Republican Youngkin wins Virginia


Glenn Youngkin

Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected Virginia’s next governor on Wednesday, defeating former Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The outcome of the contest is a demoralizing setback for Democrats ahead of next year’s nationwide congressional elections.

U.S. media outlets CNN and NBC projected that Youngkin had won.

Youngkin, a former private equity executive who has never held elected office, sold himself as a political outsider while seeking to rally suburban voters around hot-button issues like how to handle the discussion of racism in schools and COVID-19 mask mandates in classrooms.

The 54-year-old surged in the polls in the weeks leading up to the election, closing his gap with McAuliffe by gaining ground with independents and women voters.

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Those groups proved essential to Youngkin’s victory in a Southern state that has trended Democratic in the past several years. Former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Youngkin, lost Virginia in his 2020 presidential re-election bid by 10 percentage points.

The outcome in the governor’s contest is widely seen as a barometer of the country’s political direction heading into the 2022 midterm races, which will decide control of the U.S. Congress – and with it, the future of President Joe Biden’s policy agenda.

Youngkin will succeed outgoing Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat. Under Virginia state law, governors cannot serve consecutive terms. McAuliffe, 64, served as governor from 2014 to 2018.

McAuliffe had sought to tie Youngkin to Trump at every turn. His loss may signal that Democrats cannot bank on running against the former president when he is not at the top of the ballot.

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