Tensions build in Hampton Roads ahead of Election Day

NORFOLK, Va. - In just a few days, voters from across the Commonwealth will head to the polls.

With every seat in the General Assembly up for grabs, this year has been contentious. The big question looming is, which party will take control after Tuesday?

As a voter, the power is in your hands.

Currently the House of Delegates and the State Senate are Republican-led. Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in Virginia Beach on Saturday night encouraging voters to keep it that way.

To the crowd, he said, "Virginia and America need you to get out to the polls this Tuesday, November 5th and vote to reelect Republican majorities."

However, Democrats like Shelly Simonds are hoping their campaign will flip the vote.

Simonds is up against Republican, Delegate David Yancey and Libertarian Michael Bartley for the 94th House of Delegates District. The district is made up of part of Newport News and has been represented by Yancey since 2012.

Simonds told News 3, "Newport News is an urban city, so there are a lot of issues that haven't gotten a lot of attention in the General Assembly that we really need to work on. Issues like criminal justice reform and gun safety are really important to voters in my new district."

Among those, voters are also concerned with healthcare, abortion and education.

Fighting to defend his seat against Simonds, Delegate Yancey talked education, saying, "The other side of it, is of course making sure we have adequate teacher pay raises so that we can continue to give our teachers the support they need so they can give our children an excellent education."

A recent redraw of the 94th district lines is adding a twist to this election, the third time Del. Yancey and Simonds have faced off.

Two years ago, they received the same number of votes and Yancey won when his name was drawn out of a bowl. That 50/50 draw also gave Republicans control of the House of Delegates.

On the Southside, a redrawing of district lines looks to factor into the 76th district race between Republican incumbent Del. Chris Jones and Democrat challenger Clinton Jenkins.

Other big House of Delegate races include the 21st district with Del. Kelly Fowler (D) against Shannon Kane (R) representing portions of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake and the 85th district with Rocky Holcomb (R) against Alex Askew (D) in another portion of Virginia Beach.

In the fight for Senate, millions of dollars have been spent campaigning and targeting certain districts.

Republican Jen Kiggans is battling Democrat Cheryl Turpin in the 7th Senate District race, which covers parts of Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

Meanwhile, Missy Cotter Smasal (D) is hoping to take the 8th District seat in Virginia Beach from incumbent Sen. Bill DeSteph (R).

Political experts said this year, in general, the ads and mailers have been some of the most negative.

Some of the ads you see on TV may not even be for races you'll see on the ballot. You can check your city's website to find a sample ballot and research candidates ahead of Election Day.

Even though this isn't a presidential or gubernatorial election, experts say to still vote because local elections have a bigger impact on day-to-day life.

Click here for more election news.

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