Democrat Aaron Rouse has defeated Republican Kevin Adams in the race for Virginia’s 7th Senate District, flipping the seat formerly held by Republican Jen Kiggans, according to unofficial election results.
It was a close race, with Rouse up by 348 votes with all precincts reporting, 19,430 votes to Adams’ 19,082, results show.
It appears to be unofficially outside the margin of 1/2 percent that would allow a candidate to ask for a recount and not have to pay for it. Rouse was behind until the early voting in person started coming in. Then when early absentee votes came in Rouse won those by about 4-1, and was never behind after that.
The former Virginia Beach councilman and NFL player took the stage to thank supporters just before 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday as his team declared victory.
“I’m just so excited that Virginia Beach has my back and I have there’s all the way to Richmond,” Rouse said. “… I’m a native here. I grew up in a place where I had a chance to come home and serve on a local governing body. Do good things and [voters] remember that.”
Adams, a Navy veteran who campaigned on crime as high number one issue, also thanked his supporters on Tuesday night. He and Rouse both raised about a million dollars each.
The result means there will now be a 22-18 Democratic advantage in the Senate, all but certainly blocking any chances of Gov. Youngkin’s proposed 15-week abortion ban passing in the 2023 General Assembly, which officially starts on Wednesday.
Rouse’s campaign messaging focused heavily on Rouse’s plan to block those efforts to restrict abortion access in the commonwealth. He said on Tuesday that’s his number one priority going to Richmond.
“1-2-3, 1, we are going to protect a woman’s right to choose health care, we are going to build an economy that works for everyone, and we are going to support our public education system making sure our teachers and staff have a salary they can be proud of,” Rouse said.
The 7th District seat was held by Kiggans, who beat incumbent Democrat Elaine Luria in the 2nd Congressional District race this past November.