NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Lots of eyes on Virginia after an election with possibly big ramifications. Experts say the Democratic sweep could be a preview of what's to come in next year's midterm election.
Democrat Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie by about nine points.
"The Republicans after last night, are going to be on the defensive," said Ben Melusky, an assistant professor of political science at Old Dominion University.
This, going into 2018 midterm elections when seats are up for grabs in the United States House and Senate.
"Their margins in the House, which are pretty substantial right now, are going to be in question because a lot of the seats that they won in 2016 were in moderate districts," he added.
Melusky said eight seats held by Republican Senators will also be crucial.
Gillespie's loss, he said, should be a time for Republican reflection. "Fifty-six percent were saying that Donald Trump played a large role in their voting, and it was more they were casting a vote against Donald Trump."
The political science professor went on to say that Democrats are going to use this win to their advantage.
"The Democratic National Committee has had lower fundraising than they would expect moving out of 2016, so they're gonna use these wins to try to drive up fundraising to start thinking about 2018," he said.
Republican Congressman Scott Taylor acknowledged the losses signal how voters feel about President Donald Trump.
“I don’t know how you get around saying this wasn’t a referendum on the president,” said Taylor. “I mean really, I think some of the divisiveness in the country really prompted a high Democratic turnout around the state of Virginia.”
Democratic Congressman Donald McEachin said he hopes this will be the first of many blue victories across the country.
“When you look down and see the depth of the wins at the House of Delegates level, you know that it’s the Trump effect," said McEachin. "He’s the gift that keeps on giving, and this is just the first step. We win tonight, we win in ‘18 and then we take the White House back in 2020.”
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