(The Center Square) – Virginia’s congressional elections trended further toward Republicans for the second straight congressional cycle, but Democrats still continue to outperform the GOP at the statewide level in these races.
With more than 98% of the vote tallied as of Monday, Republicans secured 48.7% of the total votes in Congressional races in 2022, which is nearly 1.5% higher than it was in 2020 and about 6.2% higher than it was in 2018. Although Republicans did not flip any seats in 2020, they were able to pick up one seat in 2022 with Representative-elect Jen Kiggans defeating Rep. Elaine Luria.
Although the Democrats’ share of votes was lower than the previous cycles, the party still secured more statewide votes in congressional races than Republicans for the fourth straight cycle. Democrats have held the majority of the commonwealth’s Congressional delegation since 2018. Following the 2022 election results, Democrats will hold six seats going into January and Republicans will hold five.
Republican performance was about the same as its performance in 2016 when the party secured 48.74% of the total vote in Congressional races, but fell far short of its 2014 performance when the party carried more than 53.5% of the vote.
The main source of the decline in Republican votes is in northern Virginia, which has seen a population surge of college-educated voters moving to the region from other states because of its proximity to Washington, D.C. As the suburbs have grown, the Democratic base has also grown. The region has also had a growing immigrant population in recent years.
Even though Republican congressional candidates have seen an uptick, they still fell behind the party’s performance in the state legislative and state executive races from last year. In 2021, Republicans managed to secure a majority of the votes in all three executive branch races and in the House of Delegates, which all had been previously controlled by Democrats.
Democratic presidential candidates have managed to secure Virginia’s electoral college delegation since the 2008 election. Although the commonwealth had previously been labeled as a swing state, its status as one has been questioned in recent years as northern Virginia continues to grow the Democratic base.