Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and newcomer Glenn Youngkin campaigned for months over COVID-19 response, education, taxes and other partisan issues, and it all came down to the wire Nov. 2 to see who would succeed incumbent Gov. Ralph Northam.
McAuliffe was Virginia's governor from 2014 to 2018. Virginia law disallows governors to run for consecutive terms.
Youngkin, a former businessman, won a tight race in the wee hours Wednesday morning.
For the first time since 2009, a republican will move into the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond.
Winsome Sears (R) took the lieutenant governor's race and Jason Miyares (R) unseated incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring (D) in an unprecedented red wave through a state that has remained bright blue in recent history.
"It's a great night for the Republican Party statewide," Chatham Mayor Will Pace weighed in. "Congratulations to all the Republicans who won. If the results appear the way they are for statewide races, this is a huge referendum against Joe Biden and the Democratic Party of today and their extreme left overreach. Virginia has come together behind our three state Republican candidates."
Youngkin dominated the early vote and led by as many as 10 percent, keeping pace with the absentee ballot counts, which usually favor Democrats highly.
McAullife began to gain ground as the heavy blue districts started reporting, but as of midnight, 95 percent of the vote had been counted with Youngkin holding a slim lead. As of 12:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, 2,715 precincts out of 2,855 had reported their counts. McAullife would have needed to win 75 percent of the remaining 160,000 uncounted votes to win when major national news outlets first called the race definitively.
Danville City voted 53.37 percent for McAullife and 45.97 percent for Youngkin (6,839 votes versus 5,891 votes).
Pittsylvania County voted in heavy favor of Youngkin – 75.36 percent versus 24.28 percent (19,502 votes versus 6,283 votes).