Democrats wrested control of the Senate from Republicans Wednesday with an upset victory in Virginia, giving the party complete domination of Capitol Hill for the first time since 1994.
…The Associated Press contacted election officials in all 134 localities where voting occurred, obtaining updated numbers Wednesday. About half the localities said they had completed their postelection canvassing and nearly all had counted outstanding absentees. Most were expected to be finished by Friday.
The new AP count showed Webb with 1,172,538 votes and Allen with 1,165,302, a difference of 7,236. Virginia has had two statewide vote recounts in modern history, but both resulted in vote changes of no more than a few hundred votes.
I came to D.C. during the summer of 1994, to work for the Human Rights Campaign and help defeat the anti-gay ballot initiatives in Oregon and Idaho. I sat in the conference room on election night, watching the results come in and realizing that the work I came to D.C. to do was going to be a lot harder. Later, in January, I was on the Hill the day the new Congress was sworn in, making the rounds with one of the our lobbyists to say hello to the friends we had left on Capitol Hill. All I remember is meeting and shaking hands with Mark Foley, and later thinking to myself I’d never seen so many fur coats in one place.
I also remember that it felt like the end of something. I’m not working specifically on gay issues anymore, nor am I working with a lobbying organization, so it’s unlikely I’ll be on the Hill when the next Congress is sworn in. But I’d like to be there, if I could find a way or an excuse to be there. It would be a nice way to bookend this period of my time in D.C.
I think it will feel like the beginning of something. Whether I’m there or not.