Youngkin wins Virginia by losing less

During the Virginia election Tuesday, Democrat Terry McAuliffe garnered around 200,000 more votes than Gov. Ralph Northam did four years ago.

McAuliffe, who served as governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, earned tens of thousands of more votes in Democratic strongholds, including Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

And he still is projected to have lost to Republican Glenn Youngkin, a former business executive and a first-time political candidate. Absentee ballots are still being accepted until Nov. 5, and the election will be certified on Nov. 15.

Voter turnout was much higher during this election, compared to 2017, but however enthusiastic Democrats were to vote for McAuliffe, there was much more enthusiasm among GOP voters.

For one, even with all the votes McAuliffe garnered in Northern Virginia, Youngkin lost the region by thousands of votes less than Ed Gillespie did in 2017.

Then, in the more Republican-leaning areas, voters leaned even harder to the GOP.

In Culpeper and Spotsylvania Counties, Youngkin doubled the margin of votes Gillespie won by in 2017.

In Stafford County, the difference between the number of votes the Republican nominee garnered versus the Democratic nominee was triple what the difference was in 2017.

Even the counties that ran fairly even in 2017, voters swung heavily to Youngkin. Voters in Caroline and Chesterfield counties, for instance, were more or less even between Northam and Gillespie in 2017, but not so this year.

In Southwestern Virginia, which is very rural, Youngkin did well.

In each county, Youngkin found a way to add a few hundred votes here, or another thousand votes there. Virginia has 95 counties, and even if many of them aren’t very populated, those votes  eventually added up.

So when you combine the boost in rural voters with those in the suburbs and exurbs, a red wave just turned Virginia a lot more purple than four years ago.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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