2021 Virginia gubernatorial election results

A red wave has just crashed into the 2021 elections. Most notably is the elections in Virginia, a state where Biden won 13 electoral votes with 54.4% of the vote in 2020, and current governor Ralph Northam (D) with 53.9% in 2017. New Jersey has lots of interesting things happening with their elections as well, where Biden won 14 electoral votes with 57.3% of the vote in 2020, and current governor Phil Murphy (D) with 56% in 2017. Republicans also had many victories in many other heavily blue areas, including the city attorney race in Seattle, the county executive race for Nassau County in New York, the district attorney races for both Nassau and Suffolk County in New York, the Texas House District 118 (located in San Antonio) race, and gained four Council seats in New York City. Residents in Minneapolis, Minnesota voted to reject a measure that would replace their police department with a “Department of Public Safety.” The elections are a portent for what may be an even bigger red wave in future elections like the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election. But why are we seeing such a shift towards Republicans in these areas that were once very blue areas without question? The answer is simple: People are fed up with the policies and the hypocrisy that they have witnessed from these Democrat politicians. A poll from Suffolk University during the November 3-5 time period shows that Biden’s approval rating is at 37.8%, and Kamala Harris’s approval rating is at 27.8%.
The key elections in Virginia that occurred were the gubernatorial, the lieutenant gubernatorial, and the attorney general races, as well as the elections for the Virginia House of Delegates. The attorney general election was narrowly won by the Republican candidate Jason Miyares, the first Cuban American Virginia House Delegate, over the Democrat incumbent Mark Herring, making Miyares the first Latino to be elected to a statewide office in Virginia. The lieutenant gubernatorial election was won by Republican candidate Winsome Sears – who was born in Jamaica, a former marine, and was the first and only Black Republican woman to be elected to the VA House of Delegates – over Democrat opponent Hala Ayala, making Sears the first African American woman to win a statewide election in Virginia. In the House of Delegates, Republicans have regained the majority and are expected to end up with 52 seats, leaving Democrats with 48 by winning 7 more seats from Democrats. The gubernatorial election was won by the Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, who is a first-time candidate, a Virginia native, and an American businessman. When Youngkin first ran, hardly anyone knew who he was, and on August 1, 2021, the FiveThirtyEight polls showed that he was behind the Democrat candidate and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe by nearly 7 percentage points. It was not until late October when the polls started to favor Youngkin over McAuliffe. Then, when the election came, Youngkin ended up winning with 50.9% of the votes over McAuliffe who received 48.4% of the votes. Youngkin managed to flip many big counties that were projected for Biden in 2020, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Stafford, and Chesterfield. Youngkin and the Republican Party were also able to improve their popularity in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, a crucial area for Virginia elections. For instance, looking at the results, Fairfax went from 69.9% Biden in 2020 to 64.7% McAuliffe in 2021, Loudoun went from 61.5% Biden to 55% McAuliffe, and Prince William went from 62.6% Biden to 57% McAuliffe, taking an average of about 5.8 percentage points from Democrats in these areas after one year. Now that Youngkin is governor-elect, he is now ready to fulfill his “Day One” promises for when he is inaugurated on January 15 of 2022. “We will reduce our cost of living. On Day One, we will declare the largest tax refund in the history of Virginia,” said Youngkin. “We’re going to eliminate the grocery tax, suspend the most recent hike in the gas tax, double everybody’s standard deduction, and we are going to cut taxes on the retirement income of our veterans.” He goes on to make many more promises like boosting jobs, businesses, and the state economy; increasing funding for law enforcement; increasing pay for teachers; promoting school choice; allowing parents to decide whether their child should wear a mask to school, and banning critical race theory. Education was probably the number one issue when it came to this race, especially in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, where critical race theory was most apparent in schools. The turning point for Youngkin and McAuliffe during the campaigning probably occurred when McAuliffe made his infamous statement “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach” during the final Virginia gubernatorial debate on September 28. Youngkin said, “We’re going to press forward with a curriculum that includes listening to parents’ input, a curriculum that allows our children to run as fast as they can, teaching them how to think, enabling their dreams to soar.”
Along with Virginia, there have been many big surprises in the even more populated and blue state of New Jersey. In the New Jersey governor’s race, the Democrat incumbent Phil Murphy ran against Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli. According to an Emerson College Poll in mid-October, Murphy led Ciattarelli 50% to 44%. Many polls before suggested that Murphy was leading Ciattarelli by double digits. But when election night came, the results ended up being much closer than the polls predicted. Ciattarelli even had the lead throughout the night of November 2 and the early morning of November 3. Murphy gradually got closer to Ciattarelli, until he was eventually able to take the lead and after about 24 hours since the start of the count, the Associated Press made the projection that Murphy won the race with 50.9% of the vote over Ciattarelli with 48.3% of the vote. New Jersey Democrats have not won reelection in the governor’s race since 1977, and this trend would be broken by Murphy if confirmed to be the winner. The projections show that Republicans did exceptionally well in southern New Jersey, where Biden won 5 out of 8 counties in 2020, and 3 of those blue counties (Atlantic, Gloucester, and Cumberland) were flipped in 2021 leaving the Democrats with just 2 of 8 counties in the region. In central New Jersey, Middlesex County, the second-most populous county in New Jersey, went from 60.4% Biden in 2020 to 55.5% Murphy in 2021, and even more impressive is in Somerset County, which went from 59.8% Biden to 50.8% Murphy. In northern New Jersey, Republicans did manage to flip at least one county, which was Morris County, however, the results in some other counties in this region are questionable, especially in New Jersey’s most populous county, Bergen County. The county, which Biden won with 57.7% of the vote, had been reported on NPR as a Ciattarelli win with 52.2% of the vote after 100% of the votes were said to be counted until things changed at 1:54 am. Then all of a sudden, at 1:54 am, the county had been given to Murphy, projecting that he won the county with 51.8% which would eventually become 52.4%. This flip caused Ciattarelli’s 42,000 vote lead in the state of New Jersey to drop to a 1,600 vote lead, which would then turn into a Murphy lead. How can the results change like that after 100% of the votes were counted? Also, in the highly Democratic Essex County where Newark is located, 56 voting machines were shut down and not counted on election night, according to Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin. As a result of these votes that were either flipped or not counted, which could make a difference in the projected results, Ciattarelli says he will not concede until every legal ballot is counted, and then make a decision on whether or not he wants a recount based on how close the race will be. An update on this is expected to occur about a week after election day. Another New Jersey election that made the news was the state Senate race for New Jersey Senate District 3. The election was between republican Edward Durr – a first-time candidate and commercial truck driver who spent just $153 on his primary campaign and $5,000 on his general election campaign, and filmed his campaign video on his iPhone – and the Democrat incumbent Steve Sweeney – a member of the New Jersey Senate since 2004 and the state Senate president since 2010, making him one of the most powerful politicians in the state. Durr, the underdog of this election, was projected to have won with 52% of the vote and Sweeney had 48% of the vote, causing one of the biggest upsets in New Jersey election history. However, the race is not officially over since Sweeney did not concede, claiming in an email to Politico that there were 12,000 ballots found in his district recently.
I think the elections in 2021 showed how terribly Democrat politicians like Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Ralph Northam, Terry McAuliffe, Phil Murphy, and others handled things especially during the pandemic and as we are recovering from the pandemic. I believe this will ultimately inspire Republican voters in other states and districts to lead their party into victory in 2022 and 2024.