The campaign for Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin believes the results in a handful of high-population areas that could decide which way the state falls in Tuesday’s election, and will be watching those returns closely after polls close 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Fox News is told the Youngkin campaign believes that if it improves on former President Donald Trump’s numbers by 5% in Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Virginia Beach and Richmond, it will have the votes it needs to win statewide. All of those are largely urban or suburban areas where Youngkin has tried to woo voters by distancing himself from Trump’s style of politics.
Further, Loudoun County specifically is a hotbed of debate over parents’ role in schools and debates over critical race theory in classrooms. Youngkin centered his campaign on parents’ rights in schools and promised to ban critical race theory in schools.
The Youngkin campaign will be parsing returns for those indicators from its election night party in Chantilly, Virginia.
The campaign for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, meanwhile, will be looking through returns from its election night event in McLean, Virginia. It did not respond to a request for comment asking about what barometers it is looking for.
Another key indicator on the result of the election could be whether Youngkin is able to juice turnout in deep red rural counties. Many rural areas don’t have nearly the population of some more urban or suburban counties, but big margins for Youngkin there could make up for McAuliffe numbers elsewhere. But low rural turnout could leave Youngkin behind the eight ball.
Further, Northamptom County and Prince Edward County are two bellwether counties to watch – they’ve each aligned with the statewide winner in the past 10 Virginia gubernatorial elections.
The result of this race could have far-reaching consequences on politics nationwide.
It would be a major blow to President Biden and could cause some Democrats to be reluctant to associate themselves with the president – whether in 2022 campaign events or by taking a tough vote on the Biden-backed reconciliation spending bill in Congress.
A McAuliffe loss may also provide Republicans with a playbook for how to win midterm elections in moderate states and districts like Virginia.
Fox News’ Rémy Numa and Stephen Goin contributed to this report.