RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin met with outgoing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday for a lunch with their wives at the executive mansion in Richmond, and in cordial remarks afterward both pledged a smooth transition of power.
“Today was the beginning of a friendship,” said Youngkin, who defeated Democratic nominee and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe this week in an election that also saw a wave of Republican victories in down-ballot races.
Youngkin, a native Virginian, said he was humbled to stand in front of the historic governor’s mansion. In brief remarks to the news media, he thanked Northam for hosting what he called “a lovely lunch.”
“I just want to thank you for the incredibly cooperative way that you’ve, of course, expressed you’re going to help us,” Youngkin said. “It’s important. We have a lot of work to do.”
Youngkin, who selectively engaged with reporters while campaigning, pledged to be “incredibly open and accessible” while in office.
Northam called the luncheon — staffers said they dined on beef tenderloin, butternut and pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie — an opportunity to congratulate Youngkin on a successful campaign and welcome the couple to their new home.
“We look forward to Mr. Youngkin and his wife taking over and continuing on a lot of the good progress that we made,” said Northam, who was barred by state law from seeking a second consecutive term.
Youngkin will be sworn in Jan. 15. Preparations for Inauguration Day are already underway on the Capitol grounds.