GOP dominates in Virginia, stunning Democrats


(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin arrives to speak at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Colin Moorhead II, Staff Reporter

Former chair of the Democratic National Committee and former governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, lost the race for Virginia governor last Tuesday night to Glenn Youngkin, a former CEO with zero political experience. The race was a close call for Republicans, with Youngkin winning only 50.6% of the vote, beating McAuliffe, who earned 48.6% of the vote. Issues over education and Biden’s sinking poll numbers may be the root of the Democratic defeat in the state. 

Virginia is often considered a blue state due to the state’s recent support for Democratic candidates for both president and statewide offices. President Biden beat former President Trump by 10 points in the 2020 election. This recent gubernatorial race offers a read on the nation’s stance regarding politics after a year of the Biden administration

In addition to the Governor race, Republicans also won the races for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, as well as the state House. This shift could be a sign for the 2022 midterm elections and 2024 presidential elections. Typically, the party in power loses seats in midterm elections. With a state as blue as Virginia electing a Republican to the governor’s office, a Republican landslide victory in 2022 is possible. In addition, with low approval ratings, President Biden could face significant backlash in the 2024 election if he decides to run again. The future of political support can be completely impacted by this election. Cultural fights over COVID-19 and education have influenced the support for political parties and candidates. 

According to Colin Swearingen, professor of political science at John Carroll, “the Youngkin campaign peaked at the right time. If the election was a month later or earlier, he could have lost and that is completely possible.” This is evident through the increase in support for Youngkin in recent weeks. He continued by saying, “history has demonstrated that, by and large, moderation…ideologically within your political party tends to help candidates in elections.” When asked about Trump’s presence in the election and his influence, Swearingen explained that “Trump’s endorsement does help, and generally does help, but it is not universal…it comes down to how much Trump wants to insert himself into the race.” This election will provide a framework for Republicans in future elections. Whether or not Trump campaigns or endorses a candidate, his presence is still felt in American politics.