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Here's where Republicans must improve in order to win in Virginia

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Glenn Youngkin
Glenn Youngkin speaks at a campaign rally to encourage voters to cast their ballots early Sept. 24, 2021 in Harrisonburg, Va.Win McNamee / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — For Republican Glenn Youngkin to win the upcoming gubernatorial contest in Virginia, he’s got to outperform Ken Cuccinelli’s vote margins from 2013.

That’s when Democrat Terry McAuliffe narrowly defeated Cuccinelli by 2.5 percentage points in that gubernatorial matchup. (It’s also the only time since the 1970s that the party controlling the White House has won this race.)

It means Youngkin needs to keep McAuliffe to 70 percent or below in the Northern Virginia bastions of Arlington and Alexandria; it means he needs to get close to 40 percent of the vote in Fairfax County (NoVa) and Henrico County (Richmond suburbs); he must draw close to even in Loudoun (NoVa exburbs); he’s got to win Chesterfield (Richmond exurbs); and he needs to run up the score in GOP-leaning Fauquier County and Lynchburg.

And that doesn’t even factor in Virginia’s population growth in many of those areas over the last eight years.

Those are some of the county-by-county percentages in a race the GOP lost by 2.5 points in 2013.

Now here’s what 2017’s gubernatorial contest looked like, when the GOP lost by 9 points in the state.

Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and a Jan. 6 flag

So for Youngkin to win in November, he’s got to win over suburban voters who proved to be elusive for Donald Trump, 2017 gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie and 2013 nominee Ken Cuccinelli.

And this kind of event last night doesn’t make Youngkin’s task any easier, as conservative writer Matt Lewis notes.

“Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin steered clear Wednesday night as former president Donald Trump phoned into a rally for the state's GOP ticket, headlined by onetime Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon,” the Washington Post reports.

More from the Post: “‘Glenn Youngkin is a great gentleman,’ Trump said, predicting the Republican will beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe while reiterating his false claim of victory in last year’s presidential election. ‘We won in 2016. We won in 2020 — the most corrupt election in the history of our country, probably one of the most corrupt anywhere. But we’re gonna win it again.’”

And: “The event kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance — to a flag that was present ‘at the peaceful rally with Donald J. Trump on Jan. 6,’ according to Martha Boneta, the Republican emcee of the event.”

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Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

5.9 percent: The increase in Social Security payments because of inflation.

30 percent: How much more the U.S. Department of Energy predicts those heating their homes with natural gas will spend on their heating bill this winter.

50 percent: The share of Americans who approve of President Biden’s job performance, per a new national CNN poll.

90,000: The number of Covid-19 deaths that could have been prevented by vaccination since June, new research suggests.

44,729,015: The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 101,743 more since yesterday morning.)

724,064: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 1,941 more since yesterday morning.)

404,371,247: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC. (That’s 794,421 more since yesterday morning.)

8,903,874: The number of booster vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC. (That’s 355,548 more since yesterday morning.)

56.6 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

68 percent: The share of all U.S. adults at least 18 years of age who are fully vaccinated, per CDC.

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