Tuesday marks a seminal Election Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. After two years of holding the majority in the General Assembly and 12 years of dominating at the statewide level, Democrats may, may have met their match with Republicans Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares.
Now, victory will come down to the number, effectiveness and turnout of the supporters on both sides.
With that in mind, it’s important to understand whats at stake in the Old Dominion on Nov. 2. Here’s everything you need to know about the statewide Republican candidates and ballot measures millions will soon be voting on!
The former co-CEO of Carlyle Group, a global investment firm, Glenn Youngkin has turned what was arguably a competitive gubernatorial election into a certified nail-biter in a blue-leaning state. The result could portend a crimson tsunami in 2022.
Youngkin initially focused on McAuliffe’s baggage as a Clinton confidant and the nation’s anemic economic growth. However, his campaign has capitalized on the debate surrounding parental rights in school fights after McAuliffe all but said he trusted school boards more than Virginia’s parents.
The changing dynamic has galvanized Youngkin’s base and won over many independent voters. Should he win, Glenn has a “Day One Game Plan” to fix Virginia’s problems. These include “ridding political agendas” from school boards, “banning Critical Race Theory” initiatives, and “keeping schools open safely five days a week.”
Youngkin’s proposals come as the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows a 3% public school enrollment drop nationwide. That isn’t a record but it’s close. The only steeper decline came in 1943, when a large number of “young men” left high school early to fight in WWII. Experts predict it will take two to five years for last year’s decline to fully recover. Meanwhile, in Virginia things are even worse.
Enrollment in Fairfax County Public Schools fell from 189,010 before the pandemic to 175,614 earlier this year. Meanwhile, the district’s budget ballooned by $400 million over the same period. The numbers were similar in the state’s second and third largest school districts. Add on top of that far-left proposals promoted by school administrators, a terribly handled sexual assault scandal in the Loundoun County Public Schools division and McAuliffe’s anti-parent screed and you have a recipe for a potentially massive upset.
Winsome Sears can tell Hillary Clinton a thing or two about shattering glass ceilings. In 2001, Sears made history by winning an election in a majority-black district. She was the first Republican to do so since Reconstruction.
Sears immigrated to the United States from Jamaica and later served three years in the United States Marine Corps. While Terry McAuliffe has lied about his intent to repeal right-to-work, Sears has emphasized her commitment to protecting Virginia’s right-to-work law. Like Youngkin, Sears is also determined to lower the cost-of-living increases that have impacted the state. Among other proposals, the GOP ticket wants to eliminate Virginia’s 2.5% tax on groceries and suspend recent gas tax increases for the next year.
Sears is also well-versed on advancing conservative views on education from her tenure on Virginia’s Board of Education.
The son of Cuban immigrants, Jason Miyares’ parents instilled the virtues of patriotism in him at an early age. Before running as attorney general, Miyares became the first Cuban-American to win election to the Virginia House of Delegates. As a former assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Virginia Beach, Miyares can tout his prosecutorial bona fides. That experience has become increasingly salient as Virginia’s homicide rates rise.
Virginia’s most populous county, Fairfax, is grappling with a police staffing shortage and unsustainable attrition rates. Even worse, Fairfax County’s 2021 murder tally has already surpassed 2020’s numbers.
As FXX Now reports:
During a public safety committee with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (Oct. 26), officials said understaffing and retention are impacting the entire public safety sector, including the Fire and Rescue Department, 9/11 call centers, and the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office.
“The FCPD is experiencing an unparalleled level of staffing shortages within its workforce,” FCPD Capt. Rachel Levy said, adding that the issue could become “an insurmountable task” for the agency to overcome if left unaddressed.
Recent reports link the nationwide murder spike to the “Defund the Police” movement and anti-cop rhetoric promulgated by Democrats.
Miyares promises to rein in Virginia’s out-of-control state parole board which released 35 convicted murders at the start of the pandemic without letting their victim’s families weigh in as is required by law.
Local Ballot Measures
There are two particularly noteworthy local ballot measures. Firstly, voters in Richmond will have the opportunity to decide whether or not construction will commence on ONE Casino + Resort.
Supporters say that the $600 million facility will breathe new life into Richmond’s Southside, including plenty of good paying jobs. They add that its success will boost the wider local economy. Opponents contend that casinos tend to overpromise outside of Las Vegas and most spending will come from local residents from lower-income households.
Meanwhile, voters in Virginia Beach (the state’s largest city) can vote “yes” or “no” on a Flood Mitigation Bond Referendum. If the referendum passes, it will allow the City of Virginia Beach to allocate $567.5 million to flood mitigation projects. The vote ultimately comes to down to whether Virginia Beach residents are willing to have projects to minimize the risk of flooding completed faster in exchange for higher real estate taxes.
How do you think Republicans will do in Tuesday’s elections? Will you be doing anything to help the GOP ticket get-out-the-vote? Tell us below and help spread the word on social media!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard.