CNN political commentator Van Jones on Tuesday said the initial tally of Virginia’s gubernatorial race is a “big, big wake-up call” for Democrats after Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin took an early lead over Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Jones said on CNN that he thinks Democrats took Virginia for granted, likely referring to its solid blue turnout in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. The Old Dominion went for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE by more than 5 percentage points in the 2016 race and voted for President BidenJoe BidenUS threatens sweeping export controls against Russian industries Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida US orders families of embassy staff in Ukraine to leave country MORE by more than 10 percentage points last year.
“I think that, you know, the Democratic Party, I mean, everybody that I'm talking to tonight, there's a — this is a big, big wake-up call. I think people took Virginia for granted,” Jones said.
He likened the situation in Virginia to California in September, when Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomVirginia's Youngkin gets the DeSantis treatment from media Equilibrium/Sustainability — Solar-powered cars on the EV horizon Newsom vows crackdown: Rail car looting like 'third world country' MORE (D) was on the ballot for a recall election. Newsom ultimately bested the effort to oust him after Jones said people “got in there and saved Gavin.”
“We took California for granted, but then people, you know, got in there and saved Gavin,” Jones added.
Jones’s comments came as results for Virginia’s gubernatorial race began trickling in, giving Youngkin an early lead over McAuliffe.
The race has been closely watched by individuals both inside and outside the commonwealth, especially after polls in recent days showed the candidates in a dead heat.
The election is also being viewed as a bellwether for next year’s midterm elections, as it is the first time voters are heading to the polls during the Biden administration.
As of 10 p.m., about 30 minutes after Jones spoke, the Virginia gubernatorial race had not been called by any major news outlets or networks, but with an estimated 90 percent of the vote in, Youngkin was leading McAuliffe by roughly 133,000 votes, according to The Associated Press's tally.
Early results show that Youngkin was meeting or overperforming expectations in counties of the commonwealth that he needed to win to secure the governorship. McAuliffe, on the other hand, is underperforming in a number of areas outside the Washington, D.C., Beltway, which is putting him in a precarious position.