VPM News Photo Year-in-Review: Elections
As this momentous year comes to a close, VPM News is looking back at our top stories and photos of 2020 for our first ‘year in review’ series. Please check back every day this week to see some of our best photos from Crixell Matthews, Coleman Jennings, Craig Carper and Alex Scribner. Monday’s segment was on the legislative session, Tuesday the pandemic, and yesterday, photos from the protests.
In the midst of everything else, people across the state turned out to vote both in primary elections and the general election. Pres. Donald Trump lost to former Vice President Joe Biden, who will take office on Jan. 20, 2021.
Virginia voters overwhelmingly favored Biden, who prevailed by 10 points over Trump. And while the state has steadily trended blue, it still hosted visits by both candidates, and was a hotly-contested site for Democratic candidates during the primary earlier this year.
Although Trump lost his re-election bid, incumbents won at the state and city level, with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and sitting members of City Council winning re-election despite the summer of unrest.
Jill Biden, who will become the first lady, met with Stoney during a campaign visit earlier this year. And before the pandemic or the Democratic primary, Crixell Matthews got photos of Democratic primary candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at campaign stops, the former in Richmond and the latter in Northern Virginia.
Republican Bob Good, pictured here with state Sen. Amanda Chase at a GOP fundraiser, won his race for the congressional seat formally held by Denver Riggleman, who was ousted in a convention after officiating at a wedding for a gay couple. Good defeated Democrat Cameron Webb, who blamed his loss in the deep-red district on polarization. Webb was
Chase easily won re-election in 2019, but made headlines herself this year with an announcement she'll run for governor. The state senator from Chesterfield has gone back and forth on running as a Republican or a third-party candidate, and has embraced extremist political actors like the Boogaloos, a well-armed loose collective whose members say they're preparing for violent civil strife. Chase is very pro-gun and usually travels with armed guards.
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who won her seat in 2018 by about 7,000 votes in a district long held by Republicans, was re-elected in an expensive race with GOP challenger Nick Freitas. Although Spanberger won by more votes in this cycle, other House candidates fared worse nationally, and she would join a number of moderate Democrats in blaming progressives for the end of the 'Blue Wave' that led to Democratic victories following the 2016 presidential election.
Virginia Democrats didn't continue their streak of winning new districts, but incumbents like Rep. Donald McEachin won re-election by large margins. McEachin participated in a VPM candidate forum with his challenger, Republican Leon Benjamin, in October.
In the City of Richmond, former City Councillor Kim Gray vacated her seat to run against Stoney in a mayoral race that included three other candidates: Justin Griffin, Tracey McLean and Alexsis Rodgers. Gray, a former school board member who won her council election in 2016, came in third, narrowly behind Rodgers, a first-time candidate. Despite the defeat of the Navy Hill proposal and criticism of his leadership during the protests, Stoney won by a similar margin to his prior victory.