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Democrat Terry McAuliffe concedes in Virginia governor’s race

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe Glenn Youngkin combined shot

Former governor Terry McAuliffe (D) conceded the governor's race to Glenn Youngkin on Wednesday morning.

Former governor Terry McAuliffe has conceded defeat in this year’s governor’s race and congratulated Glenn Youngkin on his victory, according to a statement issued by the campaign Wednesday morning. 

“While last night we came up short, I am proud that we spent this campaign fighting for the values we so deeply believe in. We must protect Virginia’s great public schools and invest in our students. We must protect affordable healthcare coverage, raise the minimum wage faster, and expand paid leave so working families have a fight shot,” McAuliffe said. 

We must protect voting rights, protect a woman’s right to choose, and above all, we must protect our democracy. While there will be setbacks along the way, I am confident that the long-term path of Virginia is toward inclusion, openness and tolerance for all,” McAuliffe added. 

McAuliffe, 64, served as Virginia governor from 2014 to 2018. He ran a campaign centered on progressive issues, such as increasing the minimum wage, funding clean energy, criminal justice reform and raising teacher salaries above the national average.

Glenn Youngkin will be the next governor of Virginia and Winsome Sears will be the next lieutenant governor. The race for attorney general between Del. Jason Miyares (R) and Attorney General Mark Herring (D) remained too close to call as of Wednesday morning.  

Republicans will have a 52-48 majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Youngkin, 54, will be the first Republican to serve as Virginia governor since former governor Bob McDonnell was elected in 2009. Sears will be the first woman of color to serve in the state's second-highest elected post. 

Unofficial results showed Youngkin leading McAuliffe by more than 70,000 and Sears leading Democratic nominee Del. Hala Ayala (51st) by 59,000 votes as of Wednesday morning. 

Youngkin grew up in Richmond and Virginia Beach and now lives in Great Falls in Fairfax County. He spent 25 years working at the Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm and served as co-CEO of the firm from 2018 until his retirement in September 2020. 

Youngkin ran a campaign focused on lowering taxes for Virginians, boosting pay for public school teachers, adding more police officers in schools, adding 20 new charter schools in Virginia and banning “Critical Race Theory” in public schools, although it is not currently taught in Virginia schools. 

Sears, 57, of Winchester, is an immigrant from Jamaica who became the first Black woman Republican elected to the House of Delegates. She served there from 2002 to 2004 and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2004. She is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. 

Sears campaigned on increasing teacher pay, school choice and raising pay for Virginia law enforcement. She served as chairperson of Black Americans to Re-Elect President Trump.

Youngkin and Sears will take office in January 2022.

The Virginia House of Delegates will be controlled by a 52-48 Republican majority beginning next year. Democrats currently hold the House by a 55-45 margin. Republicans flipped seats six seats from blue to red, including three seats in Hampton Roads, two in Southside Virginia, one in southwest Virginia and another in the Fredericksburg-area. 

The Virginia state Senate still has a 21-19 Democratic majority until 2023, when those districts are up for re-election. 

Republicans appear to have won by getting huge turnout in rural areas of central, west and southwest Virginia, as well as in some suburban areas in Hampton Roads and the Richmond metro. The unofficial voter turnout for the election is 3.3 million, shattering all previous records for a governor’s race.

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