LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — In the county where concerned parents helped land Gov. Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia governor’s mansion, parental rights in education as well as inflation continue to be central concerns for GOP voters, while Democrats tend to cite fears about Donald Trump and the “erosion of democracy” and a desire for “moderation” as their top issues.
Here’s what voters told The Federalist as they left the polls.
Inflation, Education Top GOP Concerns
Loudoun County residents Tina and Stuart Nokes own a painting business and used to have kids in Loudoun County Public Schools. They voted for Republican Hung Cao for his “prior military experience” and because he “supports parental involvement in the schools, which has been a big issue here in Loudoun County,” Tina told The Federalist.
Tina said she “definitely, big time” blames the Biden administration for the economic woes they’ve observed. Their leads are down while their material prices are rising. “We had four price increases during Covid,” she said. “As a business, we don’t raise our prices so ‘hey, we make more money!’ We raise our prices so we can keep up with inflation for our workers, so we can continue to pay our bills.”
“Those price increases get passed on, and to call companies greedy for raising prices is an idiotic thing,” Stuart added.
“We would have had inflation anyways, but the excessive government spending that the administration brought in, they [Trump and Biden] both created potential for inflation, but when they just continued the excessive spending that created more inflation,” he said. “And then to stop the whole petrochemical industry has been a terrible, terrible move.”
Another voter, Sandra Huff, also cited education and the economy as central problems. “My son graduated years ago, and the schools were great here,” she said.
“I used to be a Democrat, a hard Democrat,” Huff said, noting family members who were former Democrat state senators. She switched to the Republican Party six years ago because “the Democrats are not what they used to be.”
“I did follow [what happened in Loudoun County schools last year] because I have grandkids,” she told The Federalist, referring to the battle between parents and the Loudoun County School Board over school closures, radical left-wing concepts taught in taxpayer-funded schools, and a scandal involving the school board’s coverup of the rape of a female student by a 15-year-old boy wearing a skirt in the girls’ bathroom. “My daughter is teaching her kids at home now. She started during Covid, and then she did not put them back in the schools.”
“It upset me a lot when they said they weren’t going to teach any of the advanced math classes,” Huff added. “My kids have always been in all advanced everything, I think it’s good for all the kids. I don’t understand why we have to bring the standards down.”
She also cited schools pushing critical race theory and the transgender agenda as problems. “The schools should not be telling the parents how to raise their children.”
Adam Davis and his wife came to vote with their baby in a stroller. They voted for Hung Cao because, Adam said, they were “looking for some change in Loudoun County.” The couple is “pretty middle of the pack,” he noted, but “we like things to get shaken up every once in a while.”
Davis said he hopes to see Congress “stop sending so much money overseas, especially focus more of the money on the American people,” and “specifically in Loudoun County, I guess give a little more power back to the parents.”
Crime, the border crisis, and the growing radicalism of the LGBT lobby also made Republican voters’ list of concerns.
Eid Ibrahim said he’s been in the United States for almost 12 years now, and voted red because “Republicans [are] working to keep the United States as it should be” and because he doesn’t agree with LGBT activism. “God created us in specific ways,” he said. “Freedom doesn’t mean you can do anything.”
Richard Blessing cited the economy and crime as reasons why he voted for Republican candidates. “I think we need Congress to cut taxes, we need Congress to make laws that make sense for everybody, and quit mucking around as far as playing games with money and lobbying and things like that, and work for the people,” he said.
Richard Moore voted for Republicans and is concerned about “immigration, open border, [and] crime,” as well as the fact that it “seems like there’s an attack on the election process.” He’s “not at all” happy with the Biden administration. “It’s really upsetting,” he told The Federalist. “I’ve never seen so much destructive policies to the country.”
Military veteran Don Wetzel voted for fellow veteran Cao. He wants to see an expansion of the electric car industry but, in the meantime, more oil production where it’s needed. “And like probably most people, I’d like to see some action on inflation,” he said. “It’s really going up.”
Trump and ‘Democracy’ Worry Democrats
Wafaa Elmahgob, a teacher, told The Federalist she voted for Democrats because “whoever believes in Trump, I don’t support,” calling the former president “evil” and “a disease.”
“I’m not very happy with Democrats but I don’t have much choice,” she said. “The problem is, [politicians] are completely left or completely right, there isn’t something in the middle.”
Citing abortion as an example, she said, “I am with the women’s rights, but at the same time, as long as I’m not with, you know, killing a fetus.” As an immigrant herself, she said she wants to help immigrants but isn’t for “extremely, completely open” borders. She also doesn’t think Democrats are doing enough on gun control, and she worries about weapons in her classroom.
Paul is another Loudoun County Public Schools employee who voted for incumbent Rep. Jennifer Wexton, Cao’s opponent, and criticized the Trump presidency as “horrendous.” He and his wife, who also works for LCPS, said they are “very” happy with the school district.
A woman who voted for Democrat Wexton but declined to give her name simply explained her vote with the sentiment: “I’m not a Trumpster.”
Lance M., an immigrant from Canada, also voted for Wexton, citing a desire for Democrats to retain the House and concerns about “some of the far-right Republican beliefs about the previous election and about seizing control.”
“I just have the feeling that Republicans are trying to change the rules … and actually erode democracy,” he continued. “Anything to me that infringes on democracy is a big problem. … We want real, true freedom, and some of the Republican proposals don’t feel like freedom.” Pressed for details, he said it was “hard to be specific” about which GOP proposals he meant.
He’s “mostly, more happy than unhappy” with how Democrats have run the country the past two years, but “I don’t like the student loan forgiveness part. … It’s unfair to people who have already paid off their loans or people who went into trades.”
Saman Siddiqui said she voted for Democrats “because I think it’s justice for all, just that.” She doesn’t like the Biden administration’s foreign policy, “but other than that I think they’re OK.” In Ukraine and elsewhere, she said, “they don’t need to interfere that much in other countries.”
Siddiqui also cited concerns about racism and “all these extremists, right-wing or left, there has to be moderation.”
Andrea Hart said she voted for Wexton because “there are people that care solely about their own rights, and then there are people who care about helping everyone, and that’s kind of how I feel [Wexton] lines up.”
Rita Labosette believes “we’re doing a fantastic job, we took a mess country and so now we’re trying to fix this.” She voted for Wexton “because I’m a Democrat” and has no complaints about the Biden administration “at all.”
Republican Hung Cao and Democrat Jennifer Wexton are competing for Virginia’s U.S. House District 10.