Former Virginia Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe on conceded Virginia’s gubernatorial election on Wednesday morning to Republican Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, hours after he had initially refused to concede to his opponent.
“While last night we came up short, I am proud that we spent this campaign fighting for the values we so deeply believe in,” McAuliffe said in a statement released on Twitter.
He continued, “Congratulations to Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin on his victory. I hope Virginians will join me in wishing the best to him and his family.”
McAuliffe refused to formally concede the race to Youngkin on election night, although the likelihood of his loss became increasingly clear. McAuliffe spoke supporters late on election night, saying that there were many votes left to be counted.
“We still got a lot of votes to count, we got about 18 percent of the vote out, so we’re gonna continue to count the votes because every single Virginian deserves to have their vote counted,” McAuliffe told supporters at Tyson’s Corner.
McAuliffe briefly danced on stage before leaving and closing the election headquarters, sending supporters home.
Youngkin defeated McAuliffe by roughly 70,000 votes (50.9 percent to 48.4 percent). Youngkin, who toured the state on a bus tour in the final weeks of the campaign, made substantial gains in suburban areas won by Joe Biden in 2020.
In Loudoun County, a large lean-left suburban area, Youngkin received 44.5 percent of the vote, an eight point increase from Donald Trump’s vote percentage from Loudoun in 2020. In Virginia Beach, Youngkin defeated McAuliffe by more than eight percentage points, an area that Joe Biden won over Trump in 2020 by more than five points.
McAuliffe, who targeted Northern Virginia in order to turnout his liberal base, grossly underperformed Joe Biden in Democrat strongholds. In Fairfax County, the most populous liberal county in the state, Joe Biden received 70 percent of the vote to Trump’s 28 percent. McAuliffe received 64.7 percent to Youngkin’s 34.8 percent.
McAuliffe performed poorly among non-white voters too. Youngkin won the Latino/Hispanic vote 54 percent to 45 percent. Among black voters, Youngkin won 13 percent to McAuliffe’s 87 percent, a low number for a Democrat.
Youngkin began to gain steam as he toured the state to meet with and listen to voters, alongside the blowback McAuliffe received after announcing during the gubernatorial debate that parents should not play a role in their child’s education, a comment that likely contributed to his election loss.
McAuliffe’s defeat in a state won handily by Joe Biden last year, alongside various Republican landslides across the country this election cycle is a negative sign for Democrats ahead of 2022, who are in danger of losing the U.S. House and Senate.