The Democratic Party’s control over the Virginia Senate is now hanging in the balance after a Democrat state senator was caught lying about her residence and may be ineligible to hold office.
Last week, Virginia Democrats took control of the state House.
Democrats also retained control of the state Senate by just one seat.
However, a winning Democrat senator, Ghazala Hashmi, may have lied about residing in the district.
The situation could lead to the chamber falling into Republican hands.
Democrats are slated to control the state Senate 21-19.
Nevertheless, if Hashmi is ineligible to hold office because she lied on her campaign paperwork, she could be replaced by a Republican.
Tie-breaking votes would be cast by Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears.
Virginia Senate candidates are required to live in the district they are running for.
Hashmi filed candidacy paperwork saying she lived in an apartment on Boulder Lake Drive in North Chesterfield in Senate District 15.
However, four neighbors filed a complaint saying she actually lives outside the district on Bosham Lane in Midlothian.
They provided a detailed spreadsheet saying they had driven by the house 62 times during October to document her residency.
The notes include her car being there late at night and early in the morning, and her leaving the house shortly after 8 a.m.
They also list when lights are on at the home and even when the trash has been out out.
It also includes photographic evidence.
The complaint puts Hashmi, and Virginia Democrats, in a particular bind.
If Hashmi did live in the Chesterfield apartment, then she may have committed a felony by concealing her ownership of the Midlothian home on sworn election forms.
The Certificate of Candidacy Qualification, which she signed on March 14, 2023, says, “I now reside at the address shown below in the district in which I seek office,” under which she listed the North Chesterfield apartment.
The form also asks, “Do you or a member of your immediate family, separately or together, hold an interest valued at more than $5,000 in real property? DO NOT INCLUDE your principal residence.”
She checked “no,” and did not list the Midlothian home.
However, real estate records show that she and her husband have owned that home since 1999.
The home is valued at nearly $600,000, according to online records.
The form says “knowingly making any untrue statement or entry in this document is a felony under Virginia law.
“The punishment is a maximum fine of $2,500 and/or confinement for up to ten years.
“Also, you lose your right to vote.”
Hashmi is a current senator representing the old Senate District 10, which includes Midlothian.
But her house became part of a new District 12 after once-a-decade redistricting this year.
During the recent cycle, she decided to run in neighboring District 15, representing Chesterfield County and part of Richmond.
She apparently rented an apartment to have an address there.
Her home of 24 years is not currently listed for sale, according to real estate websites.
Her car is easily identifiable because it has special legislator plates and the vehicle was observed to be parked there regularly.
Hashmi won her election against Republican Hayden Fisher last Tuesday with 62% of the vote.
“I plan to stop them from certifying the election,” Fisher announced following the news.
“She’s disqualified, that means I ran unopposed as a matter of law.”
“There’s no question whatsoever that she does not live in that apartment,” he said.
“She definitely clearly intentionally lied on that form.
“And she does not reside in the district so she should not represent it.”
The complaint by four neighbors, which Fisher was not involved with, was dated October 31 and was addressed to Chesterfield County Registrar Missy Vera.