Republicans predict win in Virginia’s governor election

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Republicans predict win in Virginia's governor election

Republicans are feeling momentum in the Virginia governor’s race Tuesday, with Sen. Ted Cruz saying he sees parallels to 2009, and GOP pollster Frank Luntz predicting that Glenn Youngkin will defeat Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the commonwealth’s closely followed gubernatorial race.

Calling Virginia “a very important canary in a coal mine,” Cruz (R-Texas) said he sees the same outcome for Republicans as happened in the first election after Barack Obama became president in 2008.

“If you if you look back to 2009,​ ​the last time you had a new Democratic President Barack Obama who had adopted extreme policies that adopted Obamacare … Virginia was the first canary in the coal mine that foretold what happened in 2010, which was the Republican revolution, where we retook Congress​. ​T​hat was incredibly important​,” Cruz said Tuesday on Fox News.

The senator said the same dynamic is at play now. ​

“Joe Biden last year campaigned as a centrist moderate. He basically promised no more mean tweets, but other than that, he was just going to go back to calm ​… and that is not what we’ve seen this year. Instead, Biden has handed control of the agenda over to the radicals​,​ over to Bernie Sanders​, ​and ​AOC​,​ Elizabeth Warren, and I think people are horrified. I think Virginia is an aspect of​ that,” he said, referring to ​Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Republican politicians and pollsters are predicting a victory for gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin in Virginia.
Republican politicians and pollsters are predicting a victory for gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin in Virginia.
EPA/SHAWN THEW

In the November 2009 Virginia election, voters chose Republican Bob McDonnell over Democrat Creigh Deeds by a 17 percentage point margin, part of a sweep that put GOP candidates in the top spots of state government, including lieutenant governor and attorney general.  

Luntz said Youngkin, who has been gaining momentum and rising in the polls in the days leading up to Tuesday’s election, will emerge as the winner.

“There’s about an 80% chance that the Republican nominee beats Terry McAuliffe,” Luntz said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “The Democrat is the incumbent and it looks like the incumbent is going to lose.”

Democrat Ralph Northam is Virginia’s governor, but he can’t run for reelection because governor’s can’t serve more than one term in a row. 

McAuliffe, 64, served as governor from 2014 to 1018. 

GOP pollster Frank Luntz predicted that there is an 80 percent chance Youngkin wins the election.
GOP pollster Frank Luntz (pictured) predicted that there is an 80 percent chance Youngkin wins the election.
Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Virginia race, along with the contest in New Jersey between Gov. Phil Murphy and Republican Jack Ciattarelli, is drawing gobs of attention for off-year races because of the implications they will have for the 2022 midterms when Democrats will try to hold onto their slim majorities in the House and Senate. 

Biden won in Virginia last year by 10 percentage points, but many polls show McAuliffe and Youngkin deadlocked and several have Youngkin slightly ahead. 

“There have been four times when the party that’s been on the outs has won the House from the incumbents, four times in the last 50 years,” Luntz said. “Every one of those four times, 100 percent Virginia has predicted the outcome, which is why everybody’s watching it so closely.”

Early polls gave McAuliffe an advantage in the race, but Youngkin began turning the corner as Biden’s favorability began dropping as he struggled with his Build Back Better agenda in Congress and the global supply chain backup has been a drag on the economy and is causing prices to rise.

Youngkin has surged ahead of Terry McAuliffe in some polls ahead of the election.
Youngkin has surged ahead of Terry McAuliffe in some polls ahead of the election.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Youngkin led McAuliffe by 47 percent to 45 percent in a Fox 5/Insider Advantage poll released on the eve of Tuesday’s election, and a Fox News survey from last Thursday showed him up by eight percentage points – 53 percent to 45 percent.

Biden’s legislative agenda has stalled because of opposition from moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Simema of Arizona. 

They oppose many of the policies in the president’s $1.75 trillion social spending plan and how it will be paid for. 

On Monday, Manchin accused progressive Democrats in the House of holding a bipartisan infrastructure bill “hostage” by demanding the Senate pass Biden’s spending package before they will vote on a bipartisan infrastructure plan the Senate already passed. 

Sen. Ted Cruz said this Virginia election reminds him of the 2009 election following President Barack Obama's first year in office.
Sen. Ted Cruz said this Virginia election reminds him of the 2009 election following President Barack Obama’s first year in office.
Tasos Katopodis/Pool via REUTERS

Cruz said Manchin and Sinema are showing “real courage” and wondered when the other 48 Democratic senators will stand up to the progressive wing of the party. 

“But I will say one of the real indictments is what about the other 48 Democrats. Apparently other than those two, there’s not another Democrat in the Senate who cares about whether or not we pass the Bernie Sanders socialist budget,” Cruz said during his interview on Fox News. 

“This is the most dramatic government spending government tax increase we’ve ever seen. And 48 Democrats are on board with Bernie Sanders socialist budget,” he said. 

The Texas Republican said the Democratic agenda is turning off voters in Virginia. 

“I think what we’re seeing in Virginia is there are a bunch of suburban moms that are saying ‘Hold on a second, open borders, and abolishing the police, and teaching our kids racism, and dividing us on race. That’s not what I signed up for,’” he said. 

“And I think when the Democrats embrace an extreme agenda, I believe that 2022 is going to be an election like 2010, that it’s going to be a wave election, that Republicans are going to retake both the House and Senate and they’re going to do it because Joe Biden is handed the agenda over to the crazies in his party,” Cruz said. 

Youngkin, 54, was optimistic about his chances when he arrived at Rocky Run Middle School in Chantilly, Va., to cast his vote Tuesday. 

“We feel pretty darn good, I have to say. I’ve just felt this great surge of momentum for the last six to eight weeks,” he told CNN.

The Republican said the issues he has highlighted during the campaign – namely, parents’ right to have a say in their children’s education – have struck a chord with voters. 

“These kitchen table issues of low taxes and the best schools and the best jobs and safe communities – this is what people are worried about,” he said.

Both candidates crisscrossed Virginia on the eve of their elections to make last-minute pitches to voters.

Youngkin playing basketball after voting at Rocky Run Middle Schoo in Chantilly, Virginia on November 2, 2021.
Youngkin plays basketball after voting at Rocky Run Middle Schoo in Chantilly, Virginia on November 2, 2021.
Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Youngkin told his supporters that “the future of this commonwealth, the future of this country is going to be decided.”

McAuliffe also said the stakes are huge, because of what a Republican win would mean for Democrats in 2022 and 2024.

He said his opponent “doesn’t know anything about governance.”

For an indication of how red-hot the race in Virginia has become, ​more than 1.1 million early ballots were submitted, representing nearly a fifth of the commonwealth’s 5.9 million voters

The majority of them were cast by Democratic voters, according to stats from data firm TargetSmart.​

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