Political outsider GOP member Glenn Youngkin has beat former Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe to become the next governor for Virginia after a heated race widely viewed as an indicator of national opinions going into next year’s midterms.
With 66 percent of the votes counted, Youngkin got 55 percent of the vote, and McAuliffe got 44 percent, as reported by the Virginia Public Access Project. Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding got 0.6 percent, or 12,288 votes. The race was called shortly after 8:30 p.m.
Youngkin is now celebrating the election night at the Westfields Marriott Dulles Washington, where hundreds of campaign staffers and supporters are at the hotel to watch the elections results and cheer for their candidate, some have signs that read “Parents for Youngkin,” or “Farmers for Youngkin,” and even some “Democrats for Youngkin.” The now governor-elect will deliver remarks at the hotel later this evening.
Youngkin, a former CEO of the Carlyle Group who was not known to Virginians before his bid for office, is the first GOP member to win the governorship since McDonnell’s win in 2009.
Youngkin’s victory comes after almost all odds were stacked against the Virginia conservative in a state that seemed increasingly blue. President Biden defeated former President Trump by ten points back in 2020, Hillary Clinton also defeated Trump by five points during the 2016 race, and former President Obama won Virginia in 2008 as well as 2012.
Virginia’s state legislature also turned into a Democrat stronghold in 2019 for the first time in two decades, leading Democratic Governor Ralph Northam to announce to his crowd in Richmond after the race, “I am here to officially say today, November 5, 2019, that Virginia is now blue.”
Northam, who is term-limited and not able to seek reelection, had endorsed McAuliffe during the race. The Virginia governor did not make a public comment on the 2021 race outcome.
McAuliffe, a longtime politician well-connected to top Democrats like the Clintons, put much of his campaign strategy on connecting Youngkin to Trump in a state normally proven to be cold toward the former president given the past two presidential elections.
Youngkin, however, did not resemble Trump as he centered his campaign on lowering taxes, education reform and creating new jobs, and targeting Virginia-specific topics.
Author: Blake Ambrose