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Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin speaks during his election night party at a hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, U.S., November 3, 2021.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Big Republican win, shock Dem loss in Virginia

GOP wins Virginia gubernatorial race. In a stunning upset, Republican Glenn Youngkin won Virginia's highly-anticipated governor's race. Youngkin beat Democrat former Gov. Terry McAuliffe by two points, a wider-than-expected margin. The result — in a purple state that President Joe Biden bagged by a comfortable 10 percent a year ago — is very bad news for Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterms. Biden didn't get the boost he was hoping for to turn the tide on his poor approval rating and his domestic political agenda, stalled by deep divisions within the party over two landmark infrastructure and social spending bills. What's more, McAuliffe underperformed with suburban voters and independents — crucial to Biden's 2020 victory and whom Democrats must woo to keep control of Congress a year from now. Republicans now gain momentum because winning back suburbanites and independents who hate Donald Trump improves their (already good) odds for the midterms. More broadly, the outcome in Virginia also shows the GOP a new electoral college pathway to win the presidential race in 2024... as long as Trump himself isn't on the ballot.

Campaign signs for Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin stand together on the last day of early voting in the Virginia gubernatorial election in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., October 30, 2021

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

What We're Watching: Virginia gov election a test for Biden

A nail-biter in Virginia. The campaign for the 2022 US midterm elections officially kicks off Tuesday, when Virginia votes to elect a new governor in a race widely seen as a temperature check on Joe Biden's popularity after 10 months. Democrats hope that former Gov. Terry McAuliffe wins back his old job so that the purple state does not slide into Republican hands ahead of presidential elections in 2024. But GOP challenger Glenn Youngkin, a millionaire businessman supported by Donald Trump, has caught up in the polls once led comfortably by McAuliffe in a campaign marked by education culture wars. Now both are in a dead heat, and the result will likely be very close. A Youngkin victory would be a big boost for Republicans, who'll gain momentum going into the midterms next year, where the Dems face long odds of keeping control of both houses of Congress. What's more, it would add pressure on Biden to mediate between the moderate and progressive wings of his party to pass a social spending bill, the hallmark of his policy agenda. With his own approval rate plummeting, the president needs a big win that Democrats can sell to voters a year from now.

Virginia’s Governor Race Tests Democrats Ahead of 2022 Midterms | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Virginia’s governor race tests Democrats ahead of 2022 midterms

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

Why should all eyes be on the Virginia suburbs?

I'm here in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Arlington, Virginia, where the state will be having a gubernatorial election on November 2nd. The Virginia governor election is held in the year after the US presidential election typically, and is generally seen as a bellwether for how popular the incumbent president of the United States is. In 2009, the Republican candidate won by a commanding 16 points despite the fact that Virginia has been trending more and more Democratic in recent years due to the population growth here in the suburbs, which tend to be more blue than rural areas of the state.

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