Republican Glenn Youngkin’s win in the Virginia governor’s race is “a portent of things to come in 2022!” says GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who chairs the Senate GOP’s re-election campaign.
Republicans Can Win!
Youngkin, a first-time contender from the Republican Party’s corporate wing, recently defeated previous Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe in a state race with global ramifications.
The race in Virginia, a former swing state, is considered a vital indicator ahead of the 2022 midterms. Conservatives want to retake control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, where liberals hold razor-thin majorities.
Conservatives see Youngkin’s concentration on tapping into families’ outrage over school board choices as a model for how to run races in next year’s elections. Last week, Scott, a former two-term Florida governor, told Fox News “the education issue is going to be a huge issue in ’22.”
Heidi & I, getting ready to celebrate with @GlennYoungkin & Suzanne.
Looks like a HUGE victory tonight, for Virginia and for the entire country. pic.twitter.com/U3Yc3CosVU
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 3, 2021
Youngkin, in his speech today, emphasized his full court press on education. “Instead of ignoring our families, we’re starting to embrace them. We’re going to keep working on a curriculum that provides parental input.”
Historically, public education was a major topic in governor elections across the nation. However, after a year and a half of anger (with closing schools and mask demands owing to the coronavirus disease outbreak), conservatives now see schooling and parental rights as a winning strategy.
This is designed to try and reconquer working-class voters who fled the GOP during Trump’s presidency. Republicans pounced on an unintentional blunder by McAuliffe during the second and final discussion between the candidates.
During this, the former Democrat governor remarked, “I don’t think parents should be dictating how institutions should educate students.” Youngkin invested more than $4 million on schooling television commercials, with the large bulk of them focusing on McAuliffe’s mistake.
This enabled Youngkin to make significant inroads among middle-class voters, who propelled the Democrats’ blue tsunami in the 2018 House election and President Biden’s triumph over President Trump in the White House race last year.
Democrats’ Lead Gets Smaller Every Day
McAuliffe took Loudoun District by 11 points, an area Biden carried by 25 points one year earlier.
Youngkin also outperformed Trump in Northern Virginia’s Fairfax & Prince William districts, the Henrico & Chesterfield districts around Richmond, as well as the Hampton Roads districts in the state’s southeastern corner.
Take a look at 2017 results vs 2021 results in Loudoun County. That's why @GlennYoungkin is leading. He is shifting suburban voters just enough… pic.twitter.com/A3gZVAgqrl
— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) November 3, 2021
Youngkin also targeted intersectionality to galvanize Trump’s supporters and other conservative voters, though not to the same extent.
In some of the state’s most red counties, Youngkin outperformed McAuliffe by larger proportions than Trump outperformed Biden last year. However, it’s Youngkin’s success in suburbia that has Republicans excited about the November elections.
“There’s sort of a triple whammy forming when it relates to schooling,” said Wes Anderson, a senior Republican strategist and researcher who performs surveys for the Republican National Senatorial Committee (NRSC).