by AISHAH WAHEDI
Following Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory on Nov. 2, UMW students and faculty weighed in on the election results.
For the governor’s race, Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe 50.9 percent to 48.4 percent. Republican Winsome Sears won the lieutenant governor’s race over Democrat Hala Ayala 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent, and Republican Jason Miyares won the attorney general’s race over Democrat Mark Herring 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent.
Youngkin is the first Republican to win statewide office since 2009 in Virginia.
“Together, we will change the trajectory of this commonwealth,” Youngkin said. “And friends, we are going to start that transformation on day one. There is no time to waste.”
Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science and international affairs, weighed in on the candidates’ campaigns.
“Youngkin was a very effective first-term candidate,” he said. “He was able to capitalize McAuliffe’s education misstep during the debate.”
According to an article from The Hill, McAuliffe said in a debate on Sept. 29, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” With critical race theory being such a controversial topic, this comment hurt McAuliffe’s campaign.
“McAuliffe should have moved more quickly to respond to his debate misstep,” said Farnsworth. “His talk about Republican plans to ban books was an effective response, but it was a late response.”
Farnsworth also said that McAuliffe should have noted his own successes throughout his time as Virginia’s governor.
“McAuliffe also should have said more about how Democratic policies have delivered, both during his term and Northam’s,” he said. “Voters need a reason to vote for someone as well as vote against the other candidate. With greater focus on what the Democrats have done and can do, McAuliffe might have been able to get higher turnout among younger voters and African Americans, two groups that are very Democratic in their loyalties.”
An article from NBC explains that, in his first 100 days as governor, Youngkin plans on “eliminating the grocery tax and suspending the gas tax for one year, expanding charter schools and reforming curriculum.” He explained these policy initiatives at an event commemorating the 246 year anniversary of the Marine Corps.
Husna Shinwari, a sophomore chemistry major, said that her biggest concern with the results was about climate change policy.
“This election was definitely a surprising one, at least for me,” said Shinwari. “I really hoped the Democratic Party would win. Climate change is a big issue that affects everyone, and all the meaningful progress towards better environmental policy comes from the Democratic Party. The Republican Party does not do anything new or better for climate change.”
Sarah Khalil, a senior biology major, voiced that too much misleading information regarding the candidates was spread on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As a result, finding correct information about each candidate’s platform became harder for Khalil to do.
“There is a lot of confusing information out there, and it is very difficult to choose the best candidate to vote for,” said Khalil.
Some students were happy about the victory and excited for the Republican candidates winning.
“Cutting costs for all Virginians makes me relieved and hopeful that Youngkin understands how prices have gone up and not down,” said Aziza Alikhail, a senior biomedical sciences major. “He also mentioned creating great universities and [creating] thousands of jobs. It just feels like everything is coming together after slowly recovering from COVID, I am finally hopeful for the future. I am happy Youngkin is the Virginia governor.”