Youngkin held a strong lead in the Virginia governor’s race early in the night but the race was, at first, deemed too close to call.
McAuliffe, a former governor and friend of President Joe Biden, trailed Youngkin in the longtime blue state often won by Democrats, but he called on the state to keep counting the votes.
“Let’s go. Let’s count all these votes,” he said Tuesday night, per The Associated Press.
With Youngkin winning, Democrats have been dealt a major political blow. Biden won the state by 10 percentage points in the 2020 election. Now, the state has flipped in favor of a Republican governor.
Youngkin succeeded in areas where former President Donald Trump failed in the 2020 election. He won more support among both men and women, according to The Washington Post. He outpaced Trump in age groups younger than 65 and among senior voters, too.
Political pundits pointed to the Virginia governor’s race as a glimpse at what to expect in the 2022 midterms. Both the Republican and Democratic parties saw the election as an indicator of how their parties were performing nationwide.
McAuliffe, a longtime Democrat running in a longtime Democratic state, struggled to organize the Biden base to his support in the days leading up to the election, per The Associated Press.
At the same time, Youngkin watched the polls swing in his favor. He led in the most recent poll data from FiveThirtyEight, with a slight edge over McAuliffe, and seemed to draw up more attention as the election drew closer.
The victory by the Republican candidate is potentially a major clue for what’s to come in the 2022 midterm elections, as a traditionally blue state has flipped in favor of the Republican Party, signaling some displeasure of the current Democratic Party and the Biden administration’s agenda less than a year into office.