Republicans’ Nov. 2 victory came as a message to President Joe Biden and the Democrat Party as they pulled off upsets and a string of victories in a rare odd-year election that saw massive turnout.
The big victory for the GOP came in the Commonwealth of Virginia — a state Biden won by 10 points this past November — where Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin defeated former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe in the first statewide victory for the GOP since 2009.
“This is our Virginia to build together, and we’re going to get work from day one,” Youngkin said to his supporters early Wednesday morning once the race was called.
Youngkin ran heavily on the idea of allowing parents to make decisions in their children’s education and Critical Race Theory.
McAuliffe spent most of the campaign trying to associate Youngkin with former President Donald Trump, including calling Youngkin “Glenn Trumpkin” over Twitter.
Republicans also claimed victory in Virginia’s lieutenant governor’s race, attorney general’s race and reclaimed control of the Virginia House of Delegates after losing the chamber in 2019.
Winsome Sears became the first black lieutenant governor in Virginia history, and Jason Miyares became the first Latino attorney general in Virginia history.
Republicans did take losses. In New Jersey, former Republican assemblyman Jack Ciatterelli narrowly lost to incumbent governor Phil Murphy by about 80,000 votes.
Ciatterelli’s performance, along with a strong performance from Republicans in a state that Biden carried by 16 points in 2020, came as a massive wake-up call for the Democrats in a race they were expected to win by eight points.
“If you’re a Democrat and President Biden won your seat by 16 points, you’re in a competitive race next year,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said after the elections.
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One of the biggest Republican wins in the state of New Jersey occurred in the State Senate, where truck driver Edward Durr, who only spent $153 during his campaign, defeated Senate President Steve Sweeney.
Republicans also made significant gains across the country in county and school board races, while Democrats saw victories in a few key mayoral races. In New York City, Democrat Eric Adams won with little difficulty in the battle for mayor, and Michelle Wu won the mayoral election in Boston, becoming the first Asian-American mayor in the city’s history.
“People are obviously upset and uncertain,” President Biden said the day after the election. “What I do know is, though, that people want us to get things done, and that’s why I’m continuing to push very hard for the Democratic Party to move along and pass my Infrastructure Bill and my Build Back Better Bill.”
Regardless, Democrats are saying the Republican victory is a wake-up call going forward into the 2022 midterms, where pundits are already projecting a massive Republican victory.