As of close to 10 p.m., Democrats in Virginia have picked up one of the four seats they need to retake the State Senate. The impact of the immigration issue remains unclear, with incumbency and recent voting history in the districts apparently playing a larger role so far. With 73 percent of the vote counted, Republican Jill Hotzman Vogel is leading Democrat Karen Schultz in Senate District 27 by nearly 5 percentage points. And, with 56 percent of the vote counted, Democratic incumbent Charles Cogan is hanging onto his seat, 54 percent to 46 percent, despite challenger Robert FitzSimmonds' push.
UPDATE, 1228 a.m.: Democrats declare themselves winners of the State Senate and pooh-pooh electoral power of immigration worries:
In claiming the Senate, Democrats prepared to install longtime Fairfax Sen. Richard L. Saslaw as majority leader and seize the chairmanships of key committees that control social legislation, crime issues, land-use and transportation policy.
Saslaw said the results proved that efforts by Republicans to focus voter attention on illegal immigration did not work.
"I did not think that immigration in and of itself would carry the day," Saslaw said. "The results are proving that while immigration is a concern to people -- and it should be -- it is not returning the votes that they thought that it would.
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