By Zach Armstrong
PETERSBURG, Va -- In the hours and days following several major news outlets announcing that Democratic 2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden being the projected winner of this year’s presidential election, politicians across the commonwealth expressed mixed reactions.
Governor Ralph Northam, whose campaign for office in 2017 was assisted by the former senator from Delaware, congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris by tweeting that “It’s time to come together as a nation to address our challenges and move our country forward. I am looking forward to working with you!”
Other prominent Democratic politicians in Virginia also expressed congratulations and excitement over Biden’s victory. Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) tweeted “Exhale America, we will soon have a President and VP OF the people, elected BY the people, and FOR the people,” also tweeting later that “It will take a long time to heal, but America is no longer bleeding.”
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D) said on twitter that “Joe Biden is going to restore competence, compassion, and character to the White House when he is inaugurated in January--and that a win for ALL Americans,”
Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), who is also running for Governor, attended rally in favor of President Trump in front of the Virginia State Capitol on Saturday calling for “an audit of our Virginia elections” and making accusations against Democrats saying they had stolen the election from Trump and that the current COVID-19 pandemic is nothing more than “an excuse to create a non-transparent process.”
Chase joined other Trump supporters in castigating what she called “the fake media” as independent reporters surrounded her with questions in addition to calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist group and called Gov. Ralph Northam a “tyrant.”
Resentment for the election’s results was not unanimous with other Virginia conservatives. U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-5th District) extended his congratulations to Biden and Harris stating on social media that “We should all work to together in the spirit of helping American as those in ‘loyal opposition’ not hate.”
President Donald Trump has not formally conceded the election as of Sunday after the final results were announced and lawsuits were filed by lawyers for the Trump campaign over ballot counting in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Trump and many other conservatives have expressed concern over absentee and mail-in ballots suggesting the election has been rigged against the incumbent president.
In the days following election day, President Trump made numerous tweets giving uncertainty as to how a transition of power might play out. On Saturday, the president tweeted “I won this election, by a lot!” also adding that day “Bad things happened which our observers were not allowed to see … Millions of mail-in ballots were sent to people who never asked for them!”
With 4.4 million votes counted, Joe Biden scored 13 electoral votes from Virginia winning 54 percent of the commonwealth’s vote. The state had voted against Trump in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016 as well.