The race is on: Candidates vying for 100 House of Delegates seats

Nexstar Capitol Bureau

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Tuesday, Virginians will elect a governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

While the three statewide races have drawn a lot of attention, there are 100 other races to watch that hit even closer to home.

All 100 Virginia House of Delegates seats are up for grabs.

Right now, 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats make up the House. But Democrats are hoping to shake things up.

“We have terrific candidates in districts that are very hospitable to us,” said House Democratic Leader David Toscano.

Toscano said Trump’s win nationally has people fired up.

When asked how many seats Democrats would have to win to be considered a success, Toscano did not have a specific number in mind. He said he they are always reaching for a majority.

“We’ve always put people into the field who we think can win races. It’s very difficult to predict how many races you’re going to win, so I never do that,” he said. “All I can say is we’ve put a lot of people in place so we can win.”

When former President Barack Obama campaigned for Democrats in Richmond last month, he mentioned the races.

“Right here in Virginia there are 50 first-time candidates running for your House of Delegates,” he said.

Obama went on to say a dozen are millennials.

Women are also leaving their mark on this year’s House races.

There are a record number of women running. Democrats have 43 female candidates, Republicans have nine and there is one Independent.

Another batch of races is being closely-watched, too.

“There are 17 seats that Hillary Clinton carried that [Republicans] currently hold,” said Kirk Cox. “So it’s a tough climate.”

Cox is House Speaker-designee. As long as Republicans hold on to the majority in the House, he will be the highest-ranking member of the body.

When asked whether he believes there could be a shift in power, he made it clear he’s confident his party will continue to lead.

“I don’t think there’s any potential for the majority flipping,” he said. “We feel very good.”

Cox said, unlike Washington, Virginia’s leaders tend to work better across party lines — though he has been disturbed by recent campaign rhetoric.

He said the now-pulled Latino Victory Fund ad was “way over the top” and “probably the worst thing” he’s ever seen.

The highly criticized ad showed a pickup truck stamped with a Republican Ed Gillespie bumper sticker and flying a Confederate flag chasing minority kids.

The group pulled it following Tuesday’s pickup truck terror attack in New York City.

Cox said, while the candidates are going head-to-head right now, what happens after Tuesday is just as important.

“Once the election is over, it’s really incumbent on us to work together and really move Virginia forward,” he said.

The election is Nov. 7.