Republicans capture Virginia gubernatorial post, inflicting setback on Biden

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FAIRFAX, Virginia, Nov. 3 (Reuters) – Republicans won Virginia’s gubernatorial election and were on hand in New Jersey on Wednesday, a warning that Democrats under President Joe Biden are in trouble with the approach of next year’s congressional elections.

Glenn Youngkin, a former private equity executive who has jumped in the polls in the last few weeks of the Virginia campaign, beat former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, according to CNN and NBC. Youngkin declared the victory in a speech to enthusiastic supporters, while McAuliffe did not publicly concede.

Never having held an elected office, Youngkin sold himself as a political underdog while seeking to rally suburban voters around burning issues such as how to handle the discussion of racism in schools and mask mandates. COVID-19.

In the tighter-than-expected race for New Jersey governors, Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli and incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy were stranded in a virtual draw, even though registered Democratic voters more than one million than Republicans. Democrats clung to hope as more votes were to be counted in their fiefdoms.

The results in two states that Biden easily won last year over Donald Trump represent a disastrous sign for Democrats as they approach the midterms of 2022, who will decide control of the US Congress – and with him, the US. future of Biden’s political program.

Polls leading up to election day showed Youngkin closed the gap with McAuliffe by appealing to independent voters – a group alienated in 2020 by Trump’s political style but more drawn to Youngkin’s sympathetic manner – despite McAuliffe’s attempts to tie Youngkin to the former president.

“Comparing him to President Trump really didn’t resonate with me,” said Jacob McMinn, program director at a defense contractor, after voting Republican in Fairfax, just outside Washington.

White voters, who preferred Biden over Trump by one point in 2020, preferred Youngkin 57% to 43% over McAuliffe, according to NBC exit polls.

Trump sought to claim credit for Youngkin’s victory.

“I want to thank my BASE for coming out strong and voting for Glenn Youngkin. Without you he wouldn’t have been close to winning,” he said in one of the three statements on Tuesday’s race.

Youngkin, speaking in Chantilly, Va., Early Wednesday, called his victory a “defining moment.”

“Together we will change the course of this Commonwealth,” he told the cheering crowd. “And friends, we’re going to start this transformation on day one.”

Virginia Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin speaks at his election night at a hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, United States, November 3, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

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

Republican candidates for lieutenant governor and state attorney general were also leading their races in Virginia, while Democrats waged a bitter struggle to retain control of the state House of Delegates after several Republican victories. The state Senate, controlled by Democrats, did not get a vote.

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Murphy, 64, was seeking to become the first Democratic governor to be re-elected in New Jersey in four decades.

He oversaw a shift to the left, including new taxes on millionaires, tougher gun rules, a higher minimum wage, and paid sick leave. He also defended his robust approach to the coronavirus pandemic, including making masks mandatory in schools.

Ciattarelli, 59, a former state lawmaker, has focused much of his campaign on high state taxes, while accusing Murphy, a wealthy former Goldman Sachs executive, of being out of touch.

Elsewhere, Brooklyn Borough President and former Police Captain Eric Adams, a Democrat, ensured he would become New York’s second black mayor after easily defeating Republican Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Street Patrol. civil guardian angels. Read more

A year and a half after George Floyd, a black man, was murdered by a white policeman, voters in Minneapolis rejected a voting measure that would have replaced the police department with a new public safety agency.

The Virginia run offered a glimpse of what might be in store during next year’s election. Culture wars have dominated the campaign, with Youngkin vowing to give parents more control over how public schools handle race, gender and COVID-19 protocols, and McAuliffe vowing to protect access to abortion and voting rights.

Youngkin struck a careful balance when it came to Trump, accepting the former president’s endorsement but avoiding mentioning him frequently during the election campaign. The strategy could offer a roadmap for Republicans trying to woo suburban moderates next year. Read more

Youngkin looked at expressions of outrage from the Republican Party at the discussion of systemic racism in schools. He has vowed to ban the teaching of “critical race theory,” a legal framework that examines how racism shapes US laws and policies, while ignoring the fact that Virginia school officials say that the subject is not taught in classrooms.

He drew sharp criticism from Democrats when he initially hesitated to denounce Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him, false claims that have continued to annoy him. Trump supporters and led a crowd of them to attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Youngkin later said Biden won legitimately, but then called for an audit of Virginia’s voting machines, which prompted Democrats to accuse him of validating Trump’s electoral conspiracy theories.

Reporting by Joseph Ax, Gabriella Borter, Jason Lange and Andy Sullivan; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Scott Malone, Colleen Jenkins, Peter Cooney and Alison Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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