Ballotpedia identified eight battleground elections in the Virginia Senate based on media coverage and race forecasts. The general election is on Nov. 7, 2023.
Of the eight battleground districts, Democrats and Republicans currently represent four each. Incumbents are running in four of these races, while the other four are in open districts, meaning no incumbents are running.
Democrats currently hold a 22-18 majority in the Virginia Senate, which holds elections every four years. Ten incumbents did not file for re-election in 2023. This was the largest number of retirements since 2011, and a 113% increase from the average of 4.7 retirements per cycle between 2011 and 2019.
Four of the battlegrounds are rated as either Toss-Up or Competitive. Details on those four elections are below:
Virginia Senate District 17:
Writing for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dave Ress said, “Dels. Emily Brewer, R-Suffolk, and Clinton Jenkins, D-Suffolk, both hope to move up to the Senate. Like many districts touching the North Carolina line, this district had been trending more Republican for years but, in 2022, gave Democratic congressional candidates a 0.4 percentage point edge.”
Virginia Senate District 24:
Ress said, “This is one of Virginia’s swingiest districts: It gave Youngkin an edge of 3.4 percentage points in 2021, but went for Democrat Ralph Northam by 6.7 points in his bid for governor in 2017. In 2022, it swung again, giving Democratic congressional candidates a 1.1 point margin. … Mason has represented much of the district for a decade, first as a member of the House and, since 2016, in the state Senate, where he is seen as a pro-business Democrat … Diggs was sheriff for 23 years, responsible for law enforcement in strongly Republican York County, where he resolved scores of high-profile crimes.”
Virginia Senate District 27:
Soji Akomolafe, chair of Norfolk State University’s political science department and executive director of the Center for African American Public Policy, said District 27 “will be a highly contested battleground race in November, however, Durant’s relatively moderate stance combined with Governor Youngkin’s unabashed support — who, by the way, has openly stated that the district is a must-win — should scare her Democratic challenger, especially in terms of how much money would be pouring in between now and November.”
Virginia Senate District 31:
Writing for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Charlotte Rene Woods said, “Russet Perry … wants to … hold the line on keeping Virginia’s current abortion access as well as seek ways to offer support through adoption counselors and more affordable health care options to people who do not abort. Perry … will face maternal telehealth app co-founder Juan Pablo Segura in a competitive district where contention over parents’ input in schools gave Youngkin a critical issue in his successful 2021 campaign. Segura is backing Youngkin’s 15-week [abortion ban] goal with exceptions for rape, incest, or life of the pregnant person.”
Learn more about the Virginia Senate elections and the battleground elections Ballotpedia identified using the link below.