Republicans have not won a state election in Virginia since 2009. This reflects the changing demographics of the state as well as the party’s tendency in recent years to nominate candidates who encourage divisive social issues rather than appealing to suburban voters about priorities at the kitchen table.
The knocking Mr. Northam gave his Republican rival in 2017 was both a rejection of Mr. Trump and a catalyst to push Virginia, a once purple state, further out of Republican orbit. Mr Trump lost Virginia 10 percentage points in November.
Still, Republicans believe they have a better chance of winning nationwide this year than ever in the last decade after the Democrats, who took full control of Richmond in 2020, passed a comprehensive liberal gun restriction bill and the minimum wage and had raised other problems.
Mr. Youngkin, 54, grew up in Virginia Beach and has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years. Not only did he defeat Snyder, a tech entrepreneur, but he also overtook state senator Amanda Chase, who was censored in a non-partisan vote in the state general assembly for calling the rioters “patriots” in the Capitol on January 6.
Supporters of Ms. Chase accused Snyder partisans in the State party of refusing the “dismantled assembly” of a primary and technical Saturday in order to compromise their chances. Ms. Chase had said that if he became the nominee, she would run as an independent person. There is no indication that she intends to do so if Mr. Youngkin heads the party’s ticket, which also includes candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Many GOP insiders breathed a sigh of relief that Ms. Chase hadn’t won the governor’s nomination. They believed that given that Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular in Virginia, their candidacy for the general election would likely go up in flames.
Mr. Youngkin’s appeal to Republicans was at least twofold: it is a political blank slate with no record in the elected Democratic office of the attack. And his personal fortune – reportedly more than $ 200 million after he retired as co-managing director of the Carlyle Group – will allow him to financially compete against Mr. McAuliffe, a prolific fundraiser. According to the Virginia Access Project, Mr. McAuliffe raised $ 36 million for his 2013 election and over $ 9.9 million in the past two years. Mr. Youngkin has already spent $ 5.5 million of his own money since entering the race in late January.