Youngkin stormed into Richmond with an assertion of executive power that has thrilled the GOP base but caught even some allies off guard, and he has made clear that he views his two-point margin of victory as a mandate for conservative change.
Republican lawmakers say they’re energized by the fast start. “November’s election was a call for change in the commonwealth, and, like a lot of voters across Virginia, I’m excited to see that our governor has hit the ground running on Day One,” House Majority Leader Terry G. Kilgore (R-Scott) said…
“I was wondering if he would be more like DeSantis or Larry Hogan,” said longtime Richmond political analyst Robert Holsworth, referring to hard-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Maryland’s more moderate Republican governor. “But he really started with the culture wars, and, I think, in doing so, he has lost some political capital that he might have had with the Democrats.”
It’s a sharp turn for a state that had trended steadily blue for more than a decade and carries political risk for Youngkin. Although Republicans won a narrow majority in the House of Delegates, Democrats still have an edge in the Senate — giving them power to put the brakes on Youngkin’s agenda during the legislative session that began earlier this month.