Setback for Joe Biden as GOP wins Virginia gubernatorial polls

Setback for Joe Biden as GOP wins Virginia gubernatorial polls

 

 

Republican Glenn Youngkin beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor in the Democratic-leaning Virginia state on Wednesday.

 

It’s a major setback for US President Joe Biden as this was the first electoral battle fought by the Democratic party; under his leadership.

 

In other elections on Tuesday, Aftab Pureval; an Indian-American became the first Asian-American mayor of Cincinnati; Eric Adams, a former police officer, was elected the second African-American mayor of New York City; and Michelle Wu became the first woman and Asian-American mayor of Boston, Youngkin’s victory in Virginia, although by a slim margin; also presented the Republican party a way forward; on how to deal with former president Donald Trump who remains popular in the party but whose divisive politics and legacy had driven away scores of moderate Republicans.

 

Youngkin won Trump’s endorsement and his base but kept him away from campaign and did not mention him even once in his victory speech; as ex-president desperately sought credit for it in multiple statements.

 

The other key race – for New Jersey governor – remains too close to be called.

 

Incumbent Democratic governor Phil Murphy is locked in a close contest with his Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.

 

A loss here will be the second for the Democratic party on Biden’s watch.

 

Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races have traditionally been seen as the first test for a US president as they take place in the first year of their presidency and usually point the way to the mid-term and presidential elections.

 

Virginia specially, as acknowledged by Vice-President Kamala Harris.

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“What happens in Virginia will in large part determine what happens in 2022, 2024, and on;” Harris said at an election rally in support of McAuliffe in Virginia last week.

 

She was referring to the mid-term Congressional elections in 2022; when Republicans are hoping to wrest control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the presidential election in 2024.

 

“This is a horrible result for Democrats, and for the White House;” noted Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a political blog from the University of Virginia.

 

“If Biden’s approval rating is in the low-to-mid 40s next year, as it is now; everything we know about political trends and history suggests that the Democrats’ tiny majorities in the House and Senate are at major risk of becoming minorities.”

 

President Biden campaigned for both McAuliffe and Murphy; but his own waning popularity – at 42% approval rating – may have not brought them much electoral benefit.

 

From high approval ratings for his handling of the Covid-19 epidemic and vaccination; which were both mishandled by Trump, and economic recovery; Biden has seen his popularity dipping, triggered largely by the botched handling of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

 

His ambitious legislative agenda of a massive investment in infrastructure overhaul and expansion of social benefits and climate change measures have become stuck; in an internal party fight between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic party; casting serious doubts on its ability and willingness to govern.

 

 

Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia was part of the Republican’s party’s clean sweep of the top statewide posts up for grabs – the Lt Governor and Attorney General; both won by Republicans; who also flipped the House of Delegates (their Vidhan Sabha).

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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