Executive Branch Election Holds Potential Weight for Future of Virginia

Emily Yinger, Guest Writer~

Virginia recently held its election on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 to fill seats for the state’s General Assembly, executive branch and statewide school board positions.

The election brought forth a hotly contested race between Democratic and Republican candidates, with each party having candidates running for the executive positions in Virginia. Voters elected two new public officials and re-elected one incumbent seat-holder for the upcoming four-year term to be served by Virginia’s new executive branch.

After Tuesday’s election, the governor’s offices kept their party unification from the previous term under the Democratic Party. Some Virginians felt the results were a victory for the state.

“I think it’s a great time to be a Democrat and I think it’s a great time to be a Virginian,” said Carter Elliott, president of the Lynchburg College Democrats.

Citizens with differing party views held an opposing outlook on what the results of this election meant to them and what it could mean for the future of Virginia.

“With this new all-Democratic executive office on the state level, as a republican I am both scared and I fear for the statewide changes that will come,” stated Landon Fielder, vice president of the Lynchburg College Republicans.

Fielder believes a consistent Democratic Party in the executive branch could lead to a major clash between the state’s managerial administration and local legislators and Congressional representatives who identify as Republican. He feels this inconsistency will make it less likely for policymaking to take place in the future due to differing opinions.

According to Elliott, Tuesday’s election demonstrated the youth taking back their political rights and government. He believes the age group of 18-29 was distraught over the Trump presidency and wanted to support the candidate who did not receive Trump’s stamp of approval.

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Twitter post from Donald Trump endorsing Ed Gillespie

Virginia is traditionally recognized as a swing state and Presidential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the state in the last presidential election. The results of Tuesday’s election could make a difference if Trump seeks re-election following his first term.

“Virginia’s election for its executive branch occurs during the first year of the President’s term to act as a referendum on the president. Virginia also has a trend where they tend to vote for the party opposite of the president’s party affiliation,” said Elliott.

It is not definite which party Virginia would vote for in a Trump presidential re-election. This is the second gubernatorial administration where all positions were held by those who affiliate with the Democratic Party. However, the difference in votes between Republican and Democratic candidates who sought positions in the executive branch this term was noted by Elliott and Fielder as being “a close call.”

There was a seven percent difference between attorney general candidates Mark Herring and John Adams in terms of votes received.

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There was a five percent difference between lieutenant governor candidates Justin Fairfax and Jill Vogel in terms of votes received.

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The largest percentage gap in the newly elected executive branch came from the governor’s race. Gillespie conceded to Northam by receiving a nine percent shortfall of the votes. That came out to be roughly a 233,179 difference in votes.

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