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Virginia, New Jersey Governor Races, Battles Across America Set Tone 10 Months into Biden Era

Americans in several states across the country – particularly in Virginia and New Jersey – vote Tuesday in the biggest election since last year’s presidential election and before the upcoming midterm congressional elections in November 2022. Voters in Virginia and New Jersey are voting on who they want to be their next governors, as well as on several important down-ticket offices.

Virginia’s gubernatorial race has gotten very competitive in the final weeks, as Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin has surged in polling, riding a focus on cultural issues like standing up for parents in battles with school boards and educators. Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s former governor who is seeking a comeback as the state term limits governors to just one consecutive term, aims to keep the governor’s mansion in the Old Dominion in Democrat hands. McAuliffe handed the job off to outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam, another Democrat who has been plagued throughout his time as governor with scandals, particularly after old yearbook photos emerged of him in racist garb. While Northam originally claimed he was one of the two people in the picture – in Ku Klux Klan robes or in blackface – without specifying, he later claimed he was not either. Nonetheless, Northam held onto his job and weathered the scandal. Tuesday, voters will answer the question of whether McAuliffe can hang on for the Democrats and win back his old job or if the people of Virginia are ready to swing the pendulum back the other way after 12 years since the last GOP win statewide in the state.

Down-ticket, voters will also elect a new Lieutenant Governor and a new Attorney General in Virginia, and the majority control of the state House of Delegates is up for grabs as well.

Voters in New Jersey also will decide on whether Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy will get a second term or if Republican Jack Ciattarelli will unseat him. While polls did tighten a bit in the final weeks, Murphy is viewed as in a stronger position than McAuliffe down in Virginia.

In Ohio, a special election will again test former President Donald Trump’s strength in the rust belt as voters will elect a successor to former Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) in the 15th district. Democrats have been creeping in quietly here behind their candidate Allison Russo – President Joe Biden endorsed her in the final days – but this district has been reliably Republican. It remains to be seen if the last-second sneak attack from Democrats can flip this seat or if the GOP will hang on.

Elsewhere in America, interesting mayor’s races, ballot referenda, local elections, and more could prove particularloto y newsworthy as voters decide the fate of many major issues in Tuesday elections ahead of next year’s midterms.

Follow along here for live updates as America votes in the first regularly scheduled election since Biden took over the White House and for news and analysis about the results and trends and takeaways.

UPDATE 1:28 a.m. ET:

Here is a photo of a defeated Democrat President Joe Biden disembarking Air Force One upon his return from Europe amid crushing blows from American voters to his party:

UPDATE 1:24 a.m. ET

Now, Republicans have also been projected to retake a majority in the Virginia House of Delegates–a further embarrassment for Biden and the Democrats, whose deep losses in Tuesday’s elections keep getting worse.

Late-breaking votes pouring in in Chesterfield County seems to have pushed the GOP into the majority, another crushing blow to the Democrat Party:

So Republicans swept all three statewide races in the Old Dominion state, and now they have taken the House of Delegates in the state legislature as well.

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UPDATE 1:19 a.m. ET

With Youngkin still giving his victory speech, Democrat President Joe Biden–whose agenda and party have been rejected heavily by voters coast to coast on Tuesday night–touched back down at Joint Base Andrews after a several day trip in Europe for a meeting with Pope Francis and a climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. Biden did not give any comments or remarks after American voters defenestrated his party at the polls on Tuesday. It remains to be seen what happens next for the president and his agenda–which is clogged in a congested Congress.

UPDATE 1:16 a.m. ET

GOP Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin took the stage before supporters at his election night victory party to Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky, a staple song from his campaign rallies.

“My fellow Virginians, we stand here this morning at this defining moment–a defining moment that yes started with two people on a walk and is a defining moment that is now millions of Virginians walking together,” Youngkin said…. “Together, we will change the trajectory of this Commonwealth. Friends, we are going to start that transformation on day one. There is no time to waste. Our kids can’t wait. We work in real people time, not government time. On day one, we’re going to work. We’re going to restore excellence in our schools.”

Youngkin laid out a series of education reforms he intends to implement across the board from the outset, including school choice. “We’re going to press forward with a curriculum that includes parents’ input,” Youngkin said, referring to his opponents Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s serious gaffe undercutting parents. “We are going reestablish excellence in our schools. We are fighting for parents and teachers and students in our schools.”

McAuliffe also pledge tax cuts, and regulation rollbacks to help veterans–and pledged public safety measures as well.

“On day one, we’re going to jumpstart our jobs and reinvigorate this economy,” Youngkin said.

“Virginia will be open for business,” he added. “It’s time for Virginia to be the place where everyone wants to live not leave.”

“We will not be a Commonwealth of low expectations, we will be a Commonwealth of high expectations,” Youngkin said, noting that his campaign has become a “movement” and that the “spirit of Virginia has come together like never before” also naming several of the Founding Fathers from Virginia like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

UPDATE 1:04 a.m. ET

Suzanne Youngkin, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s wife, spoke to the crowd to introduce her husband. During her remarks, the next First Lady of Virginia laid out the story of when her husband told her he intended to run for governor–and what kind of man he is and leader he will be.

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UPDATE 12:59 a.m. ET

Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears, the first black woman ever elected statewide in Virginia–and a Republican–spoke to supporters at Youngkin headquarters on Wednesday night to celebrate her victory.
“I’m at a loss for words at the first time in my life,” she said.

“I’m here because of you,” she said…. “That’s the only reason I’m here.”
Sears, a rising GOP star, earned huge cheers from the crowd. “I’m telling you what you are looking at is the American dream,” she said after introducing her husband.

Sears told the story of her father moving from Jamaica at the “height of the Civil Rights movement” to the United States to pursue the American dream. “Then he came and got me when I was six years old,” she said, noting when she got to the U.S. “I landed in a new world.”

Sears, who along with her husband served in the U.S. Marine Corps, noted she signed up when she was still a Jamaican and not even an American citizen yet. “I was willing to die for this country,” she said.

Sears also bashed leftists for race-baiting, noting that the United States has come a long way since the Civil Rights movement despite what Democrats would have the public believe. “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m black and I’ve been black all my life,” she said.

Sears focused as well on education in her speech. “Education will lift us all out of poverty,” she said, noting that solid educational opportunities will “create generational wealth.”

“It’s a historic night but I didn’t run to make history–I just wanted to leave it better than I found it,” Sears said…. “Hold on, Virginia, help is on the way–the cavalry has arrived.”

UPDATE 12:48 a.m. ET

Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s whereabouts are unknown, and it is unclear if he will accept defeat and concede the race now that it has been confirmed by all major networks he lost the election for governor in Virginia. He did previously say he would accept the results of the election, but he also has hired Marc Elias–a Democrat attorney known for election law battles–in recent weeks. So it remains to be seen if McAuliffe will concede or challenge the results of the election.

Youngkin is expected to speak momentarily to celebrate his victory.

UPDATE 12:40 a.m. ET

Fox News has finally, after literally everyone else, called the Virginia governor’s race for GOP Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin. The embarrassing amount of time Fox News took to call the race all night cuts further into the network’s credibility issues after its problems in the 2020 presidential election as well. But the cable channel finally joined NBC, ABC, CNN, and even Politico–which called it before Fox News–in calling the race.

UPDATE 12:38 a.m. ET

Republican Jack Ciattarelli is giving remarks in Bridgewater Township in New Jersey projecting far more confidence he will be the eventual winner than Murphy had moments earlier. The New Jersey governor race, he says, will take time over the next “week or so” but is confident he will be able to “certify this win” soon.

UPDATE 12:32 a.m. ET

Democrat incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey finally spoke long after midnight, while he still trails Republican Jack Ciattarelli in results with north of 75 percent reporting. In his remarks, he did not declare victory or concede defeat, but did project much more confidence than his Democrat counterpart Terry McAuliffe down in Virginia did earlier in the evening.

UPDATE 12:30 a.m. ET

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CNN, ABC News and NBC News have finally projected that Republican Glenn Youngkin will win the Virginia governor’s race.

Fox News, embarrassingly, still has not called the race for Youngkin.

UPDATE 12:04 a.m. ET:

Democrats’ woes are spreading everywhere in America, as even in Seattle a Republican is surprisingly strong in a local race:

UPDATE 12:02 a.m. ET:

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, per exit polling, seems to have won Hispanic voters by a large margin:

UPDATE 11:38 p.m. ET:

Boston elects Democrat Michelle Wu as its new mayor:

UPDATE 11:29 p.m. ET:

New Jersey’s governor’s race continues to be close, and Republican Jack Ciattarelli’s lead continues to hold with more and more reporting:

UPDATE 11:27 p.m. ET:

Democrat Eric Adams has won the mayor’s race in New York City, and Republican Curtis Sliwa conceded the race and pledged his support to the incoming Adams administration.

UPDATE 11:19 p.m. ET:

This red wave nationwide is freaking out Democrats, especially those close to President Joe Biden. The New York Times’s Blake Hounshell reports that voices around Biden warning him to avoid the left are only going to get louder.

UPDATE 11:14 p.m. ET:

Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report projects that the Democrats will lose their majority in the Virginia House of Delegates as well. Republicans might not, however, do better than a 50-50 tie with the Democrats, which could gridlock the chamber:

Breaking: pending late-arriving mail ballots, provisionals & possible recounts, Republicans pick up five seats in the Virginia House of Delegates for a 50D-50R tie. There is no tie-breaking provision for control of the chamber. #VAHOD

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 3, 2021

UPDATE 11:01 p.m. ET:

Despite the fact that McAuliffe refuses to concede his election loss at this stage, nobody is left at his election night “party” according to Fox News. Before she went off the air, Laura Ingraham showed images of a completely emptied out ballroom in Virginia for the former Democrat governor.

UPDATE 10:59 p.m. ET:

Things are getting “tense” at Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy’s New Jersey headquarters:

Story cited here.

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