Republican Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s race on a wave of Republican enthusiasm and successful outreach to moderates and independents in the state’s urban and suburban counties. It was a high turnout election and a jolt for President Joe Biden that could signal Republicans are poised to seize control of Congress in next year’s elections. The number of Republican votes grew by more than 40% compared to the 2017 gubernatorial contest but Democratic votes increased by just over 10%. Compared to the 2020 presidential contest, Youngkin won higher shares of voters than former President Donald Trump did across the state. In what could be a blueprint for next year’s congressional contests, Youngkin appealed to voters who disapproved of COVID-19 health rules and how public schools include race in their curricula while keeping Trump at arm’s length, despite receiving his endorsement.
Virginia governor’s race
How Republican Glenn Youngkin won
Results by county
Vote share for McAuliffe and Youngkin
With some votes still being counted, Youngkin flipped about 12 counties that Biden had won last year, planting Republican flags in suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Richmond as well as in counties with large Black populations - all traditional Democratic strongholds. In Stafford County, a high-income area just south of Washington, Youngkin won by 11 percentage points, a sharp reversal from Biden’s 3-point win. Youngkin also flipped several suburban areas around Richmond with large Black populations. Just south of Richmond in Hopewell City, where more than 40% of the population is Black and Biden won by 15 points, Youngkin was up by 17 votes.
Party performance compared to 2020
Youngkin outperformed Trump in every county in terms of his vote share
White, non-Hispanic population 85 percent or higher
Black population 15 percent or higher
Change in number of votes cast
Where vote totals differed from the last gubernatorial election in 2017
Change from 2017
All votes compared to 2017
Democrats failed to match Republican enthusiasm across the state. While fewer people cast votes in the governor’s race than in the 2020 presidential contest, Youngkin received more votes than Trump did in Falls Church, a city just outside Washington, D.C. Compared to the last gubernatorial election in 2017, the number of Republican votes grew about 40% in urban or suburban counties. Democrats only gained 14% more votes in the same counties. The Republican advantage was even greater in the counties where whites make up more than 85% of the population.
Results as of 5:09PM ET Wednesday, November 3, 2021; 2,727 precincts of 2,855 reporting (96%)
Virginia Department of Elections, U.S. Census Bureau
Scott Malone and Jon McClure