Dems look to take Senate

    Today is Election Day, and Virginia Democrats are expected to make gains in the General Assembly.

    p. With the seats of all 140 delegates and senators up for election, Democrats are feeling increasingly confident that they can retake the Senate and pick up three to six seats in the House of Delegates, according to the Oct. 14 online edition of The Washington Post.

    p. The Post reported that 56 percent of voters were dissatisfied with the Republicans’ performance in the General Assembly. Of those polled, 45 percent gave negative ratings to Democrats. When voters were asked what party they would like to control the General Assembly, 50 percent said Democrats, and 42 percent said Republicans.

    p. In Williamsburg, there is little competition. Most students who have registered in Williamsburg will likely fall into the 3rd Senate District, where incumbent Sen. Thomas Norment Jr. (R) is running unopposed. In the nearby 64th District of the House of Delegates, incumbent William Barlow (R) is also running unopposed.

    p. Williamsburg voters will also decide the local constitutional offices of clerk of the court, commonwealth’s attorney, sheriff, treasurer and the members of the Soil and Water Conservation Board.

    p. Students at the College’s law school have created a non-partisan voter assistance hotline called the W&M VOTEline, (757) 221-2890, that offers students free legal information about their voting rights.

    p. If the Democrats retake the Senate, it will give Gov. Timothy Kaine more leverage to push his programs such as environmental protection, academic pre-kindergarten and changing the state’s mental-health system.

    p. “Being able to get a lot of great things done over the next couple of years is at stake,” Kaine told the Post. “Having legislators more defined by what they want to accomplish rather than what they oppose — that’s why I’m so energized by this election.”

    p. Turnout in off-year elections has been historically light because of the lack of statewide and national candidates.

    p. Regardless of precedent, a prevailing force in this year’s elections has been their high costs — and their ruthlessness.

    p “Whatever the November elections foretell about the outcome of 2008 races, they’ve already established one likely precedent: These have been the most expensive, and some would say nastiest, ever,” according to Margaret Edds, a columnist for the Virginian-Pilot. “That’s an omen, just not a promising one.”


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