Pundits have seized on Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race as a possible road map for Republicans everywhere to win office in 2022.
But that’s all commentary and speculation. How about hearing from the grand strategists behind the Youngkin campaign? They took to the pages of the Washington Post to say how Youngkin won, and what it may mean for 2022.
The bottom line? The cost of living – inflation – was a major voter concern. But having a candidate who was relatable, likeable, and new to politics was huge:
The most important factor is not easily replicable: an outstanding candidate who works hard and connects with people.
Second, take your message to the dinner table. Republicans have to address the anxiety of voters whose wages simply cannot keep up with rising prices. The cost of living, as an issue, is lethal for Biden Democrats. Republicans must seize it.
Third, invest in data and go after every vote. We targeted 390,000 Asian American voters — including 2,172 Polynesian voters and 5,457 central Asians — and 66,914 Middle Eastern voters — with a vote goal for each group, as well as a plan to reach them. We did the same for Latinos. The AP VoteCast survey showed we won a majority of Latinos. They saw Youngkin’s heart.
Fourth, while every candidate will be pulled into national issues, don’t do so at the expense of local problems. Youngkin leaned into his plans to give cost-of-living relief to Virginians. McAuliffe leaned into ads that tried to turn Youngkin into someone he simply wasn’t. Voters didn’t buy it.
The result was a diverse coalition — that gave independents and disenchanted Democrats permission to vote for a different kind of Republican.
Many are asking if this race portends what’s to come in the midterm elections. We don’t know. But candidates who invest in data, identify potential voters and pursue those voters with relentless appeals relevant to their lives stand a very good chance.
TL;DR – all politics is local, and yes, inflation is a huge concern.