RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Democrats continued their winning streak under President Trump on Tuesday and took full control of the statehouse for the first time in more than two decades.

Democrats won majorities in both the state House and Senate in the marquee warmup for next year's presidential election, the third election in a row in which they have made significant gains since Trump was elected.

Of the four states with legislative elections this year, Virginia is the only one where control of the statehouse was up for grabs. Republicans had slim majorities in both the state House and Senate.

National groups, particularly those aligned with Democrats, pumped huge amounts of money into the contests as a way to test-drive expensive messaging and get-out-the-vote campaigns ahead of the 2020 cycle. Gun control and clean energy groups affiliated with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent several million dollars helping Democrats.

Virginia also drew several high-profile visits from 2020 presidential hopefuls, including former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as current Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump tried to rally Republicans via Twitter but stayed out of Virginia, a state he lost in 2016.

His election three years ago has been disastrous for Virginia Republicans, particularly in growing suburban areas. Democrats have won every statewide contest, picked up three additional congressional seats and now are set to control both the state house and the Executive Mansion for the first time since 1994.

Republicans were hoping an off-year election with no statewide candidates on the ballot would help defuse the anti-Trump energy that powered previous cycles. GOP lawmakers also were hopeful that the specter of a possible Trump impeachment would anger and motivate the Republican base.

Democrats have pledged that when they take power, they will pass an agenda that Republicans have blocked for years, including stricter gun laws, a higher minimum wage and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, making Virginia the final state needed for possible passage of the gender equality measure.

Democrats were keenly focused on gun issues during the election, saying Republicans should be held accountable for failing to pass new restrictions after a mass shooting in Virginia Beach earlier this year.

Republicans accused Democrats of trying to use the tragedy for political gain while focusing heavily on past Democratic efforts to loosen restrictions for third-trimester abortion. The GOP also warned of higher taxes and energy prices if they lose the majority.

Tuesday's election could help cement Democratic rule for the next decade, because the winners will decide who controls the next redistricting process. Lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment this year that would create a new bipartisan commission empowered to draw legislative and congressional maps, but Democrats would have to sign off on it again next year before it could be presented to voters.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(32) comments

BobOhneiserEsq

For all those posters who cry about the vote and which way 30% voted I suggest the real worry should be the 70% who didn't bother. Is it apathy, satisfaction, withdrawal, ignorance or a statement about the state of Virginia and the politicians who claim to care about it more than their own selfish interests or party motivated rewards? Just asking - :-)

Jeanne T

"[The Second Amendment] It does not give you or any gun owner the right to have any type of gun or have any gun in any area or endanger others."

The Second Amendment makes no such restrictions, amerigirl. Restrictions are imposed through laws made by lawmakers, not the Second Amendment.

amerigirl

No kidding! It was you who said “You mean the Second Amendment problem”, right? Those laws are based on the fact that the 2nd amendment does not say anything other than a person (in “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State) can bear arms. It does not say all and any type of arms.

Don’t you realize that you attempt to try to debase me makes you eat your own words?

Jeanne T

"It was you who said “You mean the Second Amendment problem”, right?"

LOL! Amerigirl, you don't recognize sarcasm?

Jeanne T

Amerigirl, you always make me laugh!

amerigirl

Jeanne, of course it was sarcasm. All I'm saying is that you were the one that brought up the second amendment. Glad to entertain ya girl. So can you stop making degrading comments like "amerigirls comments are incoherent" and stick to the message? I haven't stooped to that and I had hoped you could do the same. If you think there is something incoherent about my statement, just say what it is and why. But making statements about people is just a poor excuse to avoid answering the questions or making your own statements, and takes away some of your dignity. It's hard respect your replies when you start making rash comments about other people instead of defending your statements.

Jeanne T

"So can you stop making degrading comments like "amerigirls comments are incoherent"?"

Nope. LOL

Jeanne T

LOL

RandomName2019

The Supreme Court, currently stacked with conservatives, has continued to uphold that some restrictions are allowable.

amerigirl

Thank God for that because we had Dick Black who said that he felt you should be able to carry a shoulder launcher in Dulles airport.

Jeanne T

amerigirl's comments are incoherent.

amerigirl

Spoken by someone who just gave me a hard time for using the second amendment because she forgot that she was the one who brought it up. Hypocrite.

Maxthecat

Liberals are not turning Virginia into California. Tell me Dems what has the Dem party done for the people in the last 3 years. Name one thing.

Simon

A very dark day for Virginia. We have now begun the process of turning Virginia into California. Although I’ve been here more than 30 years, I will be leaving at a point in time I can do so. By the time the dems are done, it will be too costly and deadly to be here.

AFF

Bye Felicia!

RandomName2019

A dark day for Virginia? Spare me the hyperbole. If you were interested in a better Virginia then you would have nominated candidates who had the courage to distance themselves from Trump's vile version of the Republican party. You'll notice that the only Republicans who won in our area are moderates.

Maxthecat

trump's vile version? We have a governor that believes in abortion up to birth and if they survive they are made comfortable until they die. They all admit to wearing blackface, racist. And one of them has been accused of sexual assault. But let's talk about Trump.

amerigirl

Max, you don't seem to understand the abortion laws.

Maxthecat

Many of us agree with you.

RandomName2019

This message board format makes responding so difficult. Your focus on the abortion bill (enacted by Republicans and only modified by Democrats to reduce the number of approving doctors) is an example of why Republicans keep losing. There's this odd belief that anyone aborting a nearly full term baby is doing so purely out of convenience or desire. It ignores the realities of the medical situations that bring women to undergo these procedures and intentionally creates a narrative that is skewed to hyperbolic levels.

Wahoowah

Bye. I grew up here. Not everyone is white and Republican. Bye.

amerigirl

OMG!

Harvardmustang

How does Bell win when he took money from the toll road owners & doesn't vote against toll increases?Apparently a quid pro quo doesn't matter. I find it a complete abdication of representing the people....Stunning that people still vote Democrat given that everyone of these politicians want [1] higher taxes on people and other measures, [2] have put ideology ahead of the Constitution as written, [3] react emotionally v. facts & reality, [4] are hypocritical on many matters, [5] will do and say anything to differentaudiences, yes lieing, to get elected...haters, these are undisputed facts!

Seems voters didn't think much of that latest NRA-inspired stunt of walking out of Richmond instead of doing something, anything about the gun problem.

Jeanne T

"instead of doing something, anything about the gun problem."

You mean the Second Amendment problem.

amerigirl

The second amendment only gives you so many rights. When using guns interferes with citizens safety we need leaders that will stand up to protect us.

Maxthecat

We have a second amendment.

amerigirl

Yes you do which says you have the right to keep and bear Arms. It doesn't even say that you are allowed to shoot them unless you are part of a well regulated Militia. It does not give you or any gun owner the right to have any type of gun or have any gun in any area or endanger others. If guns are now more powerful than they were when laws stating distances from schools etc. was made then the laws need to be amended. Common sense. Make the laws so that people can still hunt or target shoot without harming or damaging other people or their property.

Duncan Idaho

Trump's toxic brand of Republicanism is costing the GOP nationwide. Look at Kentucky, where he held a rally for Bevin. How did that turn out? GOP needs to disassociate itself from Trump before they're relegated to minority status for decades to come.

Maxthecat

The top in Kentucky were all won by republicans, and they won big. Ignore it if you want.

amerigirl

Of course they won, they usually win. It is a red state. Don't you think that the fact that they elected a democratic governor makes a statement?

danielcmalloy

I live in Massachusetts and we to have a Democrat controlled State house and the people of Massachusetts consistently elect Republican governors to add some sanity to the tax and spend, pension laden, union controlled Democrats. Massachusetts has some of the highest taxes in the union and our public transportation is a mess, we have the worse gridlock in the country, and Boston the capital has one of the highest income inequality in the nation, If you are poor or middle class you are a low wage servant to the wealthy i Massachusetts and that is just the way they like it.

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