All eyes are on Tuesday’s Virginia gubernatorial race between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin, where the GOP candidate is poised to defeat McAuliffe for Virginia governor, notching what would be the first statewide victory for a Republican there since 2009 and dealing a major blow to the national Democratic Party.
Youngkin, a career private equity executive running his first campaign, has opened up a major lead over McAuliffe. The Associated Press has not called the race, but Youngkin appears to have bested Donald Trump’s margins in enough Democratic and suburban counties to be headed for victory, CNN reports.
Additionally, vote tallies in the races for lieutenant governor and state attorney general suggest a GOP sweep for all three offices.
Youngkin branded himself early in the race as a moderate outsider and targeted swing voters with ads that focused on tax cuts. In the closing stages of the campaign, however, he joined his Republican allies leaned in the conservative culture war, staking the campaign on false claims that Democrats had helped spread the teaching of “critical race theory” throughout Virginia public schools and peddling some of Donald Trump’s favorite lies about voter fraud.
In the end, the effort to embrace the issues that would drive up turnout among conservatives while still pitching himself as something else to voters in the middle appeared to have worked.