Select Page

Biden rejects blame for shock Virginia election defeat

Biden rejects blame for shock Virginia election defeat

Joe Biden has rejected suggestions that his Democratic party’s shock loss in the Virginia governor’s race was a verdict on his presidency.

Mr Biden argued that the miring of his legislative agenda in a Capitol Hill logjam did not affect the outcome.

He cited “Trump voters”, schools, jobs and petrol prices as other reasons for the surprise defeat of Terry McAuliffe.

Republican Glenn Youngkin, a political newcomer, came from behind to win the Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday.

Meanwhile the New Jersey governor’s race went down to a nail-biting dead heat between the Democratic incumbent, Phil Murphy, and a little-known Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli.

But the Associated Press news agency reported on Wednesday that Mr Murphy has won that race.

During Wednesday’s White House press conference, Mr Biden was asked whether he accepted any blame for Tuesday’s result.

He said voters are “upset and uncertain about a lot of things”, including the pandemic, education, the economy and the price of petrol.

Mr Biden conceded Democrats should have passed his signature $1.75tn (£1.3tn) package of social and climate programmes and a $1tn infrastructure bill before Tuesday’s election.

He added: “But I’m not sure I would be able to have changed the number of very conservative folks who turned out in the red districts who were Trump voters.”

Rising inflation, a slow economic recovery, and a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan have also hit Mr Biden’s approval rating.

He is one of the most unpopular presidents ever at this point during a first term, according to opinion polls.

Mr Biden returned from a climate conference in Scotland early on Wednesday to news of the defeat in a Democratic stronghold.

Mr Youngkin, a former executive with the private equity firm Carlyle Group, narrowly defeated Mr McAuliffe in a state that Mr Biden won by 10 points just a year ago.

Two other Republicans won the other top offices in Virginia.

Former US Marine Winsome Sears will be the first black female lieutenant governor of the state, which was the former seat of the pro-slavery Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Cuban-American Jason Miyares becomes the first Latino attorney general of Virginia.

More on this story