By Brandon Moseley

Virginia voters went to the polls and elected Republican Glenn Youngkin as their next governor. This gubernatorial race in a state hundreds of miles away seems like a nonissue to most Alabamians. The Youngkin victory, however, was actually planned and partially financed by the Alabama Republican Party.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl announced earlier this year an ambitious plan to raise money in order to send Alabama political ground troops to campaign in districts outside of Alabama, where Republicans appear to have a chance of victory.

Former President Donald J. Trump’s (R) visit to the state earlier this summer was a major fundraiser for the ALGOP’s Operation Restore America campaign. The dollars raised there were used to fund the future mission of the Mighty Alabama Strike Force to other states.

The goal of Operation Restore America is to win back control of Congress from the Democrats in 2022 and take back the White House for the GOP in 2024, but the Virginia race was seen as a testing ground for this strategy.

The Alabama Republican Party said on Oct. 14, “We are so proud of the work the Mighty Alabama Strike Force has done in Virginia these last couple of days. In addition to canvassing for Republican Gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, they’ve been campaigning for Senator Jen Kiggans, who is running for Congress. Thank you for the mighty effort! #RestoreAmerica.”

Joan Reynolds is Chair of the Shelby County Republican Party and the head of the Strike Force. The group was deployed successfully to Florida in both 2020 and 2016.

As of press time, with 94.99 % precincts Reporting and 99% of expected votes in, Youngkin had 1,677,436 votes (50.67%) to Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s 1,610,142 votes (48.64%). Princess Blanding received 22,759 votes (0.69%).

Virginia has been trending Democratic for some time now. The state supported Joe Biden in 2020 and Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to reported votes. Exit polls showed that most Virginians disapprove of Biden’s job performance and the President’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates hurt him with federal employees, which are a big part of the Democratic coalition in the state of Virginia.

The Alabama Republican Party hopes to raise more money so that they can send more volunteers to swing Congressional districts in 2022. The GOP is hoping to swing a Senate seat to gain back control of the Senate and win five seats in the House which would give them control of the House of Representatives.

(Original reporting by The Hill contributed to this report.)