2021 Election Results: GOP celebrates Youngkin’s win in Virginia

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Republicans in Washington exulted in Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race Tuesday over former Governor Terry McAuliffe and the surprisingly close race in New Jersey, which CBS News projected late Wednesday as a win for incumbent Governor Phil Murphy.

“Today is a wakeup call for Washington Democrats,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday, “to abandon the partisanship, extremist agenda of Washington-based programs that cost trillions of dollars and that nobody even wants.” He went on to predict bigger losses for Democrats in the midterms next year.

“It’ll be more than 70 Democrats that will be competitive,” McCarthy said of the House races next year. “There’s many that are going to lose their races, based on walking off a cliff — from Nancy Pelosi pushing them.”

Youngkin‘s victory over Terry McAuliffe came in a state President Biden won by 10 points in 2020.

In New Jersey, a state Mr. Biden won by 16 points, there were still a number of Democratic counties that had not reported their results by late Tuesday night, and Murphy had not yet locked down what was expected to be a relatively easy win over Republican Jack Ciattarelli.

McAuliffe campaigned on national issues, on abortion and voting rights, while Youngkin zeroed in on local issues, hitting McAuliffe hard on education and the economy.

Youngkin said in his victory speech that Virginians had arrived at a “defining moment.”

“Together, together, we will change the trajectory of this commonwealth,” he said. “And friends, we are going to start that transformation on day one. There is no time to waste. Our kids can’t wait, we work in real-people time, not government time. So on day one, we’re going to work. We’re going to restore excellence in our schools.”

McAuliffe conceded defeat to Youngkin on Wednesday morning, but vowed he will “never stop fighting to make our Commonwealth stronger and brighter for all.”

“Congratulations to Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin on his victory. I hope Virginians will join me in wishing the best to him and his family,” McAuliffe said in a statement.

Exit polls indicated that just over half of voters said parents should have “a lot” of say in what is taught in their child’s school. In the final weeks of the campaign, Youngkin capitalized on McAuliffe’s response during a debate on whether parents should be able to opt their children out of reading certain books if they disapprove of the content.

“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” McAuliffe said. Youngkin quoted McAuliffe repeatedly on the campaign trail and in ads. It resonated with Youngkin’s supporters — 8 in 10 think they should have “a lot” of say in their children’s schooling. Only a quarter of McAuliffe voters agreed. Pre-election polls found this issue energized many Republicans. Slightly more Youngkin voters selected education as their top issue, compared to McAuliffe backers.

Democrats could at least count victories in heavily blue New York City and Boston, although a Democrat had been guaranteed to win in Boston since both candidates on the ballot were Democrats. The Associated Press projected Michelle Wu won in Boston, making her the first Asian American and the first woman to lead the city. In New York City, Democrat Eric Adams gave a heartfelt victory speech, proclaiming “I am you” as he said “I want you to believe again. Let’s bring this city back.”

In Minneapolis, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have dismantled the police department and created a new Department of Public Safety. In the city’s mayoral race, embattled incumbent Jacob Frey led in the first round of ranked-choice voting, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office.

In Buffalo, incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, who lost the Democratic primary to democratic socialist India Walton, ran a write-in campaign against Walton. A poll last week by CBS Buffalo affiliate WIVB had Brown leading by 17 points, and he appeared to be leading by 10,000 votes as of Tuesday night, according to WIVB.

Clare Hymes, Adam Brewster and Aaron Navarro contributed reporting.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks to supporters during a rally in Chesterfield, Virginia, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.

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