Republican victories in recent municipal elections reflect the success of resistance to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 lockdown policies and gun control laws enacted by Democrats in the legislature, GOP leaders said.
Republicans last week flipped control on the city council in the Democratic stronghold of Staunton by winning three seats. The Shenandoah Valley city of about 25,000 people has recently backed Democrats for high office, including presidential nominees Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. Northam won the city in his 2017 election, as did his Democratic gubernatorial predecessor, Terry McAuliffe.
“The Democrat turnout was higher [than in recent years], but clearly, the Republican motivation was significantly higher and obviously flipping that [Staunton] City Council, same thing, and Waynesboro and the city of Radford,” Virginia Republican Chairman Jack Wilson told the Washington Examiner about GOP municipal gains in similar-sized cities located, respectively, in the center of the state and its far southwest region.