What Virginia’s state elections will tell us about the 2024 presidential race

Published: Nov. 6, 2023 at 4:19 PM EST

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - In every election since 2000, with the lone exception of 2016, the presidential candidate who won Virginia’s electoral votes ultimately won the presidency.

“For 100 years it was Ohio that was the bellwether state, that voted with the president in every single election,” George Washington political science professor Todd Belt said. “Now it’s turning out to be a lot like Virginia.”

Much like what will take place in Congress next year, Virginia’s General Assembly is up for grabs. Republicans will attempt to hold onto the lower chamber and Democrats will attempt to hold the Senate.

Belt said Virginia has comparable demographics to the U.S.

“They have rural areas, they have the urban areas, and they have a lot of growing immigrant populations.”

Political forecasters will look into the issues that drive turnout, such as abortion.

“People are wondering, was it just a blurb that would happen the year it was decided with Dobbs and then impact the 2022 elections, or is it going to have legs,” Belt said. “Will it continue to be something that really gives Democrats an advantage.”

Stakes are also high for Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin. If his party is able to outperform expectations, it could help launch a potential presidential bid.

“If Republicans do well, then that bodes well for Youngkin’s future political career, whatever that may be.”

Virginia is one of just four states holding a regularly scheduled state house election in 2023.