In a surging red wave, Republican gubernatorial candidates Glenn Youngkin defeated his Democratic opponent on Tuesday night in the Virginia gubernatorial race.
This result could foreshadow similar trends in the 2022 midterm elections, where Democrats will have majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate on the line. The Democrats currently have a 220-212 lead in the House and a 50-50, with independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King caucusing as Democrats.
Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe by 2.7% of the vote, according to CNN. Polls from FiveThirtyEight indicated that the race between Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, who previously served a term as Virginia’s governor, and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin would be close. McAulliffe was seen as favorite throughout most of the campaign, but a late push by Youngkin gave him momentum heading into Election Day.
McAuliffe was criticized for working overly hard to associate Youngkin with former President Donald Trump, who has adamantly expressed his support for Youngkin. Youngkin focused on pro-business and pro-police policies in his campaign rallies, which proved to be a successful tactic.
“Where Democrats went pretty wrong in this campaign is focusing too much on Trump and not issues that are important to Virginia right now, such as education, coronavirus[and] the economy,” said Lorenzo Aguirre, sophomore and USC GOP Director of Finance.
Youngkin placed an emphasis on education in his campaign, pledging to ban critical race theory from schools, place a police officer in each school and build 20 new charter schools. Additionally, in an attempt to attract more businesses, Youngkin wants to lower taxes on small businesses and drive down the cost of living in Virginia.
Bringing out big-name Democrats such as President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama wasn’t enough for McAuliffe. This could be a reflection of Joe Biden’s performance thus far, as an NBC poll revealed that 54% of Americans disapprove of Biden.
While Youngkin never invited Trump to campaign with him and avoided mentioning him in any of his speeches, Trump gave him a resounding endorsement via his spokesperson Liz Harrington’s Twitter account.
“[Youngkin] has had my Complete and Total Endorsement for many months,” Trump said.