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Hernandez tops Pittman in 94th House Delegate race 

With control of the House of Delegates hanging in the balance, Democrat Philip Hernandez appeared to win over Republican Andy Pittman in the newly created 94th District, which covers the north section of Norfolk. 

The two candidates lined up with their party’s platforms, Hernandez emphasizing abortion rights.

“I was always clear, we need to keep reproductive rights with women,” Hernandez said. “They should be the ones making these choices. And I heard about that all year long. But it wasn't just that. It was also about protecting public education and investing in it and lifting teacher pay. It was about taking on gun violence in our community.” 

Pittman’s campaign emphasized fighting crime and the economy. The Norfolk attorney also lined up with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposal for a ban on abortion after 15 weeks, with exceptions for rape and incest. 

“So I think that's a reasonable limit,” said Pittman, while greeting voters outside a polling place.  “There's consensus for that in the Commonwealth. Polls show that 60% of even those who identify as pro-choice support that limit.” 

Poll workers saw a steady stream of voters throughout the day, Tuesday. Faneesha Hudson says crime is one of her concerns in Norfolk, but this election, further restrictions on abortion rights was her number one issue. 

“I trust both candidates to do something about crime,” she said. “I know they're going to do that, but when it comes to something that can affect me and my body…That's the one that I'm a little more concerned about.”

Overall, this was the most expensive race for state legislature in Virginia history, with an estimated $175 million poured into the race by both sides. Hernandez brought in over $1 million to Pittman’s roughly $500,000, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.  

Hernandez is a senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy, The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis. The Oceanview resident narrowly lost a bid for delegate in 2019, in the former 100th District. The voter makeup of the new 94th District is more reliably blue. The voters there, voted overwhelmingly for Biden over Trump but also Clinton over Trump in 2016. 

The outline of the 94th District as a product of new maps created under redistricting. The seat is seen as critical for Democrats as they try to gain a majority in the narrowly divided House of Delegates.

Steve joined WHRO in 2023 to cover military and veterans. Steve has extensive experience covering the military and working in public media, most recently at KPBS in San Diego, WYIN in Gary, Indiana and WBEZ in Chicago. In the early 2000s, he embedded with members of the Indiana National Guard in Kuwait and Iraq. Steve reports for NPR’s American Homefront Project, a national public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Steve is also on the board of Military Reporters & Editors.

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