Republican Glenn Youngkin wins Virginia gubernatorial race: US media | Choice news

A Republican candidate has been elected governor of Virginia in a setback for Democrats ahead of next year’s nationwide congressional election, according to U.S. television networks.

US media CNN and NBC predicted early Wednesday that Glenn Youngkin had won the gubernatorial race.

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

The 54-year-old rose in the polls in the weeks leading up to the election, closing his gap to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe by gaining ground with independent and female voters.

These groups proved crucial to Youngkin’s victory in a southern state that has had a democratic tendency for the past many years. Former President Donald Trump, who supported Youngkin, lost Virginia in his 2020 re-election bid by 10 percentage points.

When the race was called around noon. 12.45 local time, Youngkin spoke to jubilant supporters in a hotel ballroom in Chantilly, about 40 miles west of Washington DC.

“Together we will change the course of this Commonwealth,” he declared.

The result of the gubernatorial competition is widely seen as a barometer of the country’s political direction heading into the 2022 midterm races, which will determine control of the US Congress – and with it the future of President Joe Biden’s political agenda.

Supporters of the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, celebrate as they see the results come on television during an election night party at a hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, USA, on November 2, 2021 [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Youngkin will succeed the outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat. Under state law in Virginia, 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 can not count on running against the former president when he is not at the top of the ballot.

Cultural wars

The competition between Youngkin and McAuliffe focused heavily on political culture wars.

Youngkin declared himself an advocate for parents who want to influence school curricula, a message designed to appeal specifically to suburban voters for whom education is an important issue.

He leaned into the Republican Party’s expression of outrage over the discussion of systemic racism in schools. He promised to ban the teaching of “critical race theory,” a legal framework that examines how racism shapes U.S. laws and policies, ignoring the fact that Virginia schools do not teach the subject.

Youngkin’s agenda was also centered on issues Republicans expect to drive turnout in 2022, such as public safety, electoral integrity and freedom from the COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates.

Youngkin received sharp criticism from Democrats when he initially hesitated to condemn Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him, false allegations that have continued to upset his supporters and led to a mob of Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

Youngkin later said Biden had won legally, but then called for a revision of Virginia’s voting machines, a move that prompted Democrats to accuse him of validating Trump’s election conspiracy theories.

In a series of statements, Trump took credit for Youngkins’ leadership, thanking his “base” and adding, “Without you, he would not have come close to winning.”

The race is one of the numerous contests facing U.S. voters on Tuesday as they battle the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice and rising consumer prices.

In the second gubernatorial race in New Jersey, Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli, a former state legislator, led the much-favored Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, but some Democratic strongholds were still innumerable.

Dozens of major U.S. cities also elected mayors, including Atlanta, Minneapolis, Boston, Miami, Cincinnati, Detroit and Seattle.

In New York, Brooklyn City President and former police captain Eric Adams, a Democrat, will become the city’s second black mayor after easily beating Republican Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels civilian street patrol.

One and a half years after George Floyd, a black man, was assassinated by a white police officer, Minneapolis voters rejected a ballot that would have replaced the police department with a new public security agency.

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