RICHMOND, Va. - Republican Glenn Youngkin mobilized voters with concerns over race and education and made slight gains with suburban voters and other key groups to improve on Donald Trump’s poor showing last year and win election as Virginia governor. That's according to a survey of voters, AP VoteCast.
“I really believe that it's the parents who have the ultimate voice and say in what their kids are learning and the environments that they're in, in school," Henrico parent Carrie Mullins said.
Mullins, who homeschools her four girls, said she believed as Youngkin would look out for their best interests.
"You can go to public, private, or homeschool. And I think he values all three of those things," she said.
She said she strongly disagreed with Democrat Terry McAuliffe's statement about parents not telling schools what to teach.
"For him to actually come out and say it, it’s like this is what we’ve been fighting against," she said.
Chesterfield parent Carolyn Ferraro said she voted for Youngkin because his values aligned with her values when it came to transgender bathroom policies and critical race theory in schools.
"That's not my worldview that I want my children to have. My children are taught content of character," Ferraro said. "I don't want to ban books, I don't want to erase history, I want to have those things taught at age-appropriate levels.”
Developed in the 1970s and '80s, critical race theory is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism. It centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people.
What excited Ferraro and Mullins about Youngkin has concerned Judi Baker.
“I think there could be some censorship of libraries," Baker said. "Some manipulation of American history, leaving out what people don't want to be written.”
Julie Hains said she felt some of Youngkin's talking points about education have been blown out of proportion.
“It’s an easy thing to be like, oh let’s focus on that. I feel like we made some progress and this is heading back again," she said.
Some parents said common ground was possible, no matter how you voted.
"I hope that those parents can be excited about the opportunity for freedom for their family," Mullin said.
"We need to work together as a community, parents, and teachers, administrators come together," Ferraro said. "These are kids, this is our future."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.