Virginia’s Purple Politics

Virginia elections and geography made for an energetic Post-Election Conference on November 5, which was organized by the NOVA Institute of Public Service. This conference discussed the results of Virginia’s November 3 election, and its implications for 2016. Below is my PowerPoint presentation, highlighting some of the geopolitical outcomes of this election with maps and graphics.

PostElectionNov5-2015 (click on this link for slides)

Explaining election results as Senator Adam Ebbin and Delegate Charniele Herring look on.

Explaining election results as Senator Adam Ebbin and Delegate Charniele Herring look on.

Both Virginia Republicans and Democrats can claim victories in this election, including:

  • Republicans kept control of the Virginia Senate by 1 seat.
  • Democrats gained 2 seats and lost 1 seat (all in Northern Virginia), giving them 34 seats and ending Republicans “veto-proof” majority in the House of Delegates.
  • Republicans held on to the Richmond area’s Senate District 10–barely–which was the best chance for a Democratic pickup.
  • Democratic State Senator John Edwards (District 21) won re-election by more than 8  percentage points in southwestern Virginia (a conservative stronghold) despite Republicans raising more money.
  • Republican State Senator Dick Black (District 13) won re-election to his Northern Virginia seat in the closest race for any Senate incumbent. Democrats note that he won by only 4.8% (52.2% to 47.5%) compared to 14.2% in 2011.

A record $43 million was spent by both political parties on Virginia Senate elections. However, all this money did not motivate most Virginians to vote. Voter turnout was only 29% of all registered voters, meaning that only 1.5 million out 5.2 million Virginians voted for candidates that will determine Virginia law. Public indifference to elections is often blamed on gerrymandered districts, whose contorted geographic shapes fail to create a sense of community but succeed in protecting incumbents.

A purple Virginia sums up the electoral geography. Republicans are favored in most local elections, but Democrats have won all statewide offices. Urban growth in Northern Virginia favors Democrats, but Republicans are more consistent and passionate voters. The 2016 Presidential election in Virginia should be interesting.

David B. Miller, Geography & Geopolitics Instructor, NVCC-Alexandria & Annandale

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the view of the NOVA Institute for Public Service or Northern Virginia Community College as a whole. All materials may be reprinted with permission, for more information please contact the IPS Coordinator. Comments are welcome.

Slavery in the 21st Century – Human Trafficking Conference

Please join us for this IPS Conference focusing on Human Trafficking on April 7, 2014 at the Alexandria Campus. The conference will feature three panels, at 9:30am, 11:00am, and 7:30pm and will take place in the Bisdorf Building, Room 196. Below are more details regarding each panel. We hope to see you there!
9:30 am – Welcome by Dr. Jim McClellan, Dean of Liberal Arts, Alexandria Campus 
9:35 am – Human Trafficking in a Historical Context
Join these distinguished individuals for a discussion that highlights the similarities between slavery pre-1865 and modern day human trafficking.
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Dr. Jim McClellan, Dean of Liberal Arts, Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus
  • Dr. Joe Windham, Assistant Dean of History and Political Science, Northern Virginia Community College Alexandria Campus
  • Dr. Rashmi Bali Chilka, Assistant Dean of History and Political Science, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus


11:05 am – A Global Perspective on Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking is a social justice issue that affects millions of people worldwide.  Our panelists work to combat these human rights violations. Please join us to hear how these individuals, organizations and governments are seeking to correct these injustices on a global and national level.
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Jennifer Litvak, Human Rights Education Specialist, The Protection Project
  • Guillermo Galarza, The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Professor Susan French, Senior Staff Attorney, International Human Rights Clinic, George Washington University Law School
  • A representative from the US Department of State
  • Jelena Jovica, Student, Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus


7:30 pm – Human Trafficking: A Contemporary Human Right Community Issue
While many people know that Human Trafficking is an issue across the globe, too often people are unaware of how this issue seeps its way into every corner of our world. In fact, many may find it hard to believe that human trafficking even found a place in Alexandria, VA. Please join our panelists from the area who will discuss how human trafficking is a present-day situation in our community and what these resources are doing in the fight for human rights.
Confirmed Panelists:
  • Jean Kelleher, Director of the Office of Human Rights, City of Alexandria
  • Cathryn “Cat” Evans, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Alexandria
  • Mike Mackey, Gang Prevention and Intervention Coordinator, Court Services, representing the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Captain Scott Ogden, Alexandria PD
  • Lieutenant Jack Compton, Alexandria PD 
  • Lieutenant Dennis Andreas, Alexandria PD
  • Beth Pfenning, Training & Technical Assistance Specialist, Polaris Project
Click on the following links for larger images of each flyer:
Slavery in the 21st Century – 1 Slavery in the 21st Century – 2 Slavery in the 21st Century – 3 Slavery in the 21st Century – 4
Slavery in the 21st Century - 1
Slavery in the 21st Century - 2 Slavery in the 21st Century - 3 Slavery in the 21st Century - 4