After months of deliberations and anonymous attacks on candidates, Virginia Republicans have a nominee for governor. Glenn Youngkin, a former chief executive at the Carlyle Group will be running as the party’s nominee in a year that has many party strategists hopeful they will be able to win statewide in Virginia for the first time since 2009.
The final decision comes after an entire day of counting votes in order to narrow the field down from seven candidates to one. Former Roanoke Sheriff Octavia Johnson and Peter Doran were eliminated in the first two rounds with the two combining for half of one point.
Former Trump administration official Sergio de la Pena was eliminated in the third round which left the four candidates that were widely considered to be competitive for the nomination.
The first of the four to fall off the ballot was Kirk Cox, the former Speaker of the House that served as a state delegate for over 31 years representing Colonial Heights. Cox with his experience in the General Assembly had the inside track and framed his campaign around the fact that he could actually win in November. But campaigning for November may have been Cox’s downfall in this nomination race. Recent polling shows that nearly all Virginia Republicans have a favorable opinion of Trump.
Youngkin, Snyder and Chase all embraced Trump on the campaign trail — though in different degrees. Snyder and Youngkin tried to run on issues like opposing virtual schools, but anonymous attacks from shadow PACs painting the candidates as never-Trumpers essentially forced both candidates to embrace the scandal-ridden former president.
Chase, on the other hand, attended the rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 and traveled down to Florida in April to attend an event with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. She calls herself “Trump in Heels” and she has never stated that she believes Joe Biden won the election. Her support throughout the entire campaign and process, however, remained steadfast. She brought in the third most votes in the first round of voting.
Snyder and Chase received the most from de la Pena’s redistributed votes during the fourth round but Youngkin still held a commanding seven-point lead.
Cox was then removed from the ballot for the fifth round. His votes were distributed among the other candidates. Chase was then eliminated in the following round, leaving just Snyder and Youngkin to compete for the nomination.
Snyder was never able to catch up to Youngkin. “While certainly would have preferred a W, I send my heartfelt congratulations to Glenn Youngkin on a tremendous race + deserved win,” Snyder tweeted before the final round was finished counting. “He + the ticket have my 100% support. Grateful to Burson Snyder + entire team. Love you all + our big family that is the VA GOP.”
Youngkin released a statement shortly after Snyder conceded. 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,” Youngkin said in a tweet. “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.”
The convention process is still not over for the party as they have to count votes for the lieutenant governor race. That will begin Tuesday morning. Jason Miyares secured the attorney general nomination on Sunday.
Rich Anderson, the chair of the Republican Party of Virginia congratulated Youngkin in a statement Sunday night. “Glenn ran a fantastic and flawless campaign, and I look forward to throwing my full support and the full force of the Republican Party of Virginia behind him in the coming months. I eagerly await his election on November 2, 2021, and his inauguration on January 15, 2022.”