Audio: Political expert talks Republicans’ 2021 chances in Virginia ahead of Democratic primary

Audio: Political expert talks Republicans’ 2021 chances in Virginia ahead of Democratic primary


Virginia Democratic candidates look to stand out ahead of June 8 primary as Republicans pivot to general election

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The Governor’s mansion, the nation’s oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence, is shown in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With the Virginia Republican ticket set, voters will now determine which Democratic statewide candidates will also be on the ballot for the general election this fall.

Early voting for the June 8 primary is already underway. Among other races, the primary will decide the Democratic Party’s nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Since sweeping elections for those offices in 2009, Republicans have not won a statewide contest in Virginia.

Those seeking the the three top elected offices in the commonwealth will go against the Republicans who secured their party’s nomination in the GOP convention and the independents running in November.

Glenn Youngkin, a wealthy businessman and political newcomer, was selected as the GOP gubernatorial nominee. Winsome Sears, a former state delegate, picked up the LG nomination and current state delegate, Del. Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach), secured the Republican AG nomination.

Republican candidates have now pivoted to the general election, hoping to widen their base of supporters after running in a state party-run convention where only a fraction of voters actually submitted a ballot.

Rich Meagher, associate professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College, believes Youngkin has to navigate a difficult path between trying to attract supporters of former President Donald Trump and get the backing of moderate voters in Virginia who may be opposed to Trump.

“What Youngkin’s job over the next few months is to try to figure out how to embrace the spirit of Trump’s kind of populism, while rejecting some of the more extreme aspects of that populism,” Meagher said in a recent discussion with 8News.

The other candidates on the 2021 ticket could make the task harder for Youngkin. Republican lieutenant governor nominee Winsome Sears, one of the more conservative candidates in the GOP convention, will remind voters of the “wedge issues” for the party, according to Meagher.

Meagher said Youngkin will talk about business and education during the campaign, but “on the other hand, though, he’s going to have to talk about some of the red meat, Republican issues that have been big lately among the real kind of extreme Trump wing of the party.”

Stay with 8News for updates.



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