Republican Glenn Youngkin has defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a tight race for Virginia’s governor’s seat.
It is a blow for Joe Biden who had promoted Mr McAuliffe as “the proven leader who will move Virginia forward”. The president, whose national approval ratings are in the gutter, ignored reporters’ questions as he returned to the White House on Wednesday following his trip to Cop26.
Mr McAuliffe wanted to return to the office he left four years ago and tried to link Mr Youngkin to Donald Trump, hoping Democrats’ dislike for the former president would motivate them in a state Mr Biden carried by 10 points in 2020.
Mr Youngkin focused on culture-war topics like “election integrity” and how racial inequality is taught in school, appealing to Mr Trump’s base but avoiding campaigning with him in person. He benefited from high turnout in rural areas.
Meanwhile, Democratic governor Phil Murphy is in a dead heat in New Jersey against Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli. And in New York City, Democrat Eric Adams defeated the GOP’s Curtis Sliwa in the mayoral race.