(UnitedVoice.com) – It wasn’t long ago that Virginia was a classic Southern state Republicans could rely on election after election. However, over the last fifteen years, Democrats swarmed the suburbs of Washington, DC, and turned the once reliably red state deep purple, perhaps even closer to blue. However, the political atmosphere may be changing as Republicans look to regear and take back the governorship and other state-held offices in 2022. In turn, that could impact congressional races as well.
What’s driving the GOP’s hopes in Virginia? There are several factors. Enthusiasm among Republicans is off the chart. This cycle’s candidates are highly diverse but also conservative. Several Democratic candidates are fighting against their previous bad personal behavior. Finally, there’s the impact of COVID-19 and the Democrat-led lockdowns. Here’s the real question: Is Virginia an isolated story, or are other purple states lining up behind it?
What’s Driving GOP Hopefuls in Virginia?
As all the stars align, Virginia Democrats, who’ve spent nearly a decade in power, may be scared of what they are seeing from their opponents. In any election, one of the strongest indicators of a candidate’s viability is enthusiasm. Right now, it’s clearly with Virginia Republicans. On May 8, the Virginia GOP held its state endorsing committee to select their candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.
In an average year, 5,000 Republicans typically register to participate as voting delegates. This year, 53,000 Republicans signed up to make their voices known. According to Virginia GOP Chairman Rich Anderson, it very well could be the largest state party endorsing convention in US history.
Delegates have a lot to be excited about this year, and there are a number of reasons for their enthusiasm. For one, don’t discount the impact of COVID-19 on the minds of voters who are tired of the lockdowns that hurt the economy and their personal livelihoods. Will they forget what happened for nearly a year and a half? While that may be a strong driver, there’s more to it than that, and it all starts and ends with the candidates themselves.
Republicans chose a diverse and transformational ticket. Their choice for governor is a successful businessman. The candidate for lieutenant governor hails from Jamaica and is the only black woman to ever serve in the Virginia statehouse. The candidate for attorney general is a Hispanic former prosecutor and current member of the House of Delegates.
Democrats Could Blunder Trump’s Impact
Democrats may underestimate former President Donald Trump’s impact on the race. While the Democrats try to tie Trump to the three Republicans, they’re embracing him. The race could come down to a contrast of Trump’s successful economic policies prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and Biden’s far-left move to radicalize America while spending trillions of dollars and driving up the cost of living for everyday Americans.
In addition, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is likely to be the Democratic candidate for governor. He’s well known but has a lot of baggage, and he will be tied to President Biden. The other Democratic candidates are not well known.
What About Other States?
Virginia is the first state for the GOP to test its message and strength ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. It could provide some insights into other battleground states as the GOP positions itself to take back both chambers of Congress, governorships, and perhaps another statehouse. If the Virginia GOP overperforms in November, it could be a sign of things to come nationally in 2022.
Pennsylvania is a purple state that will be up for governor, congressional, and senate races during the congressional midterm elections. Like Virginia, it’s expected to be hotly contested as Republicans gear up to take back the governorship and protect a Senate seat. How will Georgia vote after the 2020 election? Other states to watch in coming elections include Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Virginia may be the sneak peek.
This could be a fascinating off-season election year.
Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst
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