Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in Virginia’s gubernatorial contest, in a carefully watched statewide election with national ramifications that McAuliffe was previously anticipated to win.
“Alrighty Virginia, we won this thing,” Youngkin told supporters in his victory speech a little after 1 AM Wednesday.
And he vowed that “together, we will change the trajectory of this commonwealth.”
According to FOX News, Youngkin, a first-time candidate from the GOP’s business wing, ran a disciplined campaign focused on taxes, crime, and holding public schools accountable to parents, while McAuliffe has spent much of his firepower in recent months linking Youngkin to former President Donald Trump.
In a failed attempt to enhance his fortunes, McAuliffe attempted to nationalize the race, campaigned with President Biden, Vice President Harris, former President Obama, and other major Democrats in the last weeks before the election.
McAuliffe enjoyed a mid-single-digit lead in a state that Biden won by ten points over then-President Trump just a year earlier, but Youngkin erased the former governor’s lead in the final weeks of the campaign.
With Virginia’s gubernatorial race regarded as a key predictor of next year’s midterm elections, Youngkin’s victory in a state where Republicans haven’t won statewide in a dozen years will only heighten Democratic concerns as they attempt to defend their razor-thin House and Senate majorities in 2022.
Youngkin, a former private equity CEO, won thanks to a wave of Republican voter fervor and by capitalizing on parents’ dissatisfaction with decisions made by their local school boards.
“We’re going to embrace our parents, not ignore them,” he emphasized in his victory speech.
And he touted that “a campaign that came from nowhere…turned into a movement.”
Youngkin made significant gains among suburban voters, who generated the 2018 blue wave that helped Democrats reclaim control of the House and Biden’s presidential triumph against Trump a year ago.