In a weekend that was part play, part work, attendees at the Republican Party of Virginia’s Advance spent weekend networking and attending events including a Friday reception with Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, breakout sessions, a congressional breakfast, a luncheon with Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, and a 1920s-themed gala and ball featuring Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears. The event was held at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, which provided activities like the Cascades Gorge hike or a hayride. Moods were high as Republicans celebrated Virginia’s sudden-seeming return to swing state status, with more wins expected in future years.
“I encountered a relatively empty shell of an organization in August of 2020. But we have worked together, we have grown, we have expanded, we’ve answered the challenge,” RPV Chairman Rich Anderson said in remarks at the Saturday gala. “Virginia Republicans: we fought! We won! The Virginia GOP is red again.”
Republicans have a good chance to retake the majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates, powered by historically-Republican voters in swing districts who were alienated by former President Donald Trump. To win the majority, Republicans need to protect what they have and take six seats. They see opportunities in Northern Virginia, metro Richmond, Virginia Beach, and downstate Virginia.
“We feel that with the environment that’s going on right now, we’ve got great opportunities to pick up five to nine seats to take over,” Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise) told The Virginia Star. “That’s one thing you don’t have any control of, but the environment, you know, of Biden and just the overreach by a lot of the Democrats’ bills last year has really focused the independents back our way.”
Governor Ralph Northam’s new mask and vaccine guidelines are reinvigorating Glenn Youngkin’s campaign messaging. On Thursday, Northam announced that state employees need to get vaccinated or be regularly tested for COVID, and said that people in schools need to wear masks.
In response, Youngkin came out strong: “[Northam] actually misstated and misrepresented CDC guidelines in order to declare a mask mandate for school,” he said on WTVR.
While national eyes are focused on the Virginia gubernatorial races, many Virginia political watchers are looking towards the Virginia House of Delegates’ races. There are many competitive races across the Commonwealth, from the crystal waters of Mountain Lake in Giles County, to the muddy waters of the James River in Richmond, to the hot I-66 pavement of Fairfax and Loudoun County, only one thing is for sure.