Virginia Wesleyan students, staff and faculty reflect on the 2018 midterm elections and who will be representing Virginia’s 2nd congressional district.
Students, staff and faculty at Wesleyan went to the polls to vote in the midterm elections on Nov. 6.
Adjunct professor John Doucette said there was a “tremendous turnout” in this year’s midterm election. An estimated 113 million people voted, making this the first midterm exceeding 100 million voters. This year’s record 49 percent participation is even more impressive when compared with the 36.4 percent voter turnout from the 2014 midterms, which was the lowest turnout for a midterm in U.S. history.
Doucette cited several possible reasons for the higher turnout, among them being the fact that the U.S. current has a “pretty unpopular president.” He also said the large voter turnout in this area may have been a result of the possibility of a new mayor. Virginia Beach elected Bobby Dyer as the new mayor over Ben Davenport.
One Wesleyan employee said that the most important part of the election was the change it might cause: “[You] can’t change anything if you don’t go vote.”
Student Reese Reid pointed out that voting was the only way for people to make their voices heard and lobby for their interests. “How’s it going to work if no one votes?” Reid asked.
Young voters have become a major part of recent midterm elections. There was a ten percent increase in voters aged 18 to 29 from the last midterm, according to the center’s estimates.
“We are the next generation who will go out into the workforce, pay taxes and otherwise,” student Jay Crusemire said. “So it should be our voice that is represented.”
President Miller congratulated several candidates on their election in his daily blog, among them being: Tim Kaine, re-elected Virginia senator; Tom Carpter, re-elected Delaware senator; Louis Scott, re-elected council member for Virginia Beach; Bobby Scott, re-elected representative for Virginia’s third congressional district; and Elaine Luria, newly-elected representative for Virgina’s second congressional district.
The vote between Scott Taylor and Elaine Luria for House of Representatives was perhaps most important to the people at Wesleyan. Both candidates made an appearance on campus to discuss their platforms prior to the midterms.
Though Taylor seemed to be winning in the polls prior to the election, Luria defeated Taylor by a close margin. Luria narrowly won her first run for political office, receiving 51.1 percent of the votes. The race to be the second congressional district representative depended on a just a few precincts. A former Navy commander, Luria will now work with the other 434 members that make up the House of Representatives to create and pass legislation. She will represent Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Accomack, the Northampton counties and parts of Norfolk, Hampton and York County. Doucette described Luria as “a great candidate” whose “qualities spoke to people of this district.”
“I am honored to once again answer the call to serve our country and look forward to representing Virginia’s Second District in Congress. I want to thank all of my supporters who worked so hard, and I want to thank Rep. Taylor for his service to our country and this district,” Luria stated on Twitter after winning the election.
She later added that “While I will always look for common ground, while I will always be willing to listen, I will never compromise when it comes [to] the Coastal Virginia values of decency, community, and service to country that we all hold dear.”
When speaking about what may have gone wrong for Taylor’s campaign, Doucette said that it “shot itself in the foot trying to get another name on the ballot to draw votes away from Luria.” The ‘name’ in question was candidate Shaun Brown, who ran against Taylor in the last midterm but lost. Brown ran again this midterm but was removed from the ballot due to fraud.
Besides that decision, voters also decided on a new mayor for Virginia Beach and four school board districts. Each incumbent won his or her respective election in Virginia Beach, Lynnhaven, Princess Anne and Bayside.
A record number of women will now be holding positions in the 116th Congress. Currently, 95 women have won their race for the House of Representatives. In the prior election, woman held only 84 positions in the House and Senate. Thirteen women won additional Senate seats. As of Nov. 7, women will make up at least 22 percent of Congress. Congress will now have a record number of women.
Voting has been an important part of this country since the late 1700s. Doucette said that the “most important elections” can be the local ones. The impact of the second congressional district extends beyond Norfolk and Virginia Beach to the greater region.