Republican Glenn Youngkin spent months speaking to voters about his plans to roll again Democrats’ “left, liberal, progressive agenda.” When he takes workplace in January as Virginia subsequent’s governor, he’ll want to speak to Senate Democrats about that.
Youngkin’s victory was a part of a Republican sweep on election evening that noticed the GOP retake Virginia’s two different statewide workplaces and certain flip management of the state Home. However within the Senate, the place nobody was up for election this yr, Democrats will nonetheless have a slender majority.
“We’re the Senate Democratic Alamo,” stated one Democratic member, Scott Surovell.
Days after Youngkin’s defeat of Terry McAuliffe, a former governor and longtime Democratic Get together fundraiser, conversations in Richmond pivoted from marketing campaign rhetoric to rosy discuss of bipartisanship, with elected officers in each events expressing hope that subsequent yr’s legislative session will present alternative to search out widespread floor. Youngkin is reaching out by cellphone to Democrats and Republicans and planning to fulfill with Senate lawmakers at a finance retreat later this month, in line with Senate Minority Chief Tommy Norment. He additionally joined outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam for lunch, and gave public remarks suggesting he may flip to the Democrat with questions.
“He stated through the marketing campaign he was going to manipulate in a bipartisan method. His marketing campaign was all about unifying Virginians underneath a selected imaginative and prescient for the longer term, and he intends to satisfy that promise,” stated Devin O’Malley, a Youngkin spokesman.
Youngkin did place himself through the marketing campaign as a unifier who would transcend the nation’s partisan rancor. However he additionally selectively engaged with the information media, sought to keep away from specifics on controversial points equivalent to abortion and gun management and spent months refusing to acknowledge that President Joe Biden had been legitimately elected, drawing sharp criticism from Democrats.
In a press release Friday, the state’s Democratic Get together chairwoman, Susan Swecker, stated the “combat for Virginia’s future” has begun.
Youngkin has made a handful of appearances within the information media — together with with Fox Information host Tucker Carlson — however has not held a proper information convention to take a variety of questions. In a press release after election evening, he struck a conciliatory tone, thanking his supporters and saying to those that voted in another way, “Thanks for combating for what you consider in. I look ahead to coming collectively and incomes your help over the subsequent 4 years.”
The previous non-public fairness government and first-time candidate campaigned on what he referred to as a Day One recreation plan, most of which can’t be enacted on his first day as a result of it can want legislative approval.
It consists of a variety of tax cuts, together with the elimination of the state’s grocery tax, a 12-month suspension of the gasoline tax and one-time rebates. His platform additionally calls for reinforcing funding for legislation enforcement, elevating trainer pay, opening new constitution faculties, restoring the requirement to indicate a photograph ID to vote, and banning important race idea, which holds that racism is systemic in America’s establishments. It isn’t being taught at present in any of the U.S.’s Okay-12 public faculties, in line with the The Nationwide Faculty Boards Affiliation.
Youngkin, who’s independently rich and has pledged to donate the wage he receives as governor to charity, arrange a transition workplace in a state authorities constructing this week. He informed a conservative radio host that Jeff Goettman, a prime marketing campaign staffer and former official within the Division of the Treasury underneath President Donald Trump, would chair his transition. Inauguration Day is Jan. 15.
O’Malley stated Youngkin visited a meals financial institution and a mosque Friday and was making his approach by an intensive, bipartisan name record. He declined touch upon whether or not Youngkin had been in contact with Dominion Power, a robust participant on the state Capitol that drew the candidate’s ire after it backed a secretive anti-Youngkin political motion committee.
No different particulars about key staffers or Cupboard members have been instantly introduced.
Dick Saslaw, the Senate majority chief, stated he had a “very good, pleasant name” with Youngkin that did not veer into coverage.
“There may very well be a standard floor on schooling, there may very well be a standard floor on the atmosphere. There may very well be a standard floor on so many issues. We’ll simply have to attend and see,” Saslaw stated.
With only a 21-19 majority within the Senate — the place newly elected Republican Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears will forged tie-breaking votes — Democrats cannot afford a single defector in the event that they need to block a invoice.
That actuality has sharpened a give attention to two Democratic members, Joe Morrissey — a Catholic who personally opposes abortion — and Chap Petersen, a average from northern Virginia. The 2 not occasionally vote in opposition to their caucus on a variety of points. However the GOP additionally has a number of members who buck party-line votes.
“The sector might lend itself to bipartisan cooperation,” stated Republican Sen. Richard Stuart, who generally votes with an unbiased streak of his personal.
Morrissey and Petersen have drawn comparisons to U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who’ve pressured cutbacks to President Joe Biden’s sweeping coverage initiatives. However a number of Democrats stated that comparability was overblown and the caucus would stick collectively. Saslaw was adamant there can be no outright party-switching.
Morrissey stated he wouldn’t vote for a Texas-style abortion legislation and sees the Roe v. Wade determination guaranteeing a lady’s proper to an abortion as a part of the material of the nation. However he additionally stated there must be center floor, implying that he would think about some restrictions.
He additionally expressed some skepticism about how lengthy the post-election honeymoon interval would final.
“At the start of each session, the whole lot is kumbaya, everybody holding palms, then it typically takes about one week for the bipartisan divides to be created,” Morrissey stated. “It’s essential for moderates on each side to bridge these gaps.”
Todd Gilbert, the Home minority chief and a contender for speaker if Republicans do retake the bulk, stated in a information convention that his caucus’s precedence will probably be schooling.
He stated Republicans will probably be targeted on tweaking, not scrapping, a not too long ago enacted marijuana legalization invoice. Requested whether or not the GOP will search to reinstate restrictions on abortion that Democrats rolled again once they have been in full management of state authorities, he recommended that subject would not be a spotlight.
Gilbert predicted the Home and Senate may even have a smoother relationship than when the Democrats managed his chamber. The 2 teams of Democrats typically spoke disparagingly of each other, and the Home routinely pushed by payments, just for the extra average Senate to spike them.
“I feel we’re going to get alongside high quality from an institutional standpoint,” Gilbert stated.