Youngkin wins GOP gubernatorial nomination
Winsome Sears, Jason Miyares fill out Va. Republican ticket
After a long day and night of counting ranked ballots, the Virginia Republicans emerged with a gubernatorial nominee Monday night: Fairfax County resident Glenn Youngkin, the former CEO of The Carlyle Group, who received 54.71% of the vote in Saturday’s nominating convention.
On Tuesday night, former Norfolk delegate Winsome Sears scored a surprise victory in the lieutenant governor field of six candidates. She overcame former delegate Tim Hugo with 54.39% of the vote, becoming the first Black woman to be nominated for the statewide post by a major party in Virginia. Hugo and Virginia Beach Del. Glenn Davis appeared to be the frontrunners based on fundraising earlier in the year.
Rounding out the Republican ticket is Del. Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, who won the nomination Sunday for attorney general, edging out former Virginia Beach GOP chair Chuck Smith on Sunday. Smith, who lost by 4%, says he plans to make a formal request for a recount.
After six rounds of counting ballots Monday, the final two gubernatorial contenders were Youngkin and Pete Snyder, an entrepreneur from Charlottesville who started the Virginia 30 Day Fund to assist business owners hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, neither of whom had held elected office. In third place was state Sen. Amanda Chase, who has made statements indicating she may pursue an independent candidacy, and in fourth place, former House Speaker Kirk Cox, whose political career appears to have come to an end after 30 years. He is not running for his seat in the House of Delegates in November.
Registered convention delegates cast ranked choice ballots at 39 polling places Saturday to determine a winner out of the field of seven candidates. The state GOP required the nominee to have at least 50% of the vote.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Chase said she “will have more to say in the days ahead,” but was first taking a short beach vacation with her husband. On Saturday evening, shortly after the convention concluded, she tweeted, “If [the Republican Party of Virginia] steals this election for Pete [Snyder], I still have plenty of time to run as an independent. Clear corruption by RPV, I will not honor a pledge if the Party cannot run a fair process.”
It’s not clear what Chase will decide since Youngkin is the nominee, but if she does run an independent campaign, it is likely to benefit the Democratic nominee by splitting the conservative vote. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is ahead in recent polls and in fundraising, with early voting for the June 8 Democratic primary election having started in April.
In a statement late Monday, Youngkin said, “I am prepared to lead, excited to serve and profoundly humbled by the trust the people have placed in me. Virginians have made it clear that they are ready for a political outsider with proven business experience to bring real change in Richmond.
“We will have more to say tomorrow, but for now, let me convey my appreciation to and respect for the other candidates who courageously stepped forward to seek this nomination. Every Republican should be proud that our party inspired such a spirited, diverse and talented field of candidates. I have reached out to all of them and look forward to working together as one team to win in November.”
Snyder conceded to Youngkin on Monday while counting continued in the sixth and final round. “While we certainly would have preferred a win tonight, I want to congratulate Glenn Youngkin, his family and his team on a tremendous race and a deserved win,” Snyder said in a statement. “He and the entire Republican ticket will have my full support. Now is the time for our party to unite to help Glenn, Jason [Miyares, the attorney general nominee] and the rest of our ticket win in November.”
The other Republican candidates were Sergio de la Peña, a retired Army colonel and former Trump administration Pentagon official; Peter Doran, a former think tank head; and former Roanoke Sheriff Octavia Johnson.
In the general election, in which he needs to appeal to moderates and independent voters, Youngkin is likely to emphasize his business acumen as former leader of the Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm, and he has already spoken about creating jobs in Virginia. He also has an estimated worth of more than $200 million and contributed nearly $6 million to his campaign between Jan. 1 and March 31, according to records filed with the state.
During the convention race, focusing on party loyalists, Youngkin took stances viewed as friendly to supporters of former President Donald Trump. Youngkin said at a recent candidates’ forum that “voter integrity” was a major issue for his campaign — a nod to Trump’s false claims of a stolen election in 2020. Also, Youngkin was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, one of the most prominent members of the U.S. Senate to attempt to overturn President Joe Biden’s election.
On Tuesday, Trump himself endorsed Youngkin. “Glenn is pro-Business, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Veterans, pro-America, he knows how to make Virginia’s economy rip-roaring, and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump said in a statement, while calling McAuliffe a “bagman” for former President Bill Clinton. McAuliffe co-chaired Clinton’s 1996 campaign and also chaired Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
McAuliffe, for his part, released a statement Tuesday blasting Youngkin as having “spent his campaign fawning all over Donald Trump, and now Trump has returned the favor by wholeheartedly endorsing him. Virginians have rejected Donald Trump’s hate, conspiracy theories and dangerous lies at every turn, and we’re going to do it again to his hand-picked, extreme right-wing candidate Glenn Youngkin this November.”