Democrat John Bell has defeated Republican Geary Higgins for the 13th District state Senate seat, considered a key if Democrats are to take control of the chamber.
With 76 percent of the votes counted, Bell had a 54 percent to 46 percent lead. Bell is a current member of the House of Delegates, while Higgins is a Loudoun County supervisor from the Catoctin District.
The 13th District seat currently is held by conservative Republican Dick Black, who is retiring. The district includes portions of Loudoun and Prince William counties.
Republicans currently control both houses of the legislature by thin margins: 51-48 in the House of Delegates and 21-18 in the State Senate. Each chamber has one open seat.
Over $4 million poured into the 13th District race, with Bell reporting nearly $2.6 million in fund-raising through Oct. 24, and Higgins reporting more than $1.4 million.