Nov 4, 2020
Virginia Preliminary Election Results 2020
Virginia's 2020 election results — like numerous other states' — are still being tabulated given the unprecedented number of early votes cast in person and via mail-in ballots. Due to changes in election procedures passed by the General Assembly during the spring 2020 session, as well as court rulings that witness signatures are no longer required for mail-in ballots given the risks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the landscape of how Virginians voted this year changed dramatically. Additionally, several races may not be called until after noon on Friday given that this is the first year Virginia can count absentee ballots that arrive after Tuesday — through noon Friday — as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.
Three Virginia congressional races dominated the news this year — the Second, Fifth, and Seventh Districts — while others remained fairly predictable given incumbent cash advantages and name recognition. Virginia's U.S. Senate race also was projected to favor incumbent Senator Mark Warner, who was first elected in 2008. Further details are below.
Vice President Joe Biden currently holds a comfortable 53.9 percent lead over President Donald Trump's 44.7 percent and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen's 1.5 percent. With 87 percent of the vote having been tallied, it is unlikely that Virginia’s initial call for Biden will be overturned.
Incumbent Senator Mark Warner has won reelection to a third term, fending off a challenge from Republican Daniel Gade in one of the earliest races to be called by the AP on Tuesday evening. As of 11 am on Wednesday, 87 percent of the vote has been reported, and Warner holds a 55.6 to 44.4 percent lead. Gade has announced that he will not concede until every vote has been counted, but it is unlikely that he will be able to close the gap in what would be considered a massive upset in Virginia if he won.
With 95.5 percent of the vote counted, incumbent Republican Congressman Rob Wittman, who has served since winning in a special election in 2007, easily won reelection on Tuesday night by a 58.8 to 41.2 percent margin against Democrat Qasim Rashid. There are not enough outstanding votes to be counted that could propel Rashid to victory.
The Second Congressional District was one of the most expensive and closest races in Virginia this cycle, with incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria facing Republican Scott Taylor -- whom she unseated in 2018 — for the second time. The coastal district, which includes the Norfolk Navy Base, was previously seen as safely Republican. Luria spent several hours yesterday trailing Taylor after polls closed at 7 pm given that more Republicans chose to vote in person this year while Democrats favored voting early by mail or early in person. However, as results from absentee and early voting continued to be tallied early Wednesday morning, Luria has overtaken Taylor. With all precincts reporting, Luria stands at 50.94 percent of the vote compared to Taylor's 46.49 percent. There are still approximately 6,461 uncounted mail-in ballots from Norfolk that have yet to be counted, but the AP called the race for Luria at 11:19 am on Wednesday.
Incumbent Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott decisively won re-election against first-time candidate Republican John Collick. With 100 percent of votes reported, Scott won with 65.49 percent of the vote to Collick's 34.31 percent.
Incumbent Democratic Congressman Don McEachin has won re-election against Republican Leon Benjamin by a 60.64 to 39.24 percent margin. Approximately 3.29 percent of the vote is outstanding —5,431 votes out of Hopewell City — but the amount is not enough to change the final result. The AP called the race for McEachin at 8:42 am on Wednesday morning.
The Fifth Congressional District received much attention this year given the ousting of incumbent Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman in a drive-through caucus by religious conservative Bob Good. Political analysts rated the race as a "toss up," despite Donald Trump having won the district in 2016 by 11 percentage points and Democrats not holding the seat since 2008 when Tom Perriello upset then-incumbent Virgil Goode. Bob Good, a first time candidate, was heavily outraised by his Democratic opponent Dr. Cameron Webb — $1,175,468.47 to $4,661,020.75 — but ultimately prevailed on election night by a 52.71 percent to 47.15 percent margin.
Incumbent Republican Congressman Ben Cline has been reelected for a second term by a 65.06 to 34.82 percent margin against first-time Democratic candidate Nicholas Betts. The district is reliably red, and pundits did not expect an upset here.
The Seventh Congressional District is one of the closest races in the country, with freshman Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger facing off against Republican state Delegate Nick Freitas. While Spanberger trailed Freitas on election night, she appears to be closing the gap through absentee ballots coming in from Henrico and Chesterfield. Freitas currently leads Spanberger by a narrow 712 votes, but 35,000 early votes — which tend to favor Democrats — are outstanding in Spotsylvania. This race is likely to go to a recount.
Incumbent Democratic Congressman Don Beyer handily won reelection against first-time Republican candidate Jeff Jordan in the deep-blue Eighth District. The final margin of victory for Beyer is 75.57 percent to 24.20 percent.
Incumbent Republican Morgan Griffith had no challengers this cycle, and has won reelection with 93.63 percent of the vote.
With 96 percent of the vote reported, incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton has won reelection against Republican challenger Aliscia Andrews by a 56.4 to 43.6 percent margin. Once considered a swing district, the Tenth Congressional District has become increasingly blue as suburban voters in the DC-metro area have leaned more Democratic over the last few cycles.
Longtime incumbent Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly has won reelection against Republican Manga Anantatmula in the Eleventh District by a wide 71.7 to 28.3 percent margin. Approximately nine percent of the vote has yet to be reported, but Connolly has an insurmountable lead regardless of those results.
Ballot Question 1
The first statewide ballot question pertains to a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a bipartisan redistricting commission. The ballot question split Democrats in the House of Delegates earlier this year, but ultimately prevailed on the ballot, winning with 66 percent of the vote.
Ballot Question 2
The second constitutional amendment on the ballot for consideration would allow disabled veterans to be exempted from vehicle taxes. The measure easily passed by an 86 to 14 percent margin.
After a law passed earlier this year to allow for sports betting operations and the construction of five casinos, four cities in Virginia – Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth – considered ballot measures to approve casino gambling at pre-determined locations. Bristol and Danville have officially approved the referenda by 71 percent and 69 percent, respectively, and Norfolk and Portsmouth appear to be on track to do the same, though not all voted have been tallied yet. A similar referendum could be on the ballot in Richmond next year and at least three organizations, the Pamunkey tribe, Colonial Downs Group, and Urban One Inc., have expressed interest in pursuing construction there.