Glenn Youngkin wins Republican nomination for Virginia governor

Capitol Connection

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Glenn Youngkin, a wealthy businessman who had not run for political office before, secured the Republican nomination in the Virginia governor’s race Monday after a full day of ballot counting.

The once-crowded field of Virginia Republicans competing for the party’s gubernatorial nomination was whittled down from seven to just Youngkin and Pete Snyder after more than 12 hours of tallying. Before the final result was reached, Snyder conceded and backed Youngkin on Twitter.

“While certainly would have preferred a W, I send my heartfelt congratulations to @glennyoungkin on a tremendous race + deserved win.  He + the ticket have my 100% support,” Snyder wrote just before 10 p.m.

Youngkin, the former CEO of The Carlyle Group investment firm, had been ahead of Snyder, another business executive who also used his personal wealth to fund his own campaign, and the other candidates since tellers began tallying results from the GOP convention on Monday morning.

“I am prepared to lead, excited to serve and profoundly humbled by the trust the people have placed in me,” Youngkin wrote on Twitter. “Virginians have made it clear that they are ready for a political outsider with proven business experience to bring real change in Richmond.”

State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), Youngkin and Snyder were the final three candidates in the race before Chase was eventually knocked in the fifth round of the ballot-counting process. Del. Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), the former House speaker who has been in the chamber since 1990 but did not seek re-election, was the fourth candidate to be eliminated Monday.

Tellers count ballots as campaign observers monitor the process on May 10, 2021. (Photo: 8News)

Octavia Johnson, a former Roanoke City Sheriff, was eliminated after the first round of results were tallied on Monday afternoon, a process that took over four hours. Johnson was followed by Peter Doran, the former CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis, and then retired U.S. Army colonel Sergio de la Peña.

While more than 53,000 Republicans were certified as delegates for Saturday’s “unassembled convention,” just over 30,000 cast ballots for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Rich Anderson, the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, said in an interview that he wasn’t disappointed in the numbers, instead noting that he was encouraged by the work the state party has done.

Delegate votes are weighted for the convention, with the state party allocating a certain number of votes to local voting units based on previous turnout for Republican candidates. The GOP also opted for ranked-choice voting for the convention, requiring convention delegates to list the candidates they support in orders.

After each round, the candidate in last place is eliminated and the votes from convention delegates who had them in their first slot are redistributed to people’s second choices. This process continues until one candidate receives a majority.

Despite Snyder’s decision, the Virginia GOP continued to count ballots until Youngkin reached over 50%. In the end, Youngkin received just over 54% of the weighted vote when the race was down to just him and Snyder.

Susan Swecker, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, criticized Youngkin for aligning with former president Donald Trump in a statement after Snyder conceded.

“Throughout this campaign, Youngkin has advanced Trump’s dangerous election conspiracy theories, opposed critical COVID-19 relief for working families and small businesses, and threatened to gut Virginians’ health care,” Swecker wrote.

On Sunday, Del. Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) edged out Chuck Smith, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach, by a little more than 3% to win the party’s nomination for attorney general. As tellers counted the gubernatorial ballots Monday, Smith issued a statement demanding a recount of the third round of counting.

Smith wrote “there was a lot of confusion in and among the tellers” during the round, claiming that votes for him were assigned to Miyares and votes for Miyares were added to his total. The state party’s plan mandates a recount if the margin is less than 1%.

In a statement, a state party spokesman said the process was “conducted fairly and transparently” and that observers for Smith’s campaign did not object at any point during Sunday’s count. Rich Anderson, the chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, added he hoped Smith would withdraw his request and back Miyares.

“There’s too much at stake to delay a unified effort to restore accountable, conservative government to the people of Virginia,” Anderson said in a statement.

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