nov. 2 as well as retaking control of the House of Delegates, Virginia Republicans positioned themselves at the forefront of a “Red Wave” that some election observers say foreshadows a rout of Democrats running just about anywhere in America in 2002, leaving the GOP in a position to retake the White House in November 2024.