Virginia

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam vows it's "a new day and a new landscape" in Virginia. He says when Democrats take over the state legislature for the first time in a generation at the start of the new year, passing gun violence prevention laws will be a top priority.

He adds guns "shouldn't be a partisan issue," even though he says he's prepared to pass new "common sense" gun laws without Republican support.

Tuesday's statewide elections in Kentucky and Virginia were a big night for Democrats. And the results tell us a few things about national politics, consequential issues and President Trump.

In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear, the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, claimed victory Tuesday night and narrowly leads incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin by about 5,000 votes. Bevin has not yet conceded the race.

Updated at 2:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

Democrats had a strong election night on Tuesday, leading the race for governor in Kentucky and taking back full control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in nearly a quarter century.

Voters in four states head to the polls on Tuesday for general statewide elections of note. These off-year contests may not be as high profile as the 2020 presidential and congressional elections will be a year from now, but they could offer some important hints on how voters are feeling about President Trump, impeachment, guns and more.

If you follow politics, you're probably inundated by news of the 2020 presidential race by now. But did you know that 2019 is an election year too? This month, five states will hold big general elections.

Voters in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia will elect either a whole slew of state lawmakers or a governor and other statewide executives. Or, in the case of Louisiana and Mississippi, all of the above.

Gun control has emerged as a key issue in next month's off-year elections in Virginia, a state that is seen as a bellwether of what could come in national elections in 2020.

Republicans currently hold a razor-thin majority in both houses of the state legislature, and with all 140 seats on the ballot this year, Democrats hope to turn those chambers blue.

One race where the discussion of guns is especially fraught is in Virginia Beach, the 8th State Senate district.

Editor’s Note: Sarah Milov, assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia and author of the forthcoming book, “The Cigarette: A Political History,” provided extensive research material for historians Ed Ayers and Nathan Connolly. We did not attribute the research to Sarah in the original broadcast that aired. We apologize for the error.

Legislative districts in Virginia that the Supreme Court previously said were racially gerrymandered have to remain in their redrawn form, the court said Monday, giving Democrats in the state a victory.

The majority decision was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who noted that because the entirety of state government wasn't suing to keep the fight going — the case was brought by the state's GOP-controlled House — then it is throwing the case out.

Lawmakers in Richmond have wrapped up their 2019 legislative session, less than two months removed from a cascade of scandals involving Virginia's top three elected officials, which captured the nation's attention for weeks.

Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to wearing blackface decades ago. Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor, was accused of sexual assault by two women.

All three Democrats remain in office despite continued, though less intense, calls for their resignations.

A Republican lawmaker said he plans to invite two women who have accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault to share their stories before a General Assembly panel.

Del. Rob Bell made the announcement from the floor of the House of Delegates Friday. The hearing will take place in the House Courts of Justice Committee, which Bell chairs. A date was not set.

Fairfax, a Democrat and only the second African-American to be elected to the lieutenant governor post, has vehemently denied the allegations brought forth by Meredith Watson and Vanessa Tyson.

Pages