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Jennifer Wexton wins Virginia Senate special election to succeed Mark Herring

Democrat Jennifer Wexton handily defeated Republian John Whitbeck and independent Joe May in Tuesday’s special election for the Virginia Senate’s 33rd District seat. Times-Mirror Photo/Rick Wasser
Democrat Jennifer Wexton bested two veteran Loudoun County politicians Tuesday night to earn a seat in the Senate of Virginia and almost assuredly give Virginia Democrats majority power in Richmond for the first time since 2009.

Ms. Wexton's victory over Republican John Whitbeck and former Republican state Del. Joe May, running his Senate race as an independent, caps a momentous two months for Democrats in Virginia, whom last November swept the top three offices in the commonwealth – the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general posts – for the first time in two decades.

Tuesday's election wasn't even close. With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Ms. Wexton led Mr. Whitbeck 53 percent to 37 percent. Mr. May had garnered nearly 10 percent of the vote.

While the 40-member state Senate is now split evenly between the two parties – assuming Democrat Lynwood Lewis holds his own special election victory through a recount in Virginia's 6th Senate district – Democrats hold the tie-breaking vote with recently elected Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (Mr. Lewis' would-be predecessor).

"It feels terrific," Ms. Wexton, a former assistant commonwealth's attorney and prosecutor, told the Times-Mirror Tuesday night. "I want to thank my field team. We knocked doors in the rain, in the freezing rain, in the snow and they never complained."

Speaking on what her decisive victory tells her about her Northern Virginia constituency, Wexton said, "They're sick of divisive and extreme politics. They want to send someone to Richmond who will work across the aisle on common sense solutions -- transportation, schools, the economy."

"Jennifer will continue Mark Herring's long history of working to strengthen Virginia's economy and supporting legislation that makes the commonwealth the best place to live, work and raise a family," said state Del. Charniele Herring, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Mark Herring (no relation), who won the attorney general race in November, left vacant the Virginia Senate 33rd District seat and set up Tuesday's snowy, closely-watched contest.

Tuesday's seemingly low turnout of slightly more than 20 percent wasn't too stark of a surprise. It was actually seen by some as robust considering two factors; the election collided with most severe snowfall of 2014 and it was held in late January, a time when politics and local elections aren't typically central in the mind of average Americans.

Part of Wexton's strong performance can be attributed to an enthusiastic and well-coordinated “get out the vote” effort from Wexton's campaign and Virginia Democrats. Wexton supporters were quick to spread the word Monday and Tuesday that, given the inclement weather, they'd be providing rides to voters in the 33rd District.

Mr. May, known as a moderate who served two decades in the House of Delegates, was the first of Ms. Wexton’s opponents to concede.

“While I wish tonight’s outcome had been different I have enjoyed the opportunity to tour the 33rd senate district and to have met so many enthusiastic people in this truly unique campaign,” Mr. May said. “I congratulate Jennifer Wexton on her victory and hope that she carries on the bipartisan record of now Attorney General Mark Herring who I was pleased to work with on many occasions from across the aisle.”

According to Wexton campaign officials, Mr. Whitbeck, the chairman of Virginia's 10th Congressional District Republican Committee, called the Democrat to concede and congratulate her on her win.

This is a developing story. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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I agree with sickofit. Keep displaying your bumper sticker if you want to gloat, but please take down the signs from public spaces. When I am king, there will be an edict handed down that campaigns have three days to remove their signs, after which time the county will do it and bill back the individual campaigns for the expense.

SWSWSW, if expansion of Medicade is an issue for you, maybe you should look at your outgoing, corrupt, governor who did everything possible to derail healthcare by preventing exchanges in VA.

BTW, who’s subsidizing YOUR healthcare? The biggest opponents to O’Care tend to be people getting gov’t subsidies of one form or another.

Election over. Now remove your signs from all over the place!

Mark my words, here comes the expansion of Medicaid and full support of Obamacare.  Joe May is a traitor!

Armed jogger, when I Google “Wexton gun control” I get zero results.  Horace, are you talking about her court room TV ad where she doesn’t compare anyone to anyone? Or are you going strictly on the GOP propaganda? Can either of you provide a link relevant to your accusations?

Wow! Look at all the fake “libertarians” who support candidates (and parties) whose primary platform is denial a liberty! Are you guys kidding?

LOL at the GOP for doubling down on extremist candidates who are the champions of hillbillies and other ignorant people! Great strategy! (facepalm)

Forcing bazookas & machine guns on neighborhoods is family values? Agst law enforcement advice? Crazy.

Standing up for rape victims compared to standing up to state-sponsored rape. Comprehension.

tea party small-minded government ultrasound wands for 2 years?  Crazy.

I think Mark may need his old job back real soon.

She stated “They’re sick of divisive and extreme politics…”

And yet her whole campaign consisted of comparing people who want smaller government to rapist. 

Yeah, nothing divisive or extreme there.

Curious how you jog with a loaded weapon?  Or are you carrying nun chucks or a mace instead? I knew there was a reason I moved out of Ashburn.

I’m not sure that Ms. Jennifer isn’t one of the crazies to which you are referring, Equity, she’s just crazy on the other side. Did you see some of the endorsements proudly displayed on her website? Not exactly a family-values campaign.

Wexton, hurry to Richmond to combat crazy with voice of reason.

armed jogger…put down your weapon and pick up a dictionary…

it’s Libertarian. 

Another sad day for Liberty and Freedom. Republicans allow another gun control / tax and spend democrat win, because they can not be the party of Liberty. I don’t like abortion, but its not my choice what people do with their own bodies. I don’t do drugs, but if people own their own bodies, then who am I to say what they put in them.

—A concerned Libertairian, that Votes R (and NEVER D)

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