RICHMOND - Virginia voters yesterday reshaped the state's political landscape for years to come, giving Republicans outright control of the General Assembly for the first time in history.
"Free at last. Free at last. Free at long last. Democracy has finally come to the commonwealth," Republican Gov. James S. Gilmore III said last night.
Republican challengers defeated two Democratic incumbents and won two seats vacated by retiring Democrats to take control of the House and also kept control of the Senate.
Party leaders said the victory means voters endorse their work over the last six years: the car-tax cut, abolishing parole and putting more teachers in classrooms. The victory gives the party unfettered power to press its tax-slashing agenda and, with redistricting after the 2000 census, to bolster its influence for a generation.