McAuliffe concedes as Youngkin projected to win Va. governor’s race; Republicans lead in lt. gov., attorney general races

Republican Glenn Youngkin, a former business executive and a first-time political candidate, was projected early Wednesday by The Associated Press to win the governorship of Virginia, beating Democratic former governor Terry McAuliffe in a result that seemed unlikely over the summer and could have national repercussions as the midterm elections approach.

McAuliffe on Wednesday morning conceded the race:

While last night we came up short, I am proud that we spent this campaign fighting for the values we so deeply believe in. We must protect Virginia’s great public schools and invest in our students. We must protect affordable health care coverage, raise the minimum wage faster, and expand paid leave so working families have a fighting shot. We must protect voting rights, protect a woman’s right to choose, and, above all else, we must protect our democracy. While there will be setbacks along the way, I am confident that the long term path of Virginia is toward inclusion, openness and tolerance for all.”

McAuliffe went on to congratulate Youngkin. He also thanked his family and campaign staff.

The Associated Press called the election for Youngkin at 12:39 a.m., in what looks like the preface for a Republican sweep of the three statewide offices.



“It looks like it’s going to be a historic sweep for Republicans tonight,” WTOP Capitol Hill correspondent Mitchell Miller said late Tuesday, as their candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general also have sizable leads.

Republicans hadn’t won any of these offices since 2009.

All members of the 100-seat House of Delegates are also being elected Tuesday, and several local offices in the D.C. area are also up for grabs.

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks during an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin shoots an autographed basketball into the crowd with his family at an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and his wife Suzanne kiss as they take the stage at an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and his family take the stage at an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin arrives to speak at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin takes the stage at an election-night rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pitted Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin (R) takes a photo with (L-R) Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK) during a watch party on election night at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pits Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Supporters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin wait for him to speak on election night in Chantilly, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The stage is set before Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks on election night in Chantilly, Va.,Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin and his staff watch results come in on election night at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pits Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin (2nd-L) and his wife Suzanne (L) talk to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his wife Heidi, during an election night watch party at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pits Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe gestures as he speaks at an election night party in McLean, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

MCLEAN, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks at his election night rally on November 02, 2021 in McLean, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pits McAuliffe against Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. Also pictured is current Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

MCLEAN, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks at his election night rally on November 02, 2021 in McLean, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pits McAuliffe against Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

MCLEAN, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Supporters listen as Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks at his election night rally on November 02, 2021 in McLean, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pits McAuliffe against Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe prepares to speak at an election night party in McLean, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, right, and his wife, Dorothy, wave to the crowd as he makes an appearance at an election night party in McLean, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, right, hugs his wife, Dorothy, as he makes an appearance at an election night party in McLean, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Supporters of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin wait for him to speak on election night in Chantilly, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Fairfax County, Virginia, residents line up to vote early Tuesday. (WTOP/John Domen)

A man casts his vote in Fairfax County, Virginia. (WTOP/John Domen)

Residents vote at Liberty Elementary School in South Riding. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Voters in Fairfax County. (WTOP/Kristi King)

An image of sample Virginia ballots captured on Nov. 2, 2021. (WTOP/Kristi King)

A Republican canvasser hands out sample ballots at the republican booth outside the Fairfax County Government Center polling location on election day in Fairfax, Virginia, on November 2, 2021. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A man waits to cast his ballot at George Marshall High School on election day in Falls Church, Virginia on November 2, 2021 – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Voters wait for their ballots at a school cafeteria being used as a polling location on election day in McLean, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A voter collects a sample ballot from a democratic canvasser outside a polling location on election day in McLean, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Voters wait for their ballots at George Marshall High School on election day in Falls Church, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A voter fills in her ballot as her child tries to put a snack on a table at a school cafeteria being used as a polling location on election day in McLean, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A man votes at George Marshall High School, being used as a polling location, on election day in Falls Church, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman waits to cast her ballot at George Marshall High School, being used as a polling location, on election day in Falls Church, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A man waits to cast his ballot at George Marshall High School on election day in Falls Church, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman waits to cast her ballot at George Marshall High School, being used as a polling location, on election day in Falls Church, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman gets a voting sticker after casting her ballot at George Marshall High School on election day in Falls Church, Virginia on November 2, 2021. – With the eyes of America watching, Virginians cast their ballots Tuesday as the state chooses its next governor in a margin-of-error skirmish seen as the first major test of President Joe Biden’s political brand. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin greets a voter outside of a voting location in the Rocky Run Middle School on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginia’s gubernatorial race pits Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe rallies supporters at a Canvass Kickoff event on November 02, 2021 in Falls Church, Virginia. Virginia and New Jersey hold off-year elections today in the first major elections since U.S. President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020. Virginia’s gubernatorial race pits Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Bob Wood, moves signs to another location, as voters arrive to cast the their ballots on Election Day at city hall, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021 in Alexandria, Va. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin for Governor. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Voters head to the polls at a school in Midlothian, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin for Governor. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Voters arrive to cast the their ballots on Election Day at City Hall, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021 in Alexandria, Va. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin for governor. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Voters hold their ballots as they wait in line to register their votes at a school in Midlothian, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Voters are deciding between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin for Governor. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe rallies supporters at a Canvass Kickoff event on November 02, 2021 in Falls Church, Virginia. Virginia and New Jersey hold off-year elections today in the first major elections since U.S. President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020. Virginia’s gubernatorial race pits Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

CHANTILLY, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 02: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin plays basketball near a voting location in the Rocky Run Middle School on November 02, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginia’s gubernatorial race pits Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

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The statewide races

Speaking shortly after 1 a.m., Youngkin thanked his wife, Suzanne, for “unbconditional love,” and said of his kids, “I’m not sure they were all on board at the beginning.” He then reiterated several of the key planks in his Day One program.

Youngkin promised the largest education budget in the history of Virginia, with raises for teachers and better facilities, along with giving parents more options for charter schools. (He got a swell of applause for promising “We’re going to embrace our parents, not ignore them,” an echo of McAuliffe’s infamous phrase “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”)

He also promised “the largest tax refund in the history of Virginia,” with facets including eliminating the grocery tax, suspending the latest gas tax, cutting taxes on veterans’ retirement and doubling the standard deduction.

“This stopped being a campaign long ago,” Youngkin said. “This is the spirit of Virginia coming together like never before — the spirit of Washington and Jefferson and Madison and Monroe and Patrick Henry. Of Virginians standing up and taking our Commonwealth back.”

For his part, McAuliffe at about 10:20 p.m. told supporters at his headquarters in McLean that “We’ve still got a lot of votes to count. … Every single Virginian deserves to have their vote counted.”

The suburbs and exurbs of Virginia have generally trended Democratic, and Youngkin isn’t likely to win areas such as Loudoun and Prince William counties, but he’s doing well enough to hold McAuliffe off, and “kind of wipe out the huge urban areas” where the Democrat is cleaning up, Miller said.

Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said that Youngkin did much better than expected in Loudoun and Prince William counties, where he’s at nearly 45% and 47%, respectively.

Traditionally, “it’s good to be the non-presidential-party candidate in the Virginia gubernatorial race,” Kondik said, and that’s true this year as well, as “the Democratic brand is sinking nationally.”

Youngkin, 54, spent time on the campaign trail touting his business background, while keeping Republican Party standard-bearer at arm’s length; McAuliffe sought to tie Youngkin to Trump, while touting his own record as governor from 2014 to 2018.

Kondik added that the Republican Party doesn’t seem to have been tarnished by the attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-president Donald Trump.

“People have pretty short memories, I think,” Kondik said. “It doesn’t seem like that was a big factor in this race. … That just seems to be the reality.”

Miller said Republicans “are just more energized right now” as the 2022 midterm elections approach. “There’s no question that this is going to send shock waves across the Democratic landscape.”

CBS News political analyst Leonard Steinhorn said, “If the Democrats have any good news out of this, it’s that the midterms are a year away and they have time to recover.”

He said the strong showing has indicated that “Republicans have figured out how to campaign in the post-Donald Trump age,” saying that Youngkin “figured out he could embrace Trump quietly” with a message about election integrity (a callback to Trump’s lies about the 2020 election), while distancing himself to come off as “a regular, fleece-wearing suburban dad who was a businessman, knows how to create jobs and doesn’t seem too threatening.”

Maya King of Politico told WTOP that voters, especially Black voters, were seeing “a lack of progress on President Biden’s agenda, particularly for Black voters,” on issues such as the economy, voting rights and COVID-19. “Black voters aren’t souring on Terry McAuliffe, but they are experiencing a bit of fatigue after showing up and turning out in historic numbers in 2020, but not seeing that return on investment.”

History will be made whichever way the lieutenant governor’s race breaks, as either Democratic Del. Hala Ayala or Republican former Del. Winsome Sears would be the first woman of color elected to statewide office in Virginia.

Introducing Youngkin in the predawn hours of Wednesday, Sears said, “What you are looking at is the American dream,” flanked by her family and recalling her father’s journey from Jamaica in 1963.

“It’s a historic night, but I didn’t want to make history,” Sears said; “I just wanted to leave it better than I found it.”

The attorney general’s race pits Democratic incumbent Mark Herring against Republican Del. Jason Miyares.

Herring touted his efforts on police reform and a dip in overall crime, while Miyares repeatedly brought up an increase in the commonwealth’s homicide rate.

 

The House of Delegates

The House races include some close contests in the D.C. area, and Democratic control of the chamber, currently at 55-45, could be up for grabs. You can check out the results, updated live as they come in, and get more details about the races to watch.


Live election results for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general


Getting the results

It appeared that results would come in more quickly than they had last year, since Virginia changed the law regarding the counting of absentee and mail-in ballots.

Virginia used to group all absentee, early and mail-in ballots in a city or county together, and they were processed and counted last, in a central absentee precinct. Last year, that meant a boatload of ballots were waiting until the end of the night to be processed and counted.

The General Assembly changed the law this year, so that local registrars could start processing (not counting) these ballots at least seven days before Election Day, and start counting before the polls close.


Live election results for House of Delegates races in Northern Virginia


It didn’t work out that way; multiple counties reported in-person Election Day voting first, and Fairfax County blew through their self-imposed 8 p.m. deadline for releasing the counts of mail-in ballots.

Mail-in ballots that were postmarked Tuesday can still come in by 5 p.m. Friday and still be counted. People who need to add documentation to shore up a provisional ballot have until then, as well. The results will be certified Nov. 15.

At the polls

WTOP has been covering the lines, the turnout and voters’ reactions all day. Have a look at our continuing coverage, including photos.


Related Election Coverage

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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