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Virginia Governor’s Race Begins to Heat Up

Erik Sofranko

Posted on August 11, 2021 02:36

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Polls show a tight race for the Virginia Governor election in November between Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe and Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin.

Current U.S. Governor map based on political party control
Current U.S. Governor map

Since the early 2000s, Virginia has experienced a significant political shift to the left. The most recent Republican presidential nominee to win Virginia was George W. Bush in 2004. Bob McDonnell was the last Republican to win the governorship in Virginia when he was elected in 2009. Since then, no Republican has won a statewide election in Virginia.

Terry McAuliffe served as governor following McDonnell before being succeeded by incumbent Governor Ralph Northam.

The Virginia constitution prohibits governors from serving consecutive terms, which is why McAuliffe had to wait four years to run for re-election. He is facing a formidable opponent, Glenn Youngkin, who has been polling much stronger than recent Republican candidates in Virginia. Youngkin has distanced himself from former President Trump during this campaign, and this strategy has been paying off so far.

For Youngkin to win the governorship, he must perform much better than Republicans in recent elections in northern Virginia near Washington D.C. The counties of Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William are crucial for winning statewide elections in Virginia. These three counties in particular have shifted to the left since the early 2000s, which has resulted in the the statewide shift. Former Governor McDonnell carried all three counties in his 2009 landslide victory, but Youngkin just needs to tighten the margins in these counties as compared to Republican Ed Gillespie’s loss to Democrat Ralph Northam in 2017.

 The McAuliffe campaign sees the data that shows a tight race for this November, so it has been attempting to tie Glenn Youngkin to Donald Trump, who is unpopular with Virginia voters. Youngkin has received Trump’s endorsement but has decided not to campaign publicly with the former president.

Youngkin’s campaign has focused on getting the economy back on track by reinvesting Virginia’s budget surplus back to the taxpayers and small businesses to help get more Virginians back to work. He has 30 years of business experience and believes government bureaucracy is not the solution to getting the economy back to pre-pandemic levels.

McAuliffe has not had an effective rebuttal to Youngkin’s proposal for a free market recovery approach as opposed to additional pandemic mandates that harm small businesses and economic activity. However, if McAuliffe is not re-elected this November, it would be characterized as an upset loss and be a clear signal of what could be around the corner in 2022.

With President Biden’s approval rating declining in all major polls, early indications show that the 2022 midterm elections may once again prove history correct with the party in the White House taking significant losses nationwide. The Virginia governor’s race may foreshadow the scale of the losses for the Democratic Party in 2022.

The economic recovery will remain the center focus for Virginians heading into the election. The U.S. is still about eight million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate is heading in the right direction, but hyperinflation is another key economic indicator to watch in the months ahead. 

Erik Sofranko

Posted on August 11, 2021 02:36

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Source: Daily Mail

Glenn Youngkin, one of seven Republicans hoping to challenge the Democrat in November's election for governor, lashed out...

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