Ralph Northam's vacated Senate seat up for grabs in special election

(AP/WJLA) - A special election is being held Tuesday to fill the Virginia Senate seat vacated by Lt. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam.

The outcome of this election and another one scheduled for Virginia's 33rd District later in January, could have huge effects on which party controls the state legislature.

The race for Northam's vacated seat, which represents parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, is between Republican Wayne Coleman and Democrat Lynwood Lewis.

Coleman is a Norfolk businessman while Lewis won his 6th term in the House of Delegates in November representing the Eastern Shore.

Northam's 6th district is centered in Norfolk but also includes a section of Virginia Beach and three counties.

The contest is important because it is one of two that could tilt control of the state Senate. Northam would have the tie-breaking vote in the chamber if Coleman wins his former seat and the Democrat takes the northern Virginia Senate seat once held by Attorney General-elect Mark Herring. That special election is later this month.