Dems Worried Virginia, NJ Elections Threaten ’22 Incumbent Govs

Dems Worried Virginia, NJ Elections Threaten '22 Incumbent Govs glenn youngkin speaks during a campaign rally Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (Cliff Owen/AP)

By Luca Cacciatore | Saturday, 13 November 2021 12:29 PM

The resounding shift away from Democrats last week in Virginia and New Jersey have the party alarmed about vulnerable governorships in the 2022 midterm elections.

"The Biden stuff and everything that happened was so loud, and you couldn't ignore it," Democrat ad-maker Neil Oxman told Politico. "Clearly the election was nationalized last Tuesday, more so than you necessarily get in some elections."

Democrats hold the governorship in eight states up in 2022 which have less or similar Biden favorability than Virginia: Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Republicans see businessman Glenn Youngkin's victory in Virginia as the first of many to come, citing the eight states with Democrat incumbents.

"We see what happened in Virginia as a pretty solid game plan of how we can work through as we continue to build in the state here," Paul Farrow, the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, told Politico.

Wendi Wallace, the deputy executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, chalked up the Virginia loss and narrower-than-anticipated victory in New Jersey to turnout.

"Democratic turnout was good. Republican turnout was slightly better," Wallace said. "We need to tighten [our] message and focus on what we're delivering for people as we move into next year."

Some Democrats are not as worried.

"Combined with the resounding victory in the California recall, as things were looking very challenging over the summer, we continue to prove that we can elect our incumbents no matter how difficult the environment is," Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Noam Lee said last week, Politico reported.

Democrats have long been considered advantaged during high turnout elections, but the results of Nov. 2 suggest that narrative might be changing.

Compared to President Donald Trump's 2020 numbers, Youngkin improved 10% among white men without a college degree, and almost 20% with white women without a college degree, according to CNN exit polling data.