Virginia Republicans rode a powerful wave of voter discontent with Democrats at the state and federal levels to a sweep of the commonwealth’s top three offices and control of the House of Delegates.
While final vote tallies won’t be ready for a few more days, the results were still very clear:
Republican Glenn Youngkin claimed a narrow victory Tuesday night to become Virginia’s next governor, summoning cultural divisions and promising tax cuts to end Democrats’ sweeping power over the state
Republican Glenn Youngkin claimed a narrow victory Tuesday night to become Virginia’s next governor, summoning cultural divisions and promising tax cuts to end Democrats’ sweeping power over the state.
At 12:37 a.m. Wednesday the Associated Press declared Youngkin, a former private equity executive making his first run for office, the victor over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who ran as a business-friendly moderate Democrat who would defend liberal social policies and bring economic growth to the state.
Youngkin led 51% to 48%, edging the Democrat by claiming back a slice of the suburban vote that had recently swung for Democrats, while boosting turnout in the state’s rural west.
“Virginia, we won this thing!” Youngkin told his supporters shortly after 1 a.m. at a Chantilly Marriott.
Republican Winsome Sears held a similar lead over Democrat Hala Ayala for lieutenant governor. In the contest for attorney general Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, was narrowly ahead of Democratic incumbent Mark Herring.
Youngkin is the first Republican to win statewide in Virginia since 2009, bucking recent trends that indicated the state had become solidly blue.
Things can change quickly in politics, especially those things that are thought to be permanent. The onus is now on the GOP to show the voters who abandoned them during the Trump years that they are worthy of the power voters handed them Tuesday night. As for Virginia Democrats? They have a lot of soul searching to do — and they can start by asking themselves why they thought running an agenda-free retread like Terry McAuliffe (and a candidate for attorney general seeking a third term) was a good idea.