Warning: you’ll need sunglasses for this one.
Democratic candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates won more than 220,000 more votes than their Republican counterparts. Democrats won the two-party contest with Republicans by more than 9 percentage points. Nevertheless, Republicans may still maintain control of Virginia’s lower house, largely due to gerrymandering.
Before the election, Republicans enjoyed a 66-34 supermajority in the House of Delegates. As of this writing, Democrats picked up 15 of the 17 seats they need to take back the majority. Three seats, all currently held by Republicans, are currently too close to call. One Republican delegate, David Yancey, currently holds a 12 vote lead over his Democratic opponent Shelly Simonds.
When all the votes are counted, in other words, the result will be either a very narrow GOP majority, a very narrow Democratic majority, or a tied legislature — despite the fact that Democratic candidates outperformed Republicans by about 9.4 percentage points.
Call me crazy, but when I see an election where a 9-point edge may well not result in even a one-vote majority in the legislature, my takeaway is not “eh, gerrymandering isn’t a major issue, and Democrats shouldn’t worry about it.”