Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race on Tuesday night, in a contest closely watched across the nation and seen by many as an important preview of the 2022 midterm elections and a rebuke of the policies put forward by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
“Alrighty, Virginia, we won this thing,” Youngkin said in the wee hours of Wednesday morning in a victory speech to supporters.
He also said, “Together, we will change the trajectory of this Commonwealth.”
During the campaign, Youngkin stood up strongly for parents across the state on the education of their children—particularly after McAuliffe, during a September campaign debate, said bluntly from the stage, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
That clumsy comment earned the Democrat the ire and dismay of devoted parents across the Commonwealth. Yet McAuliffe doubled down afterward, even saying during a recent “Meet the Press” interview, “Everybody clapped when I said it.”
McAuliffe had been viewed as a strong favorite in Virginia, a state that Biden carried comfortably last year in the presidential election.
But contrary to McAuliffe’s earlier comment, a Fox News poll on Oct. 15, 2021 indicated that a majority of Virginia parents—57 percent—said they should be able to tell schools what to teach their children, especially “amid the ongoing national controversy surrounding critical race theory being injected into curricula and parents across the country pushing back” on that, as The New York Post reported.
Youngkin, a former private equity CEO and a first-time political candidate, ran what many are calling a disciplined campaign that should serve as a model for other Republicans. He focused on education, taxes, and crime—adhering to local issues most strongly on the minds of voters.
He “made major gains among suburban voters,” Fox News reported. Youngkin told supporters on Election Day in Chantilly, Va., “I’ve just felt this great surge of momentum for the last six to eight weeks.”
Youngkin pledged, “We’re going to embrace our parents, not ignore them. We’re going to press forward with a curriculum that includes listening to parents, as well as a curriculum that allows our children to run as fast as they can, teaching them how to think, enabling their dreams to soar. Friends, we are going to reestablish excellence in our schools.”
As even CNN pointed out about the campaign, “McAuliffe labored against the exhaustion of Democratic voters, a more energized Republican base, and Biden’s waning popularity.”
Meanwhile, Winsome Sears, the conservative GOP candidate who ran for Virginia’s lieutenant governor position, is set to become the first woman of color to serve in the second-highest elected office in Virginia.
She told her supporters last night, “I am at a loss for words for the first time in my life.”
Sears also said, “I’m here because of you … because you voted for me. Because you put your trust in me.”
She said as well, “I’m telling you that what you are looking at is the American dream. The American dream.”
Winsome is a former Marine who emigrated to the U.S. as a child from Jamaica.
Her father had come here earlier, in August of 1963, with just $1.75 in his pocket, she told supporters. He came here for jobs and opportunity, she said.
In the attorney general’s race, Jason Miyares, also a Republican, is projected as the likely winner, with 95 percent of poll results reported as of roughly 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in the closely watched New Jersey’s governor race, the two candidates—GOP businessman Jack Ciattarelli and incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy—are neck-and-neck as of this morning, with results too close to call, though Ciatterelli holds a slight lead.
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—By CNJ Staff