Election Day 2021 Live Updates: Virginia, New Jersey Governor Races To Be Decided – The Washington Post

Here’s what to know

Many municipalities across the country are holding elections, including Atlanta, Boston and Buffalo. In New York, Democrat Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, faces Republican Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels subway patrol group, in the mayoral race.It’s an off-year for congressional elections, but three new members of Congress will officially or essentially be chosen in special elections: the Democratic primary for Florida’s 20th Congressional District and the general elections in Ohio’s 11th and 15th districts.In Virginia, 49 percent of likely voters favor McAuliffe and 48 percent favor Youngkin, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll released on Friday.Follow The Post’s live election results tonight: Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, mayoral elections, Northern Virginia local elections.Election produces unusually high level of competition for Virginia’s House of DelegatesReturn to menu

With 91 out of 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates contested by both major parties, there will be more races to watch in the commonwealth than there have been in more than 15 years. While the number of contests with both parties running is usually higher in years with gubernatorial elections than in “off-off-year” elections, this year’s numbers are particularly impressive.

Since 2000, Republicans have had an advantage contesting races in the House of Delegates. But that trend was reversed during the Trump years as Democrats fielded more candidates in the wave election of 2017 and again in 2019. That year, they took control of the House and won the Democratic trifecta that currently governs the state.

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Trump, in a last-minute telephone rally, doubles down on his Youngkin endorsementReturn to menu

Former president Donald Trump endorsed Glenn Youngkin Monday night, telling voters that the Virginia Republican will “do a job like nobody can do.”

The message wasn’t delivered in true Trump fashion — on a long speech given on a rally stage — but in a more muted way: over the phone, at night. Trump held a “tele-rally” on the eve of Election Day for Youngkin, who has accepted Trump’s support but has not campaigned alongside him.

In an 11-minute call, Trump told listeners that he has gotten to know Youngkin “well” and that their relationship “is great.”

“The fake news media would like to say something else, because they’d like our big, giant, beautiful base like there’s never been before to not vote as much as they’re going to,” Trump said. “We have a great relationship and he’s a fantastic guy.”

Trump has endorsed Youngkin multiple times, but Youngkin said on Saturday that he would not be engaged in the “tele-rally” as he would be traveling around the state for final campaign stops. The Virginia Republican is facing former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe (D), who has spent the campaign trying to tie Youngkin to the former president. Biden won Virginia in 2020 by nearly half a million votes.

Youngkin has been walking a fine line between pursuing the pro-Trump base and appealing to moderates who probably will decide the outcome of the election.

According to audio of the call obtained by The Washington Post, Trump said Youngkin would be a “great governor.”

“He’s your big Republican leader in Virginia and they’re going to listen to him, and they’re going to respect him, and you’re going to see things happen in Richmond that you wouldn’t have believed, especially with regard to taxes and your children’s education,” he said.

Trump also railed against McAuliffe, saying without evidence that the former governor has “embraced the far left” and will “literally abolish the suburbs as you know them today.”

Trump has repeatedly turned to this false claim, making it central to his reelection campaign, when he alleged that Democrats plan to “destroy” the country’s suburbs and that Biden was a threat to “the American way of life.” Observers have said the messaging echoes segregationist views.

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Voter voices: Anti-Biden sentiment resonates with some reluctant GOP voters in VirginiaReturn to menu

Voters casting ballots for Republicans in Virginia on Tuesday said they were moved partly by Republican Glenn Youngkin’s tax-cut proposal and his comments about education, but also a general dislike of the country’s direction under President Biden.

“Youngkin? I don’t even know his name, to be honest,” Kyrstina Agresta said outside a polling precinct in Loudon County, where she cast a party-line ballot for Republicans.

Agresta, 34, usually doesn’t vote in the governor’s race, but given “everything wrong with the country,” she figured her vote would matter in Tuesday’s election.

She called Virginia taxes “ridiculous” and inflation “absurd.” Youngkin has called for billions in tax cuts. Agresta said, above all, she disagreed with how Democrat Terry McAuliffe had tried to link Youngkin to former president Donald Trump.

“It’s like, get off it, it’s over, someone else is in charge now,” she said.

At Sudley United Methodist Church — a historic congregation on the banks of Bull Run in Manassas — some voters didn’t have much enthusiasm or affection for Youngkin. But they voted for him because he wasn’t a Democrat.

“I’m forced to vote Republican, grudgingly. I don’t even like this guy,” Rick Gutierrez, CEO of a cybersecurity company, said of Youngkin.

Gutierrez called the candidate “self-righteous,” and that as a supporter of abortion rights, he is troubled by Youngkin’s religious views and hopes he won’t make the procedure harder to access in Virginia if he wins the race.

But what motivated Gutierrez’s vote for the Republican was coronavirus policy. “I’m tired of the mandates,” he said.

Gutierrez said that while he is vaccinated, Biden shouldn’t have mandated the vaccine for federal contractors like his company.

John Bloxton, a retiree and church member, said hasn’t voted for a Democrat since Jimmy Carter. He didn’t know much about Youngkin, but he voted straight Republican because of his opposition to Biden saying, “Things have been put in the toilet” since Trump left office.

In deep-blue Alexandria, Evelyn Griswold cast a ballot for Youngkin, praising his support for cutting grocery taxes, promoting charter schools and protecting the state’s “right to work” laws that allow employees to avoid paying dues to unions.

But Griswold, who is in her mid-50s and mostly votes GOP but has supported some Democratic governors in the past, said she was surprised that Youngkin was running such a competitive race.

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Voter voices: National factors at play in Ohio congressional contestReturn to menu

By Kevin Williams12:40 p.m.

GROVE CITY, Ohio — While Franklin County, Ohio, as a whole voted for President Biden in 2020, this conservative corner of the county displays the divides evident in many places where local races go national. In the congressional contest between Democrat Allison Russo and coal executive Mike Carey, most voters in this Republican-leaning bedroom community are citing national issues and personalities.

“Allison Russo stands with [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, and I can’t stand her. Her positions will destroy the country,” said retired pharmacist Joe Grubb, 76. He also criticized Biden’s views on racial issues and questioned his mental capacities.

Yet for every Republican in Grove City blasting Biden, the shadow of former president Donald Trump looms over the ballot for others.

“I voted for Russo because I despise Trump. Trump endorsed Carey and I don’t want anything to do with anyone associated with Trump,” said Judy Farley, 70, a retired schoolteacher who was casting her vote with husband, Lawrence.

“Trump did a lot of damage to our country, he has divided the nation,” she said.

Grove City is an idyllic bedroom community. The skyscrapers of downtown Columbus are visible in the distance, but the streets are small-town with quaint coffee shops, leafy cul-de-sacs, and children running and jumping on a YMCA playground. But the once-local race has gone national, with former vice president Mike Pence stumping for Carey and Biden endorsing Russo. All of the national attention has left some residents weary.

“It’s all just too much,” said Bob Fuller, 62, who works as a groundskeeper. He cast his ballot for Carey, citing national concerns.

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Adventures in N.Y. voting: GOP nominee Sliwa was barred from bringing cat to polling site. Then his ballot jammed.Return to menu

Election officials did not let New York mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa (R) bring his cat, Gizmo, into the polling site.

Sliwa showed up to his Upper West Side polling site carrying Gizmo, a four-week-old kitten that Sliwa said was rescued from being euthanized at an animal shelter, in a red blanket. Gizmo, who appears to be an American shorthair cat, seemed calm as Sliwa spoke to the media before heading into the polling site to cast a vote for himself.

Minutes after he was barred from bringing in the cat, Sliwa tweeted a photo of a “No pets in poll site” sign in his voting location.

“Is this at every poll site? Or just ours?” he asked the city’s Board of Elections. “Interesting …”

The candidate later noted that the sign appeared to have been removed after he went in to vote, a process that took him about an hour and a half due to several mishaps.

According to New York Times reporter Emma Fitzsimmons, who was at the polling site, election officials also asked Sliwa to remove his red jacket — which was emblazoned with his campaign logo — but he refused.

Sliwa encountered more drama at the site. His ballot got jammed in the scanning machine. He told reporters it was a sign of the chaos within the BOE, which gained notoriety earlier this year for its catastrophic handling of the Democratic mayoral primary.

In a statement, Sliwa said he had accompanied his wife to vote on Oct. 23, when early voting opened, and they had no issue going to the polls then while holding a kitten or wearing a campaign jacket. The ballot scanners, though, were also not working properly that day, he said.

“While trying to vote today, suddenly the kitten was a problem, and the jacket was a problem,” Sliwa said. “But one thing remained the same — the scanners were not working. Because of that, it took an hour and a half for me to vote.”

In a video posted as he left his polling site Tuesday, Sliwa asked his supporters to vote.

“If you don’t vote, I have no chance of winning,” Sliwa said. “I’ve never asked you for favors for 42 years of giving service to New York City. Please, come out and vote.”

Sliwa is known for being an avid supporter of animal rights. As campaign season ramped up, he introduced the media and fellow New Yorkers to his 16 cats, who all live in his 320-square-foot studio apartment, according to the New York Times.

The Republican also released a 13-point animal welfare plan for New York that includes an end to the horse carriage industry similar to the one the departing mayor, Bill de Blasio (D), promised and never fulfilled. The plan also includes the creation of a “Department of Animal Welfare.”

Sliwa, a founder of the Guardian Angels subway patrol group, also showed up to the polls Tuesday wearing a red beret emblematic of the group. He told reporters he would pass on the baton as leader of the patrol if elected mayor. Democrat Eric Adams is heavily favored to win the race.

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A bigger, bluer Northern Virginia stands between GOP and governor’s mansionReturn to menu

By Washington Post Staff12:26 p.m.

Twelve years ago was the last time Virginia Republicans won statewide, when Robert F. McDonnell took the Executive Mansion in an 18-point landslide.

Since then, demographic shifts have occurred in the populous northern suburbs of Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. Northern Virginia has grown bigger and bluer, posing a daunting challenge to any Republican running statewide.

The region’s growth has given it greater sway over the state as a whole. The total number of votes cast in Northern Virginia rose from 1.1 million in the 2008 presidential race to 1.4 million last year, when it accounted for 32 percent of the statewide total.

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With no-excuse early voting in Va., 1.2 million cast their ballots over 45 daysReturn to menu

After 45 days of early voting in Virginia, 1.2 million residents of the commonwealth have already cast their ballots in Tuesday’s general election, with races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and delegates at stake.

Most of these voters, about 74 percent, have taken advantage of voting early in person, with the rest choosing to vote by mail. This is substantially more than the 196,000 people who had voted early in the last governor’s election, in 2017. But the introduction of no-excuse early voting has made casting a ballot before Election Day substantially easier and renders any comparison to previous years fraught.

Most early ballots in the commonwealth are coming from the most populous counties. Fairfax County leads the way, with nearly 15 percent of all ballots cast. Chesterfield, Prince William and Loudoun counties follow, each with 5 to 6 percent of the total early vote. Biden won all four counties last year, with particularly large margins in Loudoun, Prince William and Fairfax, which he won by 25, 27 and 41 points, respectively. These three counties together make up nearly a quarter of Virginia’s population.

But it’s worth noting that a different set of counties is punching above its weight in terms of ballot returns. While the absolute numbers are a lot smaller than those seen in Northern Virginia, it’s such counties as Mathews, Goochland and Fluvanna in central Virginia and James City and York in Hampton Roads that are returning more ballots than their share of the voters of Virginia would suggest. Donald Trump won all of these counties in the 2020 presidential election, except for James City, including decisive margins in Mathews (36 percentage points) and Goochland (20 percentage points). However, it’s important to remember that relative to the large urban areas in the north and east of the state, the number of voters in central Virginia is a lot smaller.

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Voter voices: A candidate’s personal touch motivates a first-time voter in Va.Return to menu

Bethany Forte, a 26-year-old nursing student from Clifton, Va., voted for the first time in a local election after Dan Helmer, the Democratic incumbent delegate for Virginia’s 40th House District, came knocking on her door, outlined his policies — abortion access, gun control, voting rights — and urged Forte to vote.

A few days after their interaction, Forte received a card, written and signed by Helmer’s wife, following up and wishing her the best of luck at her nursing school.

“This is my first time voting in a local election,” Forte said. “Usually, I don’t know what’s going on with the politics enough to feel comfortable voting — but I do feel comfortable voting for a candidate that does.”

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Voter voices: In Ohio congressional district, hometown voters come out for Democrat, but Republican also draws supportReturn to menu

By Kevin Williams10:33 a.m.

Ohio’s 15th is a sprawling congressional district that takes in some of Columbus’s most affluent suburbs and stretches deep into the state’s Appalachian region. Ohio State Rep. Allison Russo, a Democrat, and coal industry executive Mike Russo, a Republican, are vying for an open seat in a special election.

A steady parade of voters arrived before the sun rose at the Bryce Eck Activity Center in Upper Arlington to cast votes and continued through the morning. While Trump won the district as a whole in 2020, Upper Arlington, Russo’s hometown, is a blue island in this heavily gerrymandered district. That means the Democratic votes piling up in Upper Arlington will have to keep pace with likely Carey support elsewhere.

Upper Arlington residents Charles Brooks, 74, and Lynne Olson, 70, cast their ballots for Russo. The husband and wife are both retired professors from the nearby Ohio State University.

“Russo is a qualified expert on health care and that is important right now, and she is supporting Biden’s Build Back Better,” Brooks says, citing his reasons for voting for Russo.

Jessica River-Bethel, 40, nutritional aide at the local school, cast her ballot for the hometown legislator, Russo.

“Right now I am voting straight Democrat. I am so disgusted with Republican politics, I want no part of it,” Bethel says.

While Russo seemed to be capturing the most votes in her hometown, Carey supporters weren’t impossible to find.

Marc Studley, 57, and a local business owner, said he voted for Carey as a proxy for his disgust with Biden.

“It is a mess we have at the top. Biden cheated to get in. We have to clean out the cesspool and far-left crud. I am disgusted with everything right now. Trump had this country running like a well-oiled machine,” Studley said.

Eric Adams heavily favored to win New York mayoral race and become city’s second Black mayorReturn to menu

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (D) is the heavy favorite to win New York’s mayoral race Tuesday and become the city’s second Black mayor.

Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1 in New York City, giving Adams a strong advantage against GOP nominee Curtis Sliwa, the founder in 1979 of the Guardian Angels civilian anti-crime patrol group.

Adams, 61, a retired police officer, ran his campaign focusing on issues of particular concern to working-class New Yorkers as well as public safety in the country’s largest city. Embodying a more centrist ideology, his focus on crime distinguished him from some of his more liberal opponents in the primary. Adams has repeatedly spoken personally about policing through the lens of having been a police officer while criticizing his own department in part because of the police brutality he said he experienced as a young Black man.

But Sliwa, 67, the Guardian Angels founder, argues that he is more in touch with regular New Yorkers than Adams is. He tried to portray Adams as an out-of-touch elitist for taking international vacations and connecting with donors in well-heeled communities such as the Hamptons. But the conservative had to apologize for falsely claiming that he was kidnapped decades ago and for bragging about faked exploits during his unarmed patrols, making it difficult for him to attract support from fellow New Yorkers. Sliwa is better known today as a radio commenter.

New York hasn’t had a Black mayor in nearly 30 years. The first Black mayor, David Dinkins, served from 1990 to 1993.

Voter voices: Late-night campaign text changes independent voter’s mind in Va.Return to menu

By Jason Harward10:01 a.m.

As of 10 p.m. Monday night, Bikram Singh, 38, was sure he was voting for Glenn Youngkin.

He appreciated Youngkin’s more-moderate views on cultural issues like LGBTQ rights, and, as a self-employed physician, supported the candidate’s taxation plans and free-market views. But that changed after he got a late-night text from the Republican Party that read “Fight for our President” and encouraged a vote for Youngkin.

Singh said that, although he had been receiving similar texts for weeks and ignoring them, the repetition of the message just before Election Day hit him in a different way.

“The resonating with January 6 and saying ‘our president,’ that shifted my vote,” said Singh, a Fairfax County resident who describes himself as independent.

Biden endorses Ohio state Rep. Allison Russo in special electionReturn to menu

President Biden endorsed state Rep. Allison Russo for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District on Monday, as the special election there gains national attention.

Russo, a public health-policy consultant, is facing Trump-backed Republican Mike Carey, a longtime coal lobbyist, in a race for Steve Stivers’s seat representing this working-class Ohio district. Stivers, a Republican who had been serving in the House since 2011, left Congress in May to oversee Ohio’s Chamber of Commerce.

Biden’s last-minute endorsement was first reported by NBC News. In a statement, the president lauded the “daughter of a union carpenter and spouse of a combat veteran.”

“She’s the kind of leader we need as we build back an economy that creates good-paying jobs, delivers more affordable health care and puts middle-class families first,” Biden said.

This congressional race could prove important to Democrats as they seek to make inroads in the state’s suburbs. While Trump won this central Ohio district by 14 percentage points in 2020, Stivers — a more moderate candidate — won by 27 points.

On Twitter, Russo said she’s proud to have Biden’s endorsement.

“I look forward to working with him and both parties to build opportunity for Ohio working families — from creating good-paying jobs to investing in our crumbling infrastructure,” she said.

When to expect results in Virginia’s gubernatorial electionReturn to menu

Most Virginia election officials will begin posting the tallies for absentee ballots first, most likely soon after polls close at 7 p.m. That is largely due to a law passed by the General Assembly this year that requires election officials to begin preprocessing absentee ballots — or confirming their validity and then scanning them into a voting machine — at least seven days before Election Day.

Last year, election officials didn’t begin processing the bulk of their absentee ballots until after polls closed, resulting in long delays in reporting those results. As a result, the first ballots counted were in-person votes cast on Election Day — only 40 percent of all votes cast — which favored President Donald Trump. But this was only a feature of how ballots were counted. Once localities finished processing early ballots, Trump’s apparent lead dissipated around midnight and Biden was ahead in Virginia. Biden ultimately won the state by 10 percentage points.

Barring any unforeseen complications, the Election Day ballot counts should be posted soon after the absentee ballot counts. Some local officials estimate — but don’t guarantee — that will be at about 9 p.m.

Crime is a major issue in the Atlanta mayor’s raceReturn to menu

Most polls show former mayor Kasim Reed and City Council President Felicia A. Moore, both of whom are Black, as front-runners. Yet many voters remain undecided, and in recent days, there have been signs that council member Andre Dickens, who also is Black, is gaining momentum.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 2, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election on Nov. 30.

The city’s crime surge has dominated the race. Atlanta has recorded at least 129 homicides this year, a 15 percent increase on the same time last year and a 63 percent increase on the same period two years ago. Several of the killings were especially heinous, including the stabbing death of a 40-year-old woman who was walking her dog in a popular Midtown park.

But another major issue has emerged: Reed’s bid to regain his old job has been dominated by questions about corruption that surrounded his tenure in city hall. A half dozen of his aides either have pleaded guilty or are awaiting trial on charges including tax fraud and accepting bribes. The former two-term mayor has not been charged, and his lawyers have insisted that he is not under federal investigation.

But his opponents in the race, as well as some influential Atlantans, say the lingering ethical questions make him unsuitable to lead the city as it seeks to calm roiling economic, social and political crises. The question of who can lead and protect Atlantans — including a Black population that has been a backbone of its progress over the past 30 years — dominates discussions as the city is at what some say is a political and cultural crossroads.

“We really need a mayor who is a visionary,” said Oscar Harris, 78, a retired architect who over the past 40 years has helped design more than $4 billion of projects that helped Atlanta transform itself from a sluggish Southern town into powerhouse American city. “The growth is happening so fast,” said Harris, who is Black. “We’ve got to know where we are going, and the next mayor has to be in front directing that.”