Though the country was still awaiting the final outcome of the presidential election early Thursday, Democratic nominee Joe Biden had easily won Loudoun County with 61 percent over the vote compared to Republican President Donald J. Trump’s 37 percent.
Biden also handily claimed Virginia’s 13 electoral votes, winning the commonwealth by about 9 or 10 percent of the vote as of late Wednesday.
Despite the global pandemic, voter turnout in Loudoun was an unprecedented 78 percent, or 221,967 votes. More than half of the votes were from either absentee or early voting ballots.
“The LCDC is incredibly proud to support our candidates up and down the ballot,” Loudoun County Democratic Committee Chair Lissa Savaglio said Tuesday night. “The turnout we have seen since the first day of early voting right up until seven o’clock is inspiring. We are so excited to have seen how many of our neighbors wanted to share their vision for the future of our country. Voting is your superpower, and I am beyond proud of the historic turnout we have seen in 2020.”
Sharon Sadler, chair of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, said she hoped the nation’s citizenry remembers what she termed as the positive and solution-oriented message of her party’s candidates.
“President Donald Trump, Aliscia Andrews and Daniel Gade led hard-fought campaigns, but unfortunately, our candidates did not win in Loudoun. We are, however, energized by the engagement and turnout of Loudoun voters in 2020 as this is key to the prosperity in our country,” she said.
Sadler added she hoped that Virginians and all Americans reject divisive rhetoric.
“We are confident that those who stand for common sense and American values will take our commonwealth back in next year’s election,” Sadler said.
Loudoun County has swung blue for the past three presidential elections. In 2016, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won Loudoun with 55 percent of the vote Trump’s 38 percent. In 2012, President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by about 8,000 votes, and Obama carried Loudoun in 2008, as well.
Former Republican Party of Virginia Chairman and local attorney John Whitbeck told the Times-Mirror he believes absentee and early voting was a big factor in the Democratic win.
“This is the fourth year in a row that the explosion of early and absentee voting portended a major Democratic victory. The Dems are beating us in that vote, and we will have a tough time winning until we can figure out how to match that vote,” Whitbeck said.
Since Virginia voters don’t register by party, Whitbeck said it’s difficult to determine how many Democrats outnumber Republicans or vice versa. “It’s guess work,” he said.
Whitbeck said local Republicans — which are outnumbered across the northern Virginia region — need to harness the momentum of the president’s strong performance with minority voters, pointing to his success with the Hispanic population in Florida.
“The most important thing for Republicans to do is to start competing for minority voters. If we don’t do that it cancels out any gains we have in the rest of the state,” he said.
Whitbeck said Republicans also need to court the suburban woman vote.
But the former RPV chairman believes Loudoun County is still a bellwether area and that the pendulum could swing back in the years ahead.
“I wouldn’t say this is a permanent problem, but it’s one we need to turn around pretty quickly if we are going to compete in Loudoun County and statewide in 2021. Republicans must appeal to minority voters if we are going to win. The evidence is clear,” Whitbeck added.
Democratic political pundit and Loudoun County attorney John Flannery said he believes Loudoun continues to have “great strength” for Democratic candidates.
“It has a lot to do with how the candidates conduct themselves, with their ethical demeanor and ability articulating issues. It is important to voters,” Flannery said.
Moving forward, Flannery said the most important thing is to “restore the republic.”
“If Biden wins, it’s an enormous task to restore a respect for law and order and the courts. The results locally are good. I’m hopeful the national results will give us a chance to replace Trump,” he said.
Correction: John Whitbeck is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, not the Loudoun County Republican Committee.