Republicans’ routing of Democrats in Virginia and their strong showing in New Jersey on Tuesday night may signal a GOP takeover of Congress next year.
In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin knocked off Democrat Terry McAuliffe for governor, upsetting the former governor of Virginia who was an early favorite to retake the office. Youngkin’s victory was joined by Republican Winsome Sears, who defeated Democrat Hala Ayala for lieutenant governor, and Republican Jason Miyares, who upset incumbent Democrat Mark Herring for attorney general.
In New Jersey, GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli is running neck-and-neck with Democratic Governor Phil Murphy. The close race is a surprise in itself even if Ciattarelli eventually loses as the final ballots are counted. With about 88% of the vote on Wednesday morning, Ciattarelli led Murphy by just over 1,000 votes.
“Needless to say, tonight’s results are consistent w/ a political environment in which Republicans would comfortably take back both the House and Senate in 2022,” tweeted Dave Wasserman, the Cook Political Report’s House editor.
Needless to say, tonight's results are consistent w/ a political environment in which Republicans would comfortably take back both the House and Senate in 2022.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 3, 2021
Republicans began implementing their strategy to retake Congress almost immediately after Tuesday’s elections. The House Republican Study Committee began circulating a memo detailing how the GOP can build off the momentum of Virginia and New Jersey heading into the 2022 midterm elections. The memo said in part:
There are four lessons learned from Glenn Youngkin’s victory in Virginia:
First, the concerns of parents need to be a tier 1 policy issue for Republicans: Youngkin’s success reveals that Republicans can and must become the party of parents. There is real energy from parents that we need to understand. The good news is RSC has been working for months to build out an agenda in education that will fight for and empower parents. This will include needed oversight of the Biden administration. …
Second, we need to end the mandates. In a Washington Post Op-ed Youngkin wrote, “Most important, we will never lock down our economy again.” And it’s not just business restrictions. Youngkin opposes vaccine mandates and mask mandates in public schools. We’ve been doing this at the federal level already: Claudia Tenney and I introduced a bill to prevent OSHA from instating its unconstitutional vaccine mandate.
Third, we must continue to back the blue. Youngkin pledged to increase funding for police departments and protect “Qualified Immunity for our Law Enforcement Heroes,” which House Democrats tried to end through their police reform bill. Crime, and particularly homicides, have spiked in Virginia and in every other state. In July, a USA Today poll found that crime, ahead of everything else, was the number one issue Americans were most concerned about.
Fourth, we must continue to focus on the failures of the Biden economy. Youngkin focused on providing relief to runaway inflation caused by the Biden economy and on not locking down the economy again. Our early focus on runaway inflation and the growing supply chain crisis is hitting home with voters. We need to keep hammering away and work on bringing solutions to the table to address their concerns. In 2020, Biden won Virginia by 10 points and the year before Democrats took over both chambers of Virginia’s statehouse.