Voters in Virginia, a state where Democrats have dominated recent state and national elections, surprised many on Tuesday (Nov. 2) by electing Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin by a narrow margin over former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who held the office from 2014-18.
Youngkin, a former private equity CEO who serves in lay leadership at his evangelical church in northern Virginia and on the boards of several Christian ministries, edged McAuliffe 50.7% to 48.6%. The race was marked by uproar after McAuliffe said in a debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
In a state already marked by controversy over parents alleging they were being ignored over a transgender bathroom policy debate in Loudon County, Virginia, that drew national headlines, McAuliffe’s statement seemed to raise alarms with enough conservative and moderate voters to swing typically blue Virginia in a more conservative direction.
GOP candidates also won historic elections for lieutenant governor and attorney general and gained an advantage in the House of Delegates. Winsome Sears, the lieutenant governor-elect, became the first black woman elected to statewide office in Virginia, and the attorney general-elect, Del. Jason Miyares, is the first Latino elected statewide.
Franklin Graham posted on Facebook after Youngkin’s victory: “Congratulations to Glenn Youngkin on winning the Virginia governor’s race! Thank you for your faith in God and for standing strong for His values. This win isn’t about Democrat or Republican—this is about people being fed up with socialism and government control at every level of life being pushed down our throats. People are sick of state-forced mandates, critical race theory, and officials trying to take away the rights of parents to be involved in their children’s education.”
According to his campaign website, Youngkin has served as a church warden at Holy Trinity Church, a congregation that describes itself as “a Christ-centered, non-denominational church with Anglican roots and a contemporary charismatic expression. We are committed to the truth and power of the Word of God, the Sovereignty of the Father, the Lordship of the Son of God, the Ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Mission of the church, and the Priesthood of all believers.”
Youngkin has also served on the boards of Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., and the Meadowkirk Retreat Center, a Christian ministry in Virginia.
Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo