Youngkin Wins in Virginia;
New Jersey’s Races are Teetering;
Ohio Congressional Races & More

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 3, 2021 — Republican Glenn Youngkin claimed the Virginia governor’s race with his victory over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), becoming the first Republican to win a Virginia statewide office since the 2009 election.

In New Jersey, Republican Jack Ciattarelli is fighting Gov. Phil Murphy (D) to a virtual tie, but outstanding ballots suggest the Democratic governor may barely hang on to win a second term. It was a surprisingly strong showing for Ciattarelli in such a heavily Democratic state. Though both houses of the New Jersey legislature will remain under Democratic control, Republicans appear to have added seats in both chambers.

While mail votes are still being tallied and other ballots can be received in Virginia until Friday, it appears Youngkin did exceed the 50 percent plateau with McAuliffe about two percentage points behind. The Youngkin victory helped pull his lieutenant governor Republican partner, Winsome Sears, over the top to claim the state’s second position.

The Virginia attorney general’s race features another Republican, state Delegate Jason Miyares, leading incumbent Mark Herring (D), who is running for a third term. This is the closest of the three races, so uncounted mail ballots and votes to be received after election day could make a difference. Some entities have projected Miyares a winner, and he is certainly in the better position, but the final outcome may not yet be conclusive.

Several other races are still close, but Republicans may have converted the six seats they need to re-claim the state House majority. In any event, the party gained seats.

Turnout was higher than expected in Virginia. More that 3.2 million ballots have been tabulated, meaning that more than 73 percent of the number of people who voted in the record setting 2020 election returned to cast their votes in the 2021 governor’s race. When comparing the 2017 gubernatorial election to the 2016 presidential, the return rate was 66 percent.


In the US House, two new Ohio members-elect completed their special election victories with ease. In the vacant Cleveland-Akron seat that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge (D) represented, Democratic Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown, as expected, easily won the congressional special general election with 79 percent of of the vote.

Turning to the Columbus area, Republican Mike Carey, the former chairman of the Ohio Coal Association, was also an easy winner in his special general in his bid to replace resigned Congressman Steve Stivers (R). Carey recorded a 58-42 percent victory over state Rep. Allison Russo (D-Columbus), another result that was expected in a high 50s Republican district. Just over 160,000 people voted in the Carey-Russo race, a very high turnout for a special election. In Rep-Elect Brown’s northern Ohio victory, more than 103,000 ballots were cast.


The remaining House vacancy may not yet be decided in Florida. The Democratic primary to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Delray Beach) in South Florida’s 20th Congressional District is in abeyance. Here, businesswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, who spent almost $4 million of her own money on the race, leads Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness by just 31 votes with all precincts reporting.

At the very least, we will see a recount in this race and there could be ancillary ballots remaining to be counted. The eventual winner advances to the Jan. 11 special general election where the new Democratic nominee becomes a prohibitive favorite. With that election, the House will return to its full compliment of 435 members.

In mayor’s races, the votes went as expected in most instances. Democrat Eric Adams was easily elected in New York City, as were City Councilor Michelle Wu in Boston, attorney Justin Bibb in Cleveland, and incumbent Mike Duggan in Detroit. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who lost the Democratic primary in June, rebounded to register an impressive 60 percent win against self-proclaimed Democratic socialist India Walton who was actually unopposed on the general election ballot. The Atlanta open race advances to a runoff election.

In Minneapolis, the mayor’s race is headed to a Ranked Choice Voting count, which makes the outcome uncertain for incumbent Mayor Jacob Frey (D). The measure to replace the police department with a new social services bureaucracy was defeated with 56 percent of the vote. A measure to add hundreds of new police officers to the Austin department was soundly defeated, however.

As a side note in New York, two former US congressmen were attempting to return to elective office.

  • Former Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella (R), who ended his congressional career with the revelation that he had a second family in Virginia, was elected last night as Staten Island Borough president, thus returning him to public office.
  • Former Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D), who lost his congressional seat to Republican Claudia Tenney in a post-election period that took months to determine earlier this year, eschewed another race for the US House in lieu of a judicial run in this election. The result for this ex-congressman was not as positive. He lost the bid for the New York State 5th Judicial District Supreme Court by a 55-45 percent margin.

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