Is the most diverse Republican ticket in Virginia history helping to force the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions by state officials?
It sure seems that way.
It’s all over a contentious ranked-choice voting nominating process that showcased a virtual unknown candidate’s business ability and endorsements.
Yep, it was a remarkable achievement by Glenn Youngkin, formerly Carlyle Group CEO, who bested seven contenders to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
His historic slate is joined by Winsome Sears, the first black woman Marine veteran candidate for lieutenant governor, who was also national chair of Black Americans to Re-elect Trump; and Virginia Beach Hispanic Del. Jason Miyares, whose mother fled from Cuba, escaping communism back in 1965 with literally nothing but the clothes on her back.
It does appear that COVID fatigue, coupled with economic stagflation, has federal and state officials fearful of voter retribution in November. It may have led to federal officials at the Centers for Disease Control rethinking their masking regulations amid soaring gas prices and tanking employment numbers.
Now politics being politics, Youngkin, a successful businessman who created thousands of jobs, is now being branded by the liberal’s media machine as the devil incarnate who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
The ranked-choice voting method used by the Republican Party of Virginia was encouraged by former Gov. George Allen. Other states like Maine and Georgia use it to receive a 40 or 50 percent voter threshold to attain their party’s nomination—or win an election.
During the RPV’s May 8 unassembled convention, candidates receiving the fewest votes were eliminated in each round, with their existing second and remaining votes distributed amongst remaining candidates until one attained 50 percent.
This happened because RPV Chairman Rich Anderson and the State Central Committee failed miserably to attain consensus for a primary, which Republicans who are seeking diverse voters badly needed. There has not been a Republican occupying the governor’s mansion since Bob McDonnell’s administration in 2014.
About 53,000 voters pre-registered, which prognosticators thought favored businessman Pete Snyder. But the 30,000 who actually showed up elected Youngkin over Snyder in the sixth round.
Allen, while campaigning for Miyares for attorney general and others, admitted frequently that former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox was his first choice, but Youngkin was his No. 2. Those words affected thousands of number two votes for Youngkin, putting him over the top.
Snyder, who failed ito earn endorsements from former Republican Governors Allen, McDonnell and Jim Gilmore, personally spent $5.475 million towards his campaign. The hard political lesson remains that money alone cannot buy political love without gubernatorial endorsements (either first or second) like Allen’s.
Observing Youngkin’s first raucous, packed, standing-room-only crowd in Richmond was telling. The ecstatic nominee discussed job creation, opening the schools, broadband needs, stopping critical race theory, veterans’ issues, and taxation.
The taxation and broadband issue may hit home in Stafford’s June 8 primary. Aquia District voters must decide whether to keep Supervisor Cindy Shelton, who helped champion broadband issues and competitive pay equity for county employees, or elect former supervisor Paul Milde, who was solidly rejected in Aquia in his loss to Del. Joshua Cole in the 28th District race.
Milde’s failed attempts to improve the Aquia Town Center blight will also be a critical issue.
Then there’s the narrative of independent voter outreach as the immigration border crisis affects business locally and nationally.
Officials are privately discussing out-of-the-box concepts such as a modern day Bracero program that would facilitate a badly needed guest worker program. It could provide the mechanism for the undocumented to gain future merit-based citizenship. If passed by a bipartisan majority in Congress, such a program could aid the nation’s difficult labor situation.
A year ago, gas prices were in the $1.70 range. Today they are in the $3 range. So yes, in this election pocketbook issues will be critical, says Scott Mayauski, Stafford’s commissioner of the revenue, who sees a sense of Republican urgency on economic issues. “The need for conservatives preventing the nation’s commissars from perpetuating any more unnecessary personal financial imposition caused by COVID is critical,” he said.
Electing a historic and diverse Republican ticket may just be the remedy that Virginians are looking for.
Daniel P. Cortez, who lives in Stafford, is a political writer and broadcaster who serves on the President’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity.