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Now That Glenn Youngkin Has Won, Vulnerable Virginia Democrats in Congress Are in Even More Trouble

AP Photo/Steve Helber

The win that Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, was able to achieve in Virginia earlier this month is still sending shockwaves throughout the country as vulnerable Democrats continue to run scared. It's now become increasingly apparent how much trouble certain Democrats in Virginia are at the congressional level, as highlighted by Meagan Flynn with the Washington Post, who on Thursday warned "Youngkin’s wins in key congressional districts underline tough reelection bids for vulnerable Va. Democrats."


The Democrats in question include Reps. Jennifer Wexton of the 10th district, Elaine Luria of the 2nd district, and Abigail Spanberger of the 7th district.

Flynn began her piece by spelling out the road ahead, a tough one to be sure for the Democrats:

The second reelection campaigns for Virginia Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria were already promising to be nail-biters, regardless of who was in the Virginia governor’s mansion.

Now, after Republican Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe statewide and in both congresswomen’s districts last week — in the first endurance test for Democrats’ blue wave in a post-Trump era — the outlook for vulnerable Democrats in Virginia’s most competitive congressional districts appears even more dicey. And given Democrats hold only a thin majority in the House, the outcomes of these races could prove pivotal in the fight for control of the chamber.

Flynn mentions that Youngkin won by 11 percentage points in Spanberger's district and eight in Luria's. While Youngkin did not win in Wexton's district, it's still referenced because of the gains:

Just a day after the election, the National Republican Campaign Committee announced that it would also be going after Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D), who flipped her formerly red Loudoun County-anchored district during the blue wave in 2018. [Democrat Terry] McAuliffe defeated Youngkin in the district last week — but by a much closer margin than Joe Biden defeated Trump there.

“Virginia’s 10th Congressional District saw a 14-point swing towards Republicans in last week’s election and that spells trouble for Jennifer Wexton,” Camille Gallo, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, said in a statement. “Virginians are rejecting Wexton and the Democrats’ policies that are causing prices on everyday goods to rise, open borders, and skyrocketing crime.”


For context, Flynn offers some comparison between this 2021 election and 2017, where Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, easily defeated Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, 53.9 percent to 45.0 percent:

The Democratic losses represent a significant red-ward shift in two districts President Biden narrowly won in 2020, and where, in recent years, independents and moderates have proved to be central to making or breaking House incumbents’ reelection bids.

An analysis by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project showed that Republicans increased their vote margin last week in each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts compared to 2017, with Virginia’s 7th District swinging 7.5 points to the right and the 2nd swinging 12.5 points that way. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) narrowly won the 2nd District that year and narrowly lost in the 7th — the only loss for a statewide candidate in either district during President Donald Trump’s administration.

That analysis highlighted how Republicans increased their vote count in each of Virginia's 11 districts. 

Many of Spanberger's Republican challengers pointed out how truly hopeful they are in flipping the district red in their statements for Townhall.

Taylor Keeney, who particularly emphasizes her political outsider role, is hopeful about flipping the district red once more. "There’s a huge opportunity for Virginia Republicans to keep our momentum and flip the 7th District back to red. Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin proved that an outsider focused on the issues voters care about is what it takes to win – and that’s what I have been doing since the launch of my campaign. We have been talking about education, public safety, and the cost of living; and, with the broad coalition we are building we will turn back the radical left who dismiss parents and common-sense," she said.


Youngkin's win in Spanberger's district is truly worth underscoring, which was by double digits. 

This race has in particular been one to watch. In 2020 Spanberger managed to fend off Republican challenger Nick Freitas, 50.8 percent to 49.0 percent. 

"Glenn Youngkin won some of Virginia's most vulnerable congressional districts handily, including Abigail Spaneberger's in the 7th, proving that swing districts, like the 7th, do not want the radical progressive agenda being pushed by Washington Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi and Abigail Spanberger.  The people of central Virginia want a stronger job market, safer communities, and schools that focus on teaching children how, not what, to learn and think.  Since being elected, Spanberger has retreated from the moderate position she campaigned on, and has instead voted in lock step with her party bosses," Derrick Anderson, a former Special Forces “Green Beret” who is also a Major in the U.S. Army National Guard, told Townhall.

Other candidates also focused on Spanberger's and the Democrat's many vulnerabilities. 

"Glenn Youngkin’s victory showed that voters reject the left’s radical education agenda. As a suburban mother and former school teacher, I share their anger and frustration. Despite voters’ overwhelming opposition, my opponent, Abigail Spanberger, has received more money from the groups backing these policies than any other member of Congress. The path to victory has never been more clear. We are going to continue fighting for the success and well-being of Virginia students, and holding Abigail Spanberger accountable for selling out Virginia parents," Tina Ramirez said.


Ramirez, a mom and small business owner, has been particularly critical about Spanberger for her contributions from the teachers unions and her lack of a proper response on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

John Castorini, who served in the Army for nine years, also weighed in. "What this country witnessed in Virginia this past week is what the entire country will look like in 2022. The Democrats, fueled by the media, are so out of touch with everyday Americans that people are turning off the media’s propaganda and focusing on voting for competent conservative leaders," he said.

"Virginians made sure their voices were heard last week at the ballot box. They said no to Critical Race Theory. They said no to inflation. They said no to the liberal's radicalism. They said no to the Democrats. Here’s the bottom line. I’m running to serve the people. The same way I did when I served this country honorably my entire adult life. I’m looking forward to being the voice of my fellow Virginians in Congress in 2022," Castorini continued.

Another point point mentioned by Flynn worth emphasizing is that should any of these seats turn Republican, so could the House. Democrats currently have a majority that's in the single digits.

As a matter of historical trends, the president's party tends to lose seats during his first midterm election. The situation looks particularly grim when presidents have approval ratings like President Joe Biden does. 

According to a poll released on Sunday by the Washington Post/ABC News, Biden has an approval rating of 41 percent and a disapproval rating of 53 percent. 


The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average has Biden at a 42 percent approval rating and a 52.7 percent disapproval rating. FiveThirtyEight similarly has him at a 42.7 percent approval rating and a 51.6 percent disapproval rating.


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