by James C. Sherlock

Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe proved that candidates matter, even in blue states like Virginia.

Jack Ciattarelli and Phil Murphy in yet bluer New Jersey have proven it again, no matter how that dead even race turns out.

I wrote here in early May that Glenn Youngkin and Jason Miyares would not only win the nominations, but go on to win the general election because of the education policies of the Northam administration.

I was proven right about that.

In the same column, however, I predicted that Terry McAuliffe would “read the room” among Virginia voters and ask Northam to fire his education leadership team.

I was wrong. McAuliffe doubled down. I am very happy he did not take my prediction as advice.

I wrote later, having watched nearly all of the campaign, that Terry McAuliffe was the worst retail politician Virginia has seen since Ken Cuccinelli. (I forgot Corey Stewart. I continue to try to forget Corey Stewart.)

That was before McAuliffe invited critical race theory enthusiast and head of the American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten to come down here for his last rally. He then put an exclamation point on his campaign by calling for fewer White teachers.


I knew Glenn Youngkin peripherally when he was in high school with my son. His reputation there was as a very bright, focused, nice, honorable and extremely tough young man.

He was a person of faith, but did not wear it on his sleeve. And no Virginia high schooler wanted to fight him for a rebound.

He grew to be an enormously successful businessman at a young age. Early in his 50’s he resigned, not to pursue the pleasures he and his family could well afford, but to bring his skills and values to public life.

I went to his rally here in Virginia Beach on Monday evening.

He has proven a gifted candidate; a happy warrior. If he and McAuliffe had switched party labels, Gov.-elect Youngkin would have won the state easily.

In the cases of Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe, it is hard to separate the man from his message.

Both believe what they said. Each was exactly who he presented himself to be. Each represented where their parties are on the issues.

Glenn Youngkin was simply the better candidate.

By a lot.

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10 responses to “Candidates Matter”

  1. Kathleen Smith Avatar
    Kathleen Smith

    Mr. Sherlock, well said.

  2. vicnicholls Avatar

    I was there on stage Jim – wished we could have met. Would have loved it!

  3. tmtfairfax Avatar

    Two great things. One is many members of the MSM are in true pain today. In their view, voters were too ignorant to follow the all-knowing wisdom of the media. Maybe we should chip in and buy them “Let’s Go Brandon” caps.
    Two, the only candidate I gave money to, Winsome Sears, won election as Lt. Governor.

    1. Yes – candidates do matter…..But where are the feminists and minority
      leaders touting the HISTORIC elections of the first black
      female and Hispanic to State-wide office? Crickets………. the
      silence is deafening, yet says so much.

    2. tmtfairfax Avatar

      Non-white and non-male candidates county only when they stay on the Woke White People’s Plantation — the Democratic Party.

    3. They’re in shock that as a team, they’re not only diverse and inclusive, but Republican.

  4. energyNOW_Fan Avatar

    Good call I give you credit.

  5. I agree. Candidates do matter.

    Throughout the campaign, Terry McAuliffe came across as an angry, arrogant and out-of-touch politician who was egregiously offended that anyone would dare challenge his claim to the governorship that was his for the asking. I honestly believe that he thought all he had to do was strut into the Commonwealth, shout “Donald Trump” 250,000 times, and Virginians would fall all over themselves to elect his majesty in a landslide.

    Mr. Youngkin presented himself as, and appeared to be, a caring, genuine and even-tempered man who was honestly concerned about the issues facing Virginia – not the nation, Virginia. He ran a quiet but highly effective campaign (I thought his campaign was a little too quiet, but obviously I was wrong). Also, unlike Mr. McAuliffe, Mr. Youngkin did not lose his temper at any of the people whose votes he was seeking, no matter how pointed or impolite their questions might be.*

    The contrast between the two men’s approaches to the contest could not have been more stark.


    * I know this is true, because if there was any footage or photos available of Glenn Youngkin yelling at or ridiculing a voter who asked him a pointed question, it would have been run at least 240 times per day (each) on CNN and MSNBC, and it would have been mentioned, with a captioned photo, in every single edition of the Washington Post, from the day the news broke until election day.`

    1. Matt Adams Avatar
      Matt Adams

      Mr. McAuliffe’s campaign was a cringeworthy as when he says Commonwealth with the New York O.

  6. LesGabriel Avatar

    I totally agree that candidates matter, and I believe that the pundits and the press are overlooking a key factor that distinguishes 2021 from 2013 and 2017–the fact that the GOP had official candidates in 98 of the 100 House Districts. Without the additional voters that these candidates brought to their own ballot, and who, for the most part, voted for the top of the ticket, Mr Youngkin may or may not have prevailed. Even if he had, it may have been so close that a recount would have been called for. In the current climate, a disputed election is the last thing we want or need. The GOP wins were a team effort, with statewide campaigns helping and supporting House candidates and vice versa. Most people would be surprised that in Districts that have a House candidate and a Governor of the same party on the ballot, the delegate candidate usually outpolls the Governor. Based on unofficial results, this appears to be true again in 2021.

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