Key insights from Virginia’s 2023 primary foreshadow a challenging 2024 contest.

Virginia’s 2023 Primary Election Sets the Stage for a Fiery Showdown

The 2023 primary election in Virginia has set the stage for an intense battle between Democrats and Republicans. Both parties believe they have a viable path to wrestle control away from each other and take over the legislature.

On one side, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) and his Republican allies are pouring large amounts of resources into donations and ad campaigns. They are blasting Democrats on everything from crime to the economy. Meanwhile, Democrats are leaning on social issues such as abortion and major donations to regain the seats lost to the GOP in 2021.

Nobody Had a Better Night Than Glenn Youngkin

Glenn Youngkin had a remarkable night during the primary. As the governor of the Old Dominion, he faces the challenge of pursuing his conservative agenda with a split legislature. Republicans control the House, while Democrats hold the Senate.

Here are the three key takeaways from Virginia’s 2023 primary that will shape the upcoming general election in November and set the stage for 2024:

  1. Parties Moving Away from Extreme Opinions

Tuesday’s primary showed that constituents are ready to move away from extreme opinions in both parties. Two incumbents championing fringe ideas were booted out of the general election.

Democratic state Sen. Joe Morrissey lost his reelection bid to former Democratic state Del. Lashrecse Aird for state District 13 by a large margin. Morrissey’s controversial anti-abortion stance played a significant role in his defeat.

GOP state Sen. Amanda Chase, known for describing herself as “Trump in heels,” narrowly lost her primary to former Republican state Sen. Glen Sturtevant in state District 12. Chase’s support for the Jan. 6 rioters and clashes with fellow Republicans cost her major endorsements.

The loss of these incumbents signals a shift away from far-right policies that have hindered Republican victories in the past. It poses a decision for national Republicans in 2024: swing toward far-right ideals or support more centrist candidates.

  1. Youngkin’s Success in the Primary

The primary election was a significant milestone for Youngkin’s agenda at both the state and national levels. Republicans aim to take control of the Senate and achieve a trifecta. Youngkin endorsed 19 candidates in the primary races, and every single one emerged victorious, unlike former President Donald Trump’s track record.

Youngkin’s endorsement of state Del. Tara Durant, who defeated a vocal opponent of COVID-19 restrictions, showcased his influence. If Youngkin were to enter the 2024 presidential election, his primary wins and legislative successes would bolster his campaign, similar to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL).

  1. Money Still Plays a Role

Virginia’s legislature races have attracted attention from national figures and big donors. In the months leading up to the election, more than $20 million has been raised in cash and other donations. Democratic candidates have outraised their GOP counterparts, with $14 million of the $22 million total coming from Democrats.

Democrats faced more Senate nomination contests than Republicans, with many delegates opting to run for Senate to avoid primary battles with their House colleagues. The top fundraisers were all Democrats, with Lashrecse Aird leading the pack. Large donors, such as Dominion Energy and Clean Energy Fund, entered the race to aid Democrats.

The 2023 primary may not have focused on climate and energy-related policies, but these issues could come into play on the national political field in 2024. The Clean Virginia Fund, for example, supported liberal Democratic candidates to counterbalance donations from Dominion Energy.

Click here to read more from The Washington Examiner.

" Conservative News Daily does not always share or support the views and opinions expressed here; they are just those of the writer."

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