Last week, the 2021-22 United States gubernatorial elections began. According to BallotPedia, the majority of U.S. states will hold gubernatorial elections throughout 2022, including three U.S. territories. Of the 36 states with elections next year, 20 states have Republican incumbents and 16 have Democratic incumbents.
Virginia and New Jersey were the first to elect new state governors during their elections on Tuesday, Nov. 2. These two states may have given the country a small taste of what to expect from the gubernatorial elections next year.
According to an NBC News story from Nov. 2, Virginia always holds their elections for state governor in the year directly following a presidential election. Because of that, Virginia is considered by some as a political bellwether. PoliticalDictionary.com defines a political bellwether as a “geographic area whose political beliefs and voting preferences reflect that of a wider area.”
Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who was governor of Virginia from 2014-2018, and Republican Glenn Youngkin were the frontrunners for the election. According to NBC News, Youngkin defeated McAuliffe in the election last week, “flipping control of a state that President Joe Biden won handily just a year ago.” Youngkin will become the 74th Governor of Virginia in January 2022.
Meanwhile in New Jersey, voters waited anxiously for the results of an extremely close race. Although New Jersey has more registered Democrats than Republicans, the state’s independent voters leaned Republican for this election, NPR reported in an article updated on Nov. 3.
“The extremely tight race was perhaps the biggest surprise out of Tuesday’s elections,” the same NPR story stated.
Democrat Governor Phil Murphy has been the governor of New Jersey since 2018, and he ran against Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli. According to NPR, Murphy beat Ciattarelli in the race on Tuesday night, gaining 51% of the votes and becoming the first Democratic governor to be reelected in New Jersey since 1977.
Voters across the country should stay up-to-date as more states hold elections in the upcoming year. Websites like Ballot Pedia and the National Governors Association have maps and charts that are updated frequently, and news channels like NBC and CNN will be reporting on the elections to keep voters informed. As well as reporting on local and Samford news, The Crimson also aims to educate students on national news.