Democrats Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton flipped GOP congressional seats in Virginia last year with help from suburban female voters to give their party a majority of the state’s congressional delegation.
Now, the trio is trying to tap into the growing political power of suburban women to help Democrats win a majority in the state legislature.
“Women have been the key voting demographic — especially college-educated women,” said Rachel Bitecofer, an analyst at the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, said of recent Virginia elections.
“When we think about what has been happening in national politics, one of the key ingredients of the blue wave was women,” she said. “They’re absolutely fundamental.”
All 140 seats in the General Assembly are on the ballot on Tuesday, with Republicans protecting slight majorities of 51 to 48 in the House and 20 to 19 in the Senate; each chamber has one vacancy.
If Democrats win control of the legislature, they will join Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to consolidate power over state government for the first time in 26 years.
They promise to pass a raft of measures that a recent Washington Post-Schar School poll found to be popular with female voters: stricter gun laws, the Equal Rights Amendment and a higher minimum wage.