Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2022

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2022 13 corridor and Charles City County, located between Richmond and Jamestown. To examine Republican Glenn Youngkin’s statewide win visually, consider the cartogram, a special illustration that adjusts the sizes of political jurisdictions to account for the number of voters cast within them, that accompanies this column. The deep red of the rural counties showed where The Republican gained the most ground compared to the 2017 gubernatorial contest. The pinkish counties show modest gains, while the rare spots of blue show those few places where Terry McAuliffe secured a higher percentage of the vote than Ralph Northam did. Clearly the McAuliffe campaign’s Youngkin-equals-Donald Trump strategy failed to excite Democratic voters, thus ensuring that huge margins the first-time candidate received in rural areas would not be offset by losses in northern Virginia, the Richmond suburbs, and in some parts of the Hampton Roads area. The bleak Democratic results of 2021 are also revealed in a comparison with the presidential election of 2020, where Joe Biden easily captured the Commonwealth’s Electoral College votes. While off-year election turnout is always lower than that of a presidential year, the decline in the number of Democratic votes in the larger electorates of northern Virginia was much steeper than the decline in votes cast for Republicans. McAuliffe won Fairfax County, but he received 123,000 fewer votes than Biden did a year earlier. In contrast, Youngkin’s vote total in Fairfax was only 10,000 less than Trump’s. Similar trends occurred in the Richmond suburbs. Republicans picked up Chesterfield County, where McAuliffe received about 37,000 fewer votes than Biden did. But Youngkin’s vote total there only declined by 17,000 from Trump’s total count. Statewide, McAuliffe received about two-thirds the number of votes that Biden did. In contrast, Youngkin received more than 80 percent of the votes Trump received in Virginia a year earlier. This victory demonstrated the wisdom of Youngkin’s decision to campaign as a largely generic pro-business Republican – not too pro-Trump but not opposed to him either. But the Youngkin strategy may be hard to replicate in the future, as most Republicans likely to run in upcoming elections will have more of a pro-Trump record than did this successful first-term candidate. And future Democratic candidates have time to develop a more compelling response to the Critical Race Theory political messaging appeal than McAuliffe’s response. Stephen J. Farnsworth is a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, where he directs the Center for Leadership and Media Studies. Stephen P. Hanna is a professor of geography at UMW. Cassandra Atkinson is a political science major at UMW.V V What Can We Expect From The Youngkin Administration? from page 11 VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS AND SUPPLIER DIVERSITY More than 99% of Virginia’s businesses are small. We are your economic development agency, helping you grow and prosper through increased revenue and job creation. What we offer… • Virginia Small Business Financing Authority providing access to capital; • Business Development and Outreach providing education and outreach to assist small businesses with strategic growth and development; • Certifications to enhance procurement opportunities for SWaM and DBE qualified businesses. • Sourcing and Compliance Division is advancing equity and maximizing participation of SWaM certified businesses. For further information about services offered, please visit us at or call (804) 786-6585 These issues are off the table. And this is where Youngkin could encounter problems with the Republican base, many of whom unrealistically expect change in these areas. They will be disappointed, and Youngkin must figure out how to manage their expectations and their disappointment. Otherwise, they could turn on him, just like they turned on Eric Cantor, Denver Riggleman, Chris Peace and others. I have great hopes for a Youngkin administration. If Youngkin keeps his focus on the issues families and businesses care most about, and I think he will; and if he avoids the controversial issues that divide Virginians, and I think he will; he could find broad bipartisan support for a mainstream agenda that will truly move Virginia forward. Bill Bolling served as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 20062014. He now teaches government and politics at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University. He can be reached at