At nearly 1 a.m. on Nov. 3, Republican Glenn Youngkin was called as the winner of the Virginia governor race, beating out Democrat Terry McAuliffe. At 12:44 a.m., with 96% of the votes counted, Youngkin had 50.9% (1,626,024) of the votes compared to McAuliffe’s 48.4% (1,543,948).
The Youngkin celebration started off with a prayer. Republican Winsome Sears also won her Lt. governor position and spoke at the festive gathering. She walked up to the stage with The Village People’s “Macho Man” playing. “I am at a loss of words for the first time in my life,” she said in greeting. “I’m telling you that what you are looking at is the American Dream,” she added.
“Alrighty Virginia, we won this thing!” was Youngkin’s victory greeting. “Together, together we will change the trajectory of this Commonwealth. And friends, we are going to start this transition on Day One.”
The governor race kicked off with a tweet announcing: “Fairfax county votes delayed per McAuliffe staff, won’t meet self-imposed 8PM deadline, per McAuliffe staff.” Fairfax is the largest county in Virginia with a population of 1,145,862, according to NPR. Later, officials announced they would release a partial count of the early voter in-person ballots.
The night started off with Youngkin leading. With just 16% of the votes in, he had 55.8% of the votes while McAuliffe had 43.4%. Early in the results, ElectionBetting.Odds.com had Youngkin winning the governor race with 88.6% betting in favor of the Republican challenger while only 11.4% placed their money on McAuliffe. Not much changed at the halfway mark with Youngkin ahead with 55% and McAuliffe at 43%, although the Democrat had a strong lead in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. At 76% of votes tallied, Youngkin was still ahead but was slipping a little with 53.6% to McAuliffe’s 45.8%.
With 80% of votes counted, McAuliffe aid told Fox News:
“This race is still too close to call — there is a substantial amount of early vote left to be counted, along with large numbers from places like Fairfax and Richmond & other urban areas where we have outperformed the rest of the state. We’re still monitoring what’s coming in. Only 7,000 Richmond votes have been reported so far. We are expecting 71,000+ votes overall to come in.”
Nearly 90% of the votes had been counted when McAuliffe gave a speech, saying: “We still got a lot of votes to count…we’re going to count all of the votes because every Virginian has a right to have their vote counted.”
Just two months ago, McAuliffe was expected to be handed the election in a state that President Joe Biden won by 10 points. However, that all changed these past few weeks, and the Virginia governor election became a neck-and-neck race to the finish line with Youngkin gaining much more momentum than the Democrats could have imagined.
It was not a very nice campaign either. As Fox News reported, 51% of voters said McAuliffe’s attacks on Youngkin were unfair, while 57% think the Republican candidate ran a fair campaign. According to another Fox poll, 49% of Virginia voters think Youngkin supports former President Donald Trump too much while 44% think McAuliffe supports President Biden too much. Biden and Barack Obama went on the campaign trail with McAulffie to offer their support, but Youngkin held no events with Trump.
Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Chris Piper said the election went as well as could be expected. “Today was an overwhelmingly good day for Virginia” and the election was “about as smooth as we could ask for,” according to The Virginia Mercury. Piper added that there were still 88,000 ballots that had yet to be returned but if they arrived by noon on Friday, Nov. 5, they would be counted.
It’s been 12 years since Republicans had a win in a Virginia statewide race.
There was a bit of drama in New Jersey when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the League of Women Voters sued to extend voting hours, but were denied. “We’re hearing reports of some polling locations turning away voters due to technical issues and delays,” the branch said in a statement. “Delays caused by technical issues aren’t an excuse to deny voters their right to vote.”
Virginia: Republican Winsome Sears defeats Hala Ayala in Virginia lieutenant governor’s race.
New York: Democrat Eric Adams defeated Republican Curtis Sliwa for New York mayor.
New Jersey: Republican Jack Ciattarelli was leading with 50% (1,086,700) of the vote at 1:13 a.m. against incumbent Democrat Philip Murphy who had 49.2% (1,068,991). However, there were a lot of Democrat-held counties that still needed to be counted.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.