Democratic Virginia 2021 Postmortem Finds Equating Youngkin with Trump Didn’t Work; Youngkin had More Positive Image than McAuliffe

A post-election report from ALG Research and Third Way found that Democrats’ losses in Virginia in November are due to both national and Virginia-specific challenges. Key findings from a swing-voter-focused study group included lackluster national brand for Democrats, the importance of education, and the failure of the Youngkin-equals-Trump messaging, combined with Youngkin’s positive persona and proactive issues.

“We’re not saying this was a mistake, or that Terry had a better message he left on the table. We don’t know. But we do know that if our most-effective message in 2022 is that Republicans equal Trump, we’re going to get creamed,” the report states.

“[Focus-group members] liked [Youngkin], related to him, and thought he was going to do something good for them,” the report states.

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Virginia Reps. Cline and Good Cosponsor Multiple Bills Protesting Vaccine Mandates

Congressmen Ben Cline (R-Virginia-06) and Bob Good (R-Virginia-05) are protesting Democrat-led COVID-19 vaccine mandates by cosponsored multiple bills. House Republicans lack the ability to pass bills without Democratic buy-in, but that hasn’t stopped them from introducing multiple bills targeting mandates in November. Cline touted his support for the bills in a Tuesday newsletter.

“Businesses across the country are desperate for workers, and our Nation is facing a critical supply chain shortage. As grocery store shelves sit empty, and communities struggle to recover, President Biden should be doing everything possible to encourage Americans to show up to work. Instead, it is the Administration’s plan to implement a vaccine mandate that would force millions of Americans out of work,” he wrote.

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New Virginia Gov. Youngkin Announces More Transition Officials

Glenn Youngkin announced a 113-member list of legislators, law enforcement, business owners, and Republican Party of Virginia officials that will be part of his transition “landing teams” — separate from the transition steering committee he announced earlier in November. The teams will coordinate with Governor Ralph Northam’s cabinet.

“In order to change the trajectory of our great Commonwealth, our transition team is utilizing the vast experience of business owners, law enforcement officials, veterans, healthcare providers, industry experts, and—most importantly—parents to determine how government can begin to serve Virginians better and start delivering on our Day One promises of better schools, safer streets, a lower cost of living, and more jobs,” Youngkin said in a Wednesday press release.

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Governor-Elect Youngkin Dodges on Whether He Will Support the Virginia National Guard if It Resists DOD Vaccine Mandate

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has said he’s opposed to mandates, including COVID-19 vaccine mandates. However, many current vaccine mandates are federally-ordered, including a mandate for all members of the Armed Forces on active duty, or in ready reserve, including the National Guard.

Some Republican governors are testing their power to defy the order. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt appointed a new adjutant general of that state’s national guard after the previous adjutant general ignored Stitt’s request to fight the mandate. Last week, the new adjutant general said no Oklahoma Guardsmen who are not federally mobilized would have to take the vaccine.

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Virginia Governor-Elect Youngkin’s Top Campaign Promises in Education, COVID-19, Economics, Law Enforcement, and Elections Policy

Glenn Youngkin in crowd during a rally

Glenn Youngkin will be Virginia’s next governor, part of a near-complete Republican takeover of Virginia’s government. In 2022, Republicans will be governor, attorney general, and lieutenant governor. They will also likely hold a two-seat majority in the House of Delegates, although two close races may go to recounts. However, they will not hold the Senate, where Democrats have a 21-to-19 majority. Still, if one Democratic senator flips on a vote, that would create a tie that lieutenant governor-elect Winsome Sears would break. Minority Leader Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), who House Republicans nominated for Speaker, has said that Republicans do have a mandate, but he is also aware of the need to work across the aisle with the Senate.

All that gives political novice Youngkin strong Republican support to launch efforts to fulfill his campaign promises, but also sets him up for serious challenges to get his policies across the finish line. Still, Virginia governors have extensive power to set policy and funding priorities, and Youngkin will also have executive authority, which will allow him to fulfill some key promises without legislative buy-in.

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