Most state elections rarely catch the attention of the nation, but the governor’s race in Virginia was watched closely by many Americans. Most considered it a bellwether election. Democrat heavyweights including President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris had campaigned heavily for Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor poised to take a second term. He had previously governed Virginia from 2014 to 2018.
Around 1 AM on November 2, Youngkin took to the podium, where he proclaimed, “All right Virginia! We won this thing!” Reporters stated that Youngkin’s headquarters was still packed as his supporters were prepared to wait long into the night for election results.
Youngkin’s campaign began garnering national attention about a month ago. Amid the controversy surrounding the Loudoun County School Board and angry parents, a debate between Youngkin and McAuliffe was held. During the proceedings, McAuliffe was asked if parents should have input on the curriculum presented in schools. McAuliffe said he believed parents had no place in schools, a comment which served to energize Youngkin’s campaign and put a nail in the proverbial coffin of McAuliffe’s campaign.
Virginia has been in national news lately due to a number of issues. Loudoun County is the epicenter of the controversy. Many parents are upset about the idea that Critical Race Theory is being taught in the school district, but perhaps the most egregious issue is the alleged covering up of a sexual assault of a student. When the National Association of School Boards sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for the assistance of the FBI, parents were outraged as they were labeled as “domestic terrorists” for simply caring about their children’s education.
The Virginia election became a bellwether election for a number of reasons. Citizens across the country are upset by the treatment of parents in Virginia, particularly since the federal government seemed poised to investigate suburban moms and dads who dared to speak up at local school board meetings. McAuliffe’s comment at the debate made him appear aloof and out of touch with constituents, and it was the death knell for his gubernatorial run.
Conservatives across the nation began pulling for Youngkin, as they saw in him a candidate for the people. Youngkin’s campaign was initially “kitchen-table” issues, taxes, education, jobs. McAuliffe repeatedly tried to tie Youngkin to Donald Trump, but this tactic did little for the Democrat’s plight.
National political pundits are tying to the McAuliffe loss to President Biden’s dismal approval ratings and his inability as of yet to get the Build Back Better agenda passed through Congress. Historically, Virginia’s state elections are a great predictor of how national elections will go, especially mid-terms. Biden’s approval ratings have dropped tremendously since July, with the latest polls showing only 42% of the nation support Biden. 51% disapprove, and the rest “don’t know.”
However, a recent poll of likely voters show that over 70 percent of Americans do not approve of the way the country is going.
Youngkin has promised to cut the state taxes for Virginia citizens, and he promotes school choice. Both of these are conservative platforms that do tend to garner support, but perhaps it is the positive nature of Youngkin’s campaign that helped win him support among lifelong Democratic voters in the purple state of Virginia. Regardless, the Youngkin win is one that speaks for people across the United States – most Americans still value personal excellence, autonomy, and a limited role of government in their daily lives.
While Youngkin’s campaign was the most prolific, Lt. Governor-elect Winsome Sears made history by being the first African-American woman to be elected to the position in the history of Virginia. Sears is a former Marine. Although the race for Virginia Attorney General has not yet been made official, Republican Jason Miyares is predicted to win. He will make history also; he will be the first Hispanic elected to that office.
Another noteworthy race is the New Jersey governor’s race, which was tied at press time.