a1 Election Night Guzman Wins.jpg

Elizabeth Guzman smiles after winning the seat for the 31st district during the election watch party in Lake Ridge Nov. 7. Photo by Paul Lara for InsideNoVa

When the sun rose Nov. 7, six Republicans represented Prince William County in the House of Delegates — by the time night fell, five Democrats had taken their place.
 
In a result outpacing even county Democrats’ wildest expectations, all of the party’s contenders in contested delegate races seem to have emerged triumphant Tuesday. The party now stands at the precipice of regaining a majority in the House as Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam assumes the governorship; Republicans started the day with a 66-34 advantage, but as of Wednesday morning, Democrats had won 15 seats (with several others seat for recounts).
 
That result was largely powered by the massive gains in Prince William; House Majority Caucus Chair Tim Hugo, R-40th District, was the lone Republican in the area to survive, beating Donte Tanner by 15 votes.
 
Yet Hugo’s partner in the leadership, House Majority Whip Jackson Miller, R-50th District, fell in one of the most shocking results of the night, losing 54 percent to 45 percent to Lee Carter in theManassas-area race.
 
“It’s a blue tidal wave,” said county school board Chairman Ryan Sawyers, a Democrat whose win in 2015 represented the party’s first countywide victory in an open seat in years. “It’s one thing to hope for good turnout, but this is a daydream...We could imagine it would happen, but we didn’t know it would come true.”
 
Democratic turnout swamped the GOP both statewide and in Prince William during the June primaries, and county Democrats repeated that result in the general election — about 71,550 people in Prince William voted for Democrats this year, compared to the 50,400 or so who came out for the last gubernatorial race in 2013. In a round of elections closely watched nationwide as a referendum on President Donald Trump’s early performance in office, Prince William Democrats think Tuesday’s result was loud enough to reach Washington, D.C.
 
“Prince William County sent a message to the president tonight,” said state Sen. Scott Surovell, D-36th District. “This is what happens when Republicans play with nuclear waste; bad things happen...Republicans have depended on Prince William County for years. This changes everything.”
 
The county’s results also included a bit of history — not only did Danica Roem become the first transgender woman to hold state office with her win over Del. Bob Marshall, R-13th District, but Prince William Democrats singlehandedly tripled the number of people of Hispanic descent in the General Assembly. Elizabeth Guzman managed a 53 percent to 44 percent win over Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-31st District, while Hala Ayala earned a 52 percent to 47 percent win over Del. Rich Anderson, R-51st District.
 
In the state’s only majority-minority county, the significance of that bit of history isn’t lost on people like Guzman, herself an immigrant from Peru who settled in Woodbridge years ago.
 
“Our delegate never stood up for the Latino community, and I wish he had,” Guzman said. “But I hope tonight sends a message loud and clear; everyone is welcome in Prince William County.”
 
Guzman also said she hopes that message reaches the ears of one prominent Republican whom she’ll now represent in Richmond: Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, whose embrace of hard-right immigration policies (and President Trump) have earned plenty of headlines over the years.
 
“I can’t wait to introduce myself to him as his delegate,” Guzman said. “I am going to stand up to his rhetoric in this county.”
 
Jennifer Carroll Foy will add a bit of diversity to the county’s slate of delegates in her own right, after she bested Republican Mike Makee by a 78 percent to 21 percent margin in the 2nd District. She’ll replace retiring GOP Del. Mark Dudenhefer, and she and Tanner will become the second and third African-American members of the Prince William delegation — Del. Luke Torian, D-52nd District, ran unopposed and earned 100 percent of the vote.
 
“This is an example of people wanting elected officials to look like the people they represent,” Foy said. “This is what happens when you attack women and minorities, and bring racism and xenophobia to our country and to our state. This is how we respond.”
 
With the Democratic wave sweeping Virginia, Foy noted that her party will suddenly be in a “much stronger position” to fight for long-unthinkable initiatives in the GOP-dominated chamber, particularly the expansion of Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.
 
Or, as Ayala puts it: “We will have a lot of negotiating to do.”
 
Indeed, with a potential tie in the House, the two parties would have to work out some form of power-sharing arrangement between now-House Minority Leader David Toscano, D-57th District, and the Republican pick to replace outgoing House Speaker Bill Howell: Del. Kirk Cox, R-66th District, who also won Tuesday. A recount in the 94th District, which currently favors Republican Del. David Yancey by 12 votes, is the main race leaders are watching to determine the chamber’s status.
 
Yet the party wouldn’t be in such heady territory without wins from a candidate like Carter widely seen as a hefty underdog to powerful Republican incumbents.
 
Carter was facing a particularly uphill climb, both because he broke with Democratic party leaders onsome policy issues and due to Miller’s huge cash advantage — he pulled in $487,000 in the race while Carter managed about $243,000 for the whole cycle.
 
But Carter notes that he refused any donations from for-profit corporations during the race, while Miller largely depended on corporate money, which Carter believes “sent a message that we were not going to be bought.”
 
“Voters saw that and responded,” Carter said. “I knew it was possible, but I didn’t allow myself to entertain the thought until tonight.”
 
Carter’s win stands as another example of the city of Manassas’ increasingly blue tint in high-turnout elections — the city voted 52 percent to 47 percent for Carter over the long-term incumbent, even after its voters backed Miller in his failed bid to become Prince William clerk of circuit court this spring.
 
At the time, Democrats were ebullient about Jackie Smith’s resounding win over Miller in the April special election, predicting that it would be a harbinger of major gains to come in the House elections. While those claims might have seemed a bit hyperbolic in the moment, they look downright prescient.
 
“This is what local Democrats started this spring when we got Jackie elected,” Sawyers said.
 
The party still faces a Republican-controlled state Senate (albeit by just a 21-19 margin), and there is no guarantee that Democrats will be able to deliver on their big promises with plenty of Republican delegates left in the House.
 
But, when taken in tandem with Northam’s hefty win, Prince William’s newest delegates feel optimistic about the next two years in Richmond.
 
“We have opportunity to drive the agenda,” Carter said. “But we can’t rest on our laurels. We were elected to make change in the lives of working people.”

Prince William Vote Totals

Over the past four statewide elections, Prince William has become reliably more Democratic.  And the total votes cast in the county this year were 21 percent more than those in the last gubernatorial election, 2013.

Election Democrat Republican Other Total Votes
2013 gubernatorial 51.9% 43.7% 4.4% 97.116
2014 U.S. Sentate 50.4% 47.5% 2.1% 95,528
2016 presidential 57.6% 36.5% 5.9% 196,538
2017 gubernatorial 60.7% 38.2% 1.1% 117,799

(19) comments

CCW

“I have a positive vision for the district that’s not discriminatory,,,,”

Translation: Whatever the illegal immigrants want I (we) will give it to them.

Courtesy of tax paying Prince William County residents of course.

Does that really sound like a referendum on President Trump?

Or liberal Democrat there's a sucker born every minute business as usual?

timt

One sore loser heard from. I'm sure there will be more.

And yes the results are absolutely a referendum on Trump and his discriminatory policies and bigotry. The good people of Virginia have overwhelmingly rejected the hateful divisiveness that Trump encourages and that Gillespie and Marshall in particular used during the campaign. Good riddance. Better days are coming.

CCW

I'm not a sore loser and I could care less about convincing you or any liberal to change your mind about anything.

But I am livid as hell at an establishment controlled GOP Congress that sits on it's ass; even delighting in liberal Democrat election routs like Virginia had yesterday because they do not like President Trump. The man is a very serious threat to their sleazy power kingdoms that have almost succeeded in destroying our nation.

In light of yesterday's elections if the GOP still fails, refuses to produce any meaningful results on taxes, Obamacare, illegal immigration and national defense among much more then the liberal Democrats will end up back in control.

But, it's probably not a good idea for the liberal Democrats to get too cocky this far out from 2018 elections.

Cultured2014

i agree with you, yesterday's election was an emotional reaction to Donald Trump, that's all it was. Regardless of whether the person is qualified to do the job. "Diversity" is being championed, but i'm certain we'll see the same old song and dance. Liberals need to realize that every time the pendulum swings one way, it swings hard back the other way..as it did when Trump got elected. The better get less cocky, they may get someone worse (for them) next time around for president

icrazyhorse

Nay, I say. The election results the majority of Virginia voters rejected the hate, bigotry, false ads, and "party before country" policies and actions of the Republican Party. Instead the voters chose the "we're all in this together mantra of the Democrats vice the "I've got mine" mantra of the Republicans.

chelsie

Speaking of losers, Corey "Mosque Man" Stewart doubled down on his pro-tRump rhetoric, basically posting on Facebook that the Republican's lost because because they didn't support dishonest Donnie enough...

LolliRx

I have some news for you: Not every Latino you encounter is an illegal immigrant. You should send Corey Stewart some special thanks for the Dem. turnout. His C'Ville antics with Jason Kessler and his embrace of the hate agenda were very instrumental in firing up people of good conscience to come out and help steer this state in the right direction! It was a decisive repudiation of xenophobia and white nationalism!

tbornottb

After 8 terms Lingamfelter's shelf life was OVER and Elizabeth Guzman will be a breath of fresh air. SO HAPPY for the Dems in general and for women and minorities in particular. Trump will NOT run over us in this state. His bullying is not working here.

Allen Muchnick

This wave election was a referendum on Donald Trump's presidency and the actions and shenanigans of the Republicant Congress. Thankfully, Ralph Northam should be able to achieve much of his progressive agenda with the support of the Virginia General Assembly. Good riddance to the departure of Prince William's reactionary Republican House delegates.

At the national level, the Democratic Party will regain control of Congress in 2018. The dark cloud of the disastrous Trump Presidency is starting to part.

Johninva

Allen, the GOP lost because of Ed Gillespie, he is a RINO and dragged down the whole ticket; President Trump did not get Va. for you need to recall Senator Kaine was the running with "Crookit" and the Va. GOP was not behind Trump what so ever.

LolliRx

I had to smile when I read Guzman's quote about introducing her to her new constituent, Corey Stewart! That's pure poetic justice!

Cultured2014

the diversity crowd made a clean sweep, but that's almost like saying i'm the bronze medalist in the special olympics, really doesnt mean much

jkldes

So, you support total ignorance and bigotry?

btw -it's NOT the "diversity crowd" - it's informed voters refusing to be marginalized and discriminated against by ignorance and bigotry.

Remember - your "white privilege" is NOT the reality for the majority of people, regardless what you want or demand.

Localrider

"White privilege" does not exist. It's made up bull$hit.

peacelove

I am so proud to be a PWC resident. We did so good! We will not let hate win or represent us. We have to stay motivated as progressives. A socialist won in Manassas! So much good news.

Johninva

You mean Communist and you are not a "PeaceLove".

Localrider

Anchor baby offspring from the illegal criminal invaders are getting old enough to vote.

Johninva

Agree but the what can you do, GOP has t adapt; the Federal Government can not deport the aliens so do what the Democrats do, get the Latino Vote.

Johninva

Well Ed Gillespie was toxic to the GOP ticket and dragged the whole ticket down ; (1)Ed Gillespie "spit" on President Trump as the Senator McCain has and other RINOs have and cost the whole 2017 GOP ticket a downfall. (2)Prince William County is heavily Latino and needs to encompass the Latino Vote.
The Democrats or Communist, elected not people believing in Democratic Principles of Government but Facist beliefs. Hopefully, the GOP by a slim margins will hold on to the House. The Governor-elect will pick up GOP delegates from the House for his cabinet and the House will be Communist.

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