Democrat Aaron Rouse appeared to clinch the special election for Virginia’s 7th state Senate district on Tuesday in yet another victory for his party, which was already riding high from a better-than-expected midterm election.
The race was a nail-biter, with Rouse scraping by over Republican opponent Kevin Adams with less than 1 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election results. Still, the flip will be seen as a major win by the party and will expand its majority in the commonwealth’s state Senate. The split in the chamber will now stand at 22-18.
Rouse declared victory shortly after the unofficial vote tallies were counted.
“THANK YOU!” he tweeted Tuesday night. “With your support, and the support of voters from across Virginia Beach and Norfolk, we have won this Special Election. No rest for the weary – tomorrow, we head to Richmond to get to work for Virginia families.”
His party also hailed the victory, with the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee tweeting Tuesday night that it “will help Dems defend our majority in the VA Senate this fall!”
Rouse, a Virginia Beach city council member and former NFL player, will replace Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-Va.) in the seat that she vacated after she defeated former Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) in the November U.S. congressional elections.
The seventh state Senate district includes much of the Virginia Beach area and parts of Norfolk. Rouse’s victory is significant due to the district’s Republican lean. Kiggans won the seat by just less than a point in 2019, while Biden won the district by 10 points in 2020. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) won the seat during the state’s 2021 gubernatorial campaign. And in 2022, Kiggans trailed Luria by four points in precincts within the state Senate district, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
Rouse’s victory is also significant because it provides Democrats with an extra vote against any measure that could restrict abortion access in the commonwealth. The issue featured heavily in the race and underscored its viability for Democrats as they look toward the November general elections and the 2024 presidential election.