No Coin Toss This Time as Shelly Simonds Heads to the Virginia Statehouse

“Simonds,” Ewan Munro

November 5, 2019; New York Occasions

At NPQ, we don’t normally cowl state elections, however the election this time in Virginia was eventful, with Democrats successful each homes of the state legislature for the primary time in a quarter-century. Related Press reporters Sarah Rankin and Denise Lavoie report that state Democratic Social gathering priorities embody the next minimal wage, new gun restrictions, higher abortion rights, and ratification of the Equal Rights Modification (ERA).

Up to now, 37 states have ratified the ERA, accepted by the requisite two-thirds majority in each homes of Congress manner again in 1972. Adoption requires ratification by 38 states. Congress included a time restrict for ratification that expired way back; nevertheless, the time restrict could also be unconstitutional, that means that if Virginia passes the ERA subsequent yr as anticipated, the Equal Rights Modification may quickly turn out to be the 28th Modification to the US Structure.

At NPQ, we will probably be sure to comply with this story because it develops. If the ERA have been added to the Structure a long time after a Congressional vote, it could not be the primary time. Again in 1992, the 27th Modification, which bars Congress from elevating its personal salaries till an election has handed, was adopted; Congress had initially accepted that modification in 1789.

But despite the fact that the coverage points are most vital, we additionally need to name consideration to the story of 1 seat that “flipped” on this week’s election—the 94th District seat in Newport Information.

A couple of NPQ readers may recall that district, as we wrote about 2017’s race for that very same seat thrice, a race that pitted Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds towards Republican incumbent David Yancey. It was, to say the least, a really uncommon election. We wrote first when it appeared that Simonds had carried the district by a single vote after an computerized recount overturned a slim 10-vote margin for Yancey. Then, a single invalid poll was reinstated for Yancey, main a three-judge panel to declare an official tie on a 11,608–11,608 vote. Lastly, Yancey’s title was drawn out of a bowl, preserving a 51–49 Republican majority within the Virginia state home by the narrowest of margins.

This time, Simonds prevailed simply by a margin of 58 p.c to 40 p.c. Simonds, Daniel Victor reviews within the New York Occasions, benefitted from “a court-ordered remapping of voting districts, tilting the 94th District towards Democrats” that occurred earlier than this yr’s election.

Whereas the US Supreme Courtroom has been loath to take motion in gerrymandering circumstances, in Virginia’s case, Courtroom inaction benefitted Virginia Democrats. As Victor explains, “In June, the USA Supreme Courtroom upheld a decrease court docket resolution that struck down elements of the map on race-discrimination grounds, and the maps have been redrawn to extra evenly distribute black voters.”

When it comes to seats, Democrats now lead within the Virginia Home by a 54 to 43 margin, with one seat going to an impartial and two nonetheless undecided. Within the Virginia Senate, Democrats prevailed by a 21 to 19 margin. In comparison with the final election, Democrats have succeeded in gaining a minimal of 5 seats within the Home and two seats within the Senate.

For her half, Simonds stated, “I’m simply so glad that the voters of Newport Information helped us rewrite the ending of our story. It didn’t have to finish with a bowl.”—Steve Dubb

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