PHOENIX (AP) – Inaugural Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said Wednesday that his victory in a strongly Democratic state showed that Republicans are outperforming talk of education, an issue he says the GOP has “historically had a bit of a foothold on us. on your heels. ”
Youngkin spoke at the annual meeting of the Republican Governors’ Association in Phoenix, where governors, donors and strategists praised his victory in the state, which Democratic President Joe Biden won with 10 points just a year ago.
A newcomer to politics, Youngkin won by embarking on a culture war over the school curriculum, emphasizing the right of parents to make decisions about their children’s education under the slogan “Parents matter.”
“Polls consistently tell us that education is the seventh, eighth or ninth most important issue,” Yangkin said. “Let me tell you this is the main issue right now, and Republicans across the country can own this topic.”
He said Republicans can win by insisting on “strong schools that teach our children to succeed, not dilute the curriculum, a school where parents have a say in what they teach their children.”
Yangkin’s victory raised alarm among Democrats, who already faced the historically difficult challenge of running the midterm elections when their party controlled the White House. He also provided a roadmap for Republicans in states where the party is weaker.
Beyond parental rights, Youngkin focused on local issues like taxes and distanced himself from former President Donald Trump. He actually walked a tightrope to reach out to suburban voters who opposed Trump without alienating the former president’s ardent supporters.
He later told reporters that he considers the emphasis on economic issues at the kitchen table and local politics, rather than national politics, as the key to his victory.
But this strategy can be difficult to replicate in states where Republicans are facing primaries that push them to enthusiastically accept Trump or take positions that could harm the general election. Youngkin won the GOP nomination at the convention with a rating vote among a limited number of Republican voters.
Youngkin warned unequivocally against renegotiating the 2020 elections, a strategy that runs counter to Trump’s ongoing false claims, which he lost through fraud.
“I campaigned on principle to look ahead, not look back,” he said, adding that “I really plan to invest in our electoral process in the future so that Virginians can trust our electoral process.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Dewey, who oversees the party’s efforts to elect Republican governors as RGA chairman, believes election integrity is important, but only “one of many issues.”
Arizona, which Biden won by a small margin, was the epicenter of Trump’s attempt to question the vote count in 2020 when a group of his supporters working on behalf of the state Senate Republicans conducted an unprecedented party screening of ballots and counting machines in Maricopa County.
The review, which Trump allies called a “forensic audit,” was widely criticized and boosted the profile of Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, leader of the limited-term Democratic candidate to replace Ducy.
Similar election surveys were conducted in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, two Democratic-led states that are among the main targets of the GOP.
While Yangkin highlighted his relentless focus on local issues, other GOP governors highlighted what they see as the Biden administration’s responsibilities, including inflation, supply chain shortages, gas prices, border security, and the chaos surrounding the Afghan withdrawal.
“The contrast couldn’t be more apparent for Republican governors,” said Nebraska Gov. Peter Ricketts. “We provide this leadership. We are accountable for results and do what makes life better for people in our states. ”