Democrats lose majority in Virginia House

Based on unofficial returns with four races still uncalled, Republicans have won control of at least 50 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates. The 100-seat chamber will either be split 50-50 or Republicans will have a majority at the start of the 2022 legislative session. Democrats have lost at least five seats in the elections this year.

Heading into the election, Democrats held a 55-seat majority to Republicans’ 45 seats. This was the first election cycle since 1999 with Democrats defending a majority in the House. Democrats won control in the 2019 elections after Republicans had controlled the chamber since 2000.

In the event of a tied chamber, the House would vote on a power-sharing agreement and the Clerk of the House would preside over the vote for a speaker. Any tie vote in the chamber would reject any agreement, speaker, or legislation.

In 1998, the chamber was split 50-50. Delegates adopted a power-sharing agreement by a 90-2 vote. This agreement left a Democrat as speaker but required the speaker to consult Republican leadership for committee assignments and committee membership was expanded. Committees had co-chairs from each party that rotated chair duties.