RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Travis Hackworth has been elected to the Virginia Senate in a special election to fill the seat of the late state Sen. Ben Chafin, who died in January after contracting COVID-19.

Hackworth, a businessman and member of the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, defeated Democrat Laurie Buchwald, a nurse practitioner and former Radford city councilor, in the race for the 38th District seat in southwest Virginia.

Results from the State Board of Elections Tuesday night showed Hackworth with a 3-1 advantage with nearly every precinct reporting.

Democrats currently have a 21 to 18 Senate majority, and Republicans were looking to hold on to the seat. The sprawling, reliably Republican 38th district stretches from the Virginia-Kentucky border east to Radford.

Chafin had represented the district since 2014. A Democrat, Phillip Puckett, held the seat for more than a decade before Chafin. But the district has voted overwhelmingly for Republican candidates in recent years.