If the two special elections this month, one held last week in which the Democrat holds a tiny lead subject to a recount and the other in western Fairfax County on Tuesday, go the Democrats’ way, it will give Democrats control of the Virginia State Senate, and State Sen. Richard Saslaw, who represents Falls Church, would become the Senate majority leader.
In comments at a town hall meeting in Falls Church today, Saslaw told a large gathering at the F.C. Community Center that if the Democrats gain control, “Boy, are things going to change if I get back in charge.”
All the chair positions of the Senate committees will switch over to Democrats “before you can blink your eye,” Saslaw said, saying it will not come a minute too soon as the current Republican head of the Education and Health Committee has only a religious high school education and will be replaced by a Democrat with a degree from Princeton.
Saslaw and freshman State Del. Marcus Simon held forth at the town hall, which was the best attended of one of these kinds of events in Falls Church in memory. Four members of the Falls Church City Council, the school superintendent and assistant city manager were among those in the crowd, which remained keenly attentive and ready with questions for two full hours.
Saslaw said that Democrats are mobilized in the Herndon area to get their candidate, Jennifer Wexton, elected to fill the seat vacated when Democrat Mark Herring was elected attorney general in November. Herring was present to spearhead a rally for Wexton in Herndon today.
However, while the Senate could go over to Democratic control, the House of Delegates remains solidly in Republican hands by a 67-33 margin, the Democrats picking up a net of only one seat in the November election. Simon, who was elected for the first time in November to replace retiring veteran Jim Scott, said that the Democrats didn’t do better in part due to some “bad luck,” saying that if less than 2,000 votes had been spread around differently, Democrats would have picked up six seats in very close races. He said it was also due to candidates entering races late and with minimal experience, a problem that will not be the case the next time around.
But despite the fact that the speaker of the House of Delegates has already said he is against the expansion of Medicaid in Virginia under the federal Affordable Care Act, that new Governor Terry McAuliffe has said it will get through once it gets down to the nitty-gritty of conference negotiations on the budget next month