While Virginia has a recent pattern of electing governors of the opposite party, McAuliffe himself defied that trend in 2013 by winning the governor’s mansion when fellow Democrat Barack Obama was president.
The election at the time made McAuliffe the only Virginia candidate for governor in four decades to win when his party occupied the White House. A. Linwood Holton, Jr., an attorney and moderate Republican, previously won the governorship in 1969 when Republican Richard Nixon was president. Holton was followed by Mills Godwin, a longtime Democrat who won a nonconsecutive second term as governor in 1973 after switching his party affiliation to Republican.
On Tuesday, Glenn Youngkin became the first Republican to win statewide office in a dozen years, tapping into culture war fights over schools and race to unite former President Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters with enough suburban voters to notch a victory.
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