Youngkin Beats McAuliffe in Race to Become Virginia’s Governor

Republican Glenn Youngkin

Republican Glenn Youngkin has been elected as Governor in Virginia, defeating Democrat Terry McAuliffe after riding a late wave of momentum to deliver a rebuke of democratic control in Richmond and Washington.

It was a bitter political blow, with more than 94 percent of votes in, Youngkin pulled out to a 3-point lead. This margin reflects major benefits for Youngkin and the Republican party across Virginia and in other states.  

In a victory address delivered early Wednesday morning, Youngkin, a 54-year-old rich first-time political candidate, and former private equity executive declared in a victory address delivered early Wednesday morning: “Together, we will change the course of this commonwealth, and friends, we will begin that transformation on day one,” Youngkin said in his victory address, echoing an urgent tone. He stated, “There is no time to waste.” 

The results will set off a tremor not only in Virginia but throughout the country’s political spectrum. Youngkin’s victory was aided by a large swing, a worrying indication for Democrats as they prepare to defend thin majorities in the House and Senate in the upcoming midterm elections. Next year, governor elections will be held in seven states where President Joe Biden won by narrower margins than Virginia.

Republicans are likewise in control of the other statewide elections. According to three networks, former state legislator Winsome Sears will be elected lieutenant governor. Sears will be the Commonwealth’s first Black woman elected to a statewide position.

State Del. Jason Miyares was leading Democratic state Attorney General Mark Herring on Wednesday morning by approximately a point. However, the race could yet go to a recount.

McAuliffe conceded the race with a congratulatory statement at around 9:45 on Wednesday morning. “While last night we came up short, I am proud that we spent this campaign fighting for the values we so deeply believe in,” he said, congratulating Youngkin and thanking his family.

Amidst the Democratic campaign with President Joe Biden and Barack Obama, they tried to tie Youngkin, who had never run for political office, to Trump, who was unpopular in Virginia’s densely populated suburbs. While Trump endorsed Youngkin, he never visited the state on his behalf, as the candidate tried to tread a fine line between retaining and energizing the former president’s most ardent supporters while avoiding spooking the large swath of suburbanites who defected in large numbers during Trump’s presidency.

In his campaign statement, Youngkin said he would ban schools from embracing critical race theory, which is a theory that examines the role of race in US society.  McAuliffe in his campaign statement, countered the motion by pointing out that critical race theory was not a disturbing part of Virginia’s education system. However, it was a whole lot of chance to accuse Youngkin of running a Dog whistle campaign.

The Public Access Project also projected that, after Democrats took over in the 2019 election, Republicans won at least six state House seats in the Virginia election, regaining control of the lower chamber. Democrats still have their narrow 21-19 majority in the state Senate, whose seats were not up for election.

The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race has attracted record turnout across the state. Over 3.2 million Virginians cast a ballot, which would make it the highest turnout ever for a Virginia gubernatorial election.