decision 2021

Miyares Wins Virginia Attorney General Race, NBC News Projects

Mark Herring, who had sought a third term, conceded to Jason Miyares after a race that was too close to call for much of Wednesday

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Virginia’s current attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring, has conceded to GOP rival Jason Miyares, a delegate from Virginia Beach.

NBC News projected Miyares the winner Wednesday. Miyares, the son of a Cuban immigrant, had declared victory earlier, saying he is now the first Latino to be elected statewide in Virginia.

“I can't wait to go to work with Gov. Youngkin and Lt. Gov. Sears for you,” Miyares said.

The race had been too close to call for much of Wednesday, but shortly after 5 p.m., Herring released a statement saying in part, "This afternoon I called Jason Miyares to congratulate him on his victory and assure him that my team and I will do all we can to ensure a smooth and effective transition."

At that point, about 96% of precincts were reporting, with 51% of the votes going to Miyares.

On Twitter, Miyares posted, "We've made history, Virginia. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. It's the greatest honor of my life - and I can't wait to get started."

Republicans had struggled in Virginia over the past decade — Democrats have won every statewide election since 2009. But all three Republican candidates this year broke that streak.

Political newcomer and businessman Glenn Youngkin won the governor's race, NBC News projected, and Winsome Sears won the lieutenant governor’s race, NBC News projected, becoming the first woman and the first woman of color to do so.

Voters chose between two women for a post that has been held by men for as long as the state has existed.

Sears, who served in the legislature for a single term two decades ago and was attempting a political comeback, beat Democrat Hala Ayala, a delegate from Woodbridge.

Sears is set to succeed Justin Fairfax, who unsuccessfully ran in June's primary to determine the Democratic candidate for governor.

Both the attorney general and the lieutenant governor posts have served as launching pads to the governor's mansion. Half of the past 10 lieutenant governors in Virginia have gone on to be governor. The previous nine elected attorneys general all ran for governor.

The marquee election Tuesday was the gubernatorial race, which Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin won, defeating former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, NBC News projected.

Tuesday night, at a Republican party attended by both Youngkin and Sears, supporters were upbeat, singing, waving signs and dancing. While the watch party had yet to erupt in a victory celebration, there was enough volume and movement to make the floor of the second-floor ballroom shake occasionally.

Democrats, on the other hand, cleared out quickly from a joint party with statewide candidates after McAuliffe made an appearance and simply stated that votes still remained to be counted without claiming victory or conceding defeat.

Jurisdictions throughout the state reported high turnout, with roughly 3.3 million ballots tallied by 3 a.m. Wednesday. That greatly exceeded the 2.6 million ballots cast in the last gubernatorial election in 2017, which itself was a high turnout year. The turnout in 2017 was in part a backlash to Donald Trump’s 2016 election. Democrats swept all three statewide elections in 2017.

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Associated Press writers Brian Witte in Chantilly, Virginia, and Alexandra Jaffe in McLean, Virginia, contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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