Glenn Youngkin elected Governor of Virginia

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Posted at 12:38 AM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 02:22:48-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected Governor of Virginia, the Associated Press projected based on the most recent election results.

Youngkin's win represented a stark departure from where Virginia was 12 months ago when President Joe Biden, a Democrat, captured the state by 10 points.

Youngkin won a bruising campaign centered on issues including his ties to former President Donald Trump, abortion rights, and culture war battles over schools.

But voters saw the economy as the top issue, followed by the coronavirus pandemic, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of statewide voters.

Some 34% of Virginia voters ranked the economy as their No. 1 priority, compared to 17% saying COVID-19 and 14% choosing education.

Those issues outranked health care, climate change, racism and abortion in the survey.

The loss in a state that has trended toward Democrats for more than a decade has deepen the sense of alarm inside the Democratic party heading into next year’s midterm elections, when control of U.S. Congress is at stake.

VoteCast showed about half of Virginians had favorable opinions of Youngkin, compared to a 55% unfavorability rating for Trump - suggesting that the Republican gubernatorial candidate had successfully distanced himself from the former president.

Youngkin was endorsed by Trump but didn’t personally appear with him, though the party is still dominated by the former president.

Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe, by contrast, campaigned with his party's top national stars, including Biden, whose last visit to Virginia came a week before Election Day.

VoteCast found Biden underwater, with 48% of Virginia’s voters approving of his job performance compared to 52% disapproving - especially stark in a state he had won so handily.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.