WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — After a loss in reliably blue Virginia, divided Democrats in Washington are scrambling for answers and calling for new strategies to unstick a stalled legislative agenda before they sustain more political damage. Meanwhile, triumphant Republicans see the win as a new opportunity to make gains in the 2022 midterms.
Glenn Youngkin won the Virginia governor’s race Wednesday, becoming the first Republican to win statewide office in a dozen years.
Youngkin’s defeat of Democrat Terry McAuliffe marked a sharp turnabout in a state that has shifted to the left over the past decade and was captured by President Joe Biden last year by a 10-point margin.
Democrats are trying to figure out what is not connecting with voters. Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, blamed the loss partially on progressives in his own party for stalling President Joe Biden’s agenda.
“You guys got the White House, the Senate, the House, when are you going to get more things done?” Warner said.
Biden pushed back against the notion that the off-year election results were a repudiation of his presidency.
“I am not sure that I would have been able to have changed the number of very conservative folks that turned out,” Biden said.
Republicans say they’re learning lessons from Youngkin’s victory, too.
“Absolutely it’s a blueprint for the midterms,” said Republican Rep. Nancy Mace.
Mace, who beat an incumbent Democrat by just one point in her swing district, said that Youngkin’s strategy of distancing himself from former President Donald Trump, but not isolating Trump supporters, could work for other Republicans in 2022.
“Particularly in swing districts or even some congressional districts that are leaning Democrat today. We could have an opportunity,” said Mace.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.