The role of $ in the VA House elections

Welcome to the Wednesday, November, 17, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Three of the five Virginia House races with the most fundraising resulted in partisan control changes
  2. Redistricting roundup
  3. Leahy, Speier announce congressional retirements

Three of the five Virginia House races with the most fundraising resulted in partisan control changes

Elections for all 100 members of the Virginia House of Delegates took place on Nov. 2. Republicans won 52 districts to Democrats’ 48, allowing the GOP to regain the majority it lost in 2019. Republicans won three of the five most expensive House races. The Democratic Party candidate raised more money in all five races. 

Republicans defeated Democratic incumbents in Districts 85, 83, and 28. In those three races, the Democratic incumbents raised an average of $1.1 million more than their Republican counterparts.

Across the five districts, Democratic candidates raised $10,541,916.03 while Republicans raised $4,796,697.14. 

  • District 10 – $4,372,000.60: Incumbent Wendy Gooditis (D) raised $2,876,678.21 while Nick Clemente (R) raised $1,495,322.39. Gooditis defeated Clemente 50.9% to 48.9%. In 2019, Democratic and Republican candidates in this district raised $2,633,438 and Gooditis won 52.3 percent to 47.6 percent.
  • District 85 – $2,938,036.50: Incumbent Alex Askew (D) raised $2,123,593.11 while Karen Greenhalgh (R) raised $814,443.39. Greenhalgh defeated Askew 50.2% to 49.8%. In 2019, Democratic and Republican candidates in this district raised $2,193,470 and Askew won 51.6 percent to 48.2 percent.
  • District 83 – $2,768,861.30: Incumbent Nancy Guy (D) raised $2,041,767.36 while Tim Anderson (R) raised $727,093.94. Anderson defeated Guy 51.3% to 48.7%. In 2019, Democratic and Republican candidates in this district raised $2,467,095 and Guy won 50.0 percent to 49.8 percent.
  • District 28 – $2,686,629.06: Incumbent Joshua Cole (D) raised $1,742,132.53 while Tara Durant (R) raised $944,496.53. Durant defeated Cole 51% to 48.8%. In 2019, Democratic and Republican candidates in this district raised $2,265,794 and Cole won 51.8 percent to 47.8 percent.
  • District 73 – $2,573,085.71: Incumbent Rodney Willett (D) raised $1,757,744.82 while Mary Margaret Kastelberg (R) raised $815,340.89. Willett defeated Willett 51.9% to 48%. In 2019, Democratic and Republican candidates in this district raised $2,332,478 and Willett won 52.2 percent to 47.7 percent.

Statewide, the average amount raised for a general election with more than one candidate was $725,238. The map below shades the Virginia House districts based on the amount of money raised in that district.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Virginia candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Virginia Department of Elections. It includes fundraising activity between Jan. 1, 2020, and Oct. 21, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

This was the first election cycle since 1999 in which Democrats defended a majority in the chamber. Heading into the election, Democrats had a 55-45 advantage over Republicans. There were 93 districts with both a Democratic and Republican candidate on the ballot. 

This research was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.

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Six states enact new redistricting plans 

There’s been a flurry of redistricting activity over the last week, and we’re here to help you make sense of it. Since Nov. 10, six states have adopted congressional or legislative district plans—or both! As of Nov. 16, 18 states have finalized their state legislative redistricting maps following the 2020 census, while 13 states have finalized their congressional district maps. At this point in the 2010 redistricting cycle, 29 states had completed their state legislative maps, while 26 states had completed their congressional maps.

When we last looked at the above chart on Nov. 10, 11 states had adopted state legislative maps and 10 states had adopted congressional maps. 

Here’s the latest news:

Colorado: On Nov. 15, the Colorado Supreme Court approved the Colorado Independent Legislative Commissionstate’s legislative maps on Oct. 11 and 12, respectively. These maps, which redraw the state’s 35 Senate districts and 65 House districts, will take effect for the state’s 2022 state legislative elections.

Idaho: On Nov. 12, the Idaho Independent Reapportionment Commission formally submitted its final congressional and state legislative maps to the secretary of state. The commission, made up of six members appointed by three Democratic and three Republican elected officials, voted 6-0 in favor of the legislative map and 4-2 in favor of the congressional map. Nels Mitchell and Dan Schmidt, both appointed by Democrats, voted against the congressional lines.

Montana: On Nov. 12, the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission enacted a new congressional map following the 2020 redistricting cycle. The commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the map and send it to the Montana Secretary of State. Both Republican commissioners and Maylinn Smith, the nonpartisan tiebreaker, voted in favor of the map, and the two Democratic commissioners voted against the map.

North Dakota: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed new state legislative maps into law on Nov. 11. The House approved the maps in a 73-18 vote on Nov. 9, and the Senate approved the maps in a 40-7 vote on Nov. 10. Since North Dakota was apportioned a single at-large U.S. House seat, it does not need to draft a congressional map.

South Dakota: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed legislation enacting the state’s new legislative districts on Nov. 10. Both chambers of the legislature approved the final proposal, known as the Sparrow map, on that day. The state House approved the new districts 37-31 and the Senate approved them 30-2. The South Dakota Legislature began a special session to consider redistricting proposals on Nov. 8. 

Utah: Utah enacted new congressional districts on Nov. 12 after Gov. Spencer Cox (R) signed a map approved by the House and the Senate. The legislature drafted the map, which differed from a proposal the Utah Independent Redistricting Commission released on Nov. 5.

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Leahy, Speier announce retirements 

On Nov. 15, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the longest-serving senator currently elected to the chamber, announced he will not seek another term in 2022. On  Nov. 16, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) announced she would not seek re-election. 

Leahy was first elected to the U.S Senate in 1974. He is currently the fifth long-serving senator in U.S. history, after Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), and West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). 

Speier was first elected in 2013. Before that, she served in the California Senate and California Assembly. Speier was first elected to a statewide office in 1986.

So far this year, 18 members of Congress—six senators and 12 representatives—have announced their retirement from public office. Five retiring Senate members are Republicans and one is a Democrat. Of the retiring House members, eight are Democrats and four are Republicans.

Twelve members of the U.S. House—six Republicans and six Democrats—have announced they plan to seek a different office in 2022. 

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