Wednesday, Nov. 8, the Associated Press projected that former York-Poquoson Sheriff Danny Diggs narrowly won the Virginia Senate race for the 24th district on Tuesday, Nov. 7, unseating State Sen. Monty Mason ’89, D-Williamsburg. Diggs will represent the College of William and Mary’s main campus for a four-year term, joining the minority Republican caucus.
Diggs earned approximately 51.18% of the vote to Mason’s 48.61%.
“I am truly humbled by the voters of the 24th District for putting your faith in me as your next State Senator,” Diggs wrote in a press release on Wednesday morning. “I could not have done this without each and every one of you. Starting next year, there will be a new sheriff in town!”
In a statement released on Tuesday night, Mason wrote that the race was too close to call. The Mason campaign did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication following AP’s projection.
“This has been an extremely hard fought election and things are coming down to the wire,” Mason wrote. “At this time, it appears the race is too close to call, but we will continue to tally votes as they come in and look forward to having a final result.”
At his campaign election night watch party, Mason said enthusiasm was high on the College’s campus.
“We knew there was a lot of enthusiasm on campus and William and Mary students turned out big,” Mason told 13NewsNow. “Showing up today, registering today, voting today, have their voices heard, is gonna make a big difference in this race.”
Students at the College voted at two polling locations this year, the Stryker and Matoaka precincts. Caroline Anderson ’25 reflected on why she voted for Mason and Jessica Anderson, the Democratic nominee for the House of Delegates in the 71st district.
“Mostly, I really did just come out to protect abortion care as they both supported that,” Anderson said. “I think that's super important, and would like to be the state in the South that still has access to abortion care.”
Anderson found voting to be an easy process.
“I'm from outside of New York City,” Anderson said. “I registered to vote here because I thought my vote would count a lot more than where I'm from.”
Karam Soufi ’24 echoed Anderson’s sentiment.
“Top issue is probably reproductive rights at the moment,” Soufi said. “I feel like that's a huge issue at least for me, my family, at the moment.”
College President Katherine Rowe encouraged students to exercise their vote in an email sent to the campus community on Thursday, Nov. 2.
“Democracy is a cornerstone of our Vision 2026 strategic plan,” Rowe wrote. “Students, alumni, faculty and staff serve as public officials, activists and community builders around the world. They volunteer at polling stations and get out the vote. That is one reason W&M is recognized as one of the top voter-engaged campuses in the country. Thank you for casting your ballot.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Mason, Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, Black Lives Matter 757 President Aubrey “Japharii” Jones and gun activist David Hogg visited the Stryker precinct, which served as the voting location for most students on campus.
The race was one of the most closely-watched and highly-contested races in the Commonwealth, with the candidates raising a nearly combined $9 million, including almost $5 million spent on political advertisements.
Batten, who represents the College’s main campus in the statehouse, was reelected with approximately 52% of the vote.
Overall, Democrats flipped the House of Delegates and retained control of the Va. State Senate.