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Tight race in Virginia gubernatorial showdown with three weeks till election

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Tuesday marks three weeks to go till Election Day in Virginia, and the top-of-the- ticket race stays a particularly shut contest in certainly one of simply two states to carry gubernatorial elections within the yr after a presidential contest.

A median of the newest polls within the race signifies that former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe – who’s operating for his {old} job – holds a slight, single-digit edge over Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin in a state that President Biden received by 10 factors in final yr’s election and the place Republicans have not received a statewide contest in a dozen years. 


The {Cook} Report, a high nonpartisan political handicapper, three weeks in the past shifted its rating of the race from “lean Democratic” to “toss up.”

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Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican nominee, Glenn Youngkin, take part of their debate at Northern Virginia Group School, in Alexandria, Virginia, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. (AP Picture/Cliff Owen)

The margin-of-error race in Virginia – a one-time key battleground however nonetheless aggressive state which is seen as a key bellwether forward of the 2022 midterm elections – has nationwide Democrats on edge as they defend their razor-thin majorities within the Home of Representatives and Senate in subsequent yr’s contests.

“Of us, the Virginia Governor’s race is a giant deal not only for the Commonwealth however for our nation,” Biden wrote to supporters in a fundraising e mail. And McAuliffe requested in a fundraising e mail final week, “Are we blowing this?”

Virginia and New Jersey’s elections for governor all the time seize outsized consideration as they’re the one states to carry such contests the yr after the presidency’s determined. And there’s a long-running pattern of voters within the commonwealth defeating the gubernatorial nominee of the social gathering that controls the White Home. McAuliffe broke with that custom in 2013 together with his election as governor. McAuliffe was unable to run for reelection in 2017 as a result of Virginia governors are barred from serving two straight phrases.


McAuliffe’s lead over Youngkin, a first-time candidate and former CEO of a giant personal fairness agency, began shrinking over the summer season amid the sinking of Biden’s approval scores on account of criticism of the president’s dealing with of the turbulent U.S. exit from Afghanistan, the surge in COVID-19 {cases} this summer season primarily amongst unvaccinated folks as a result of unfold of the extremely infectious delta variant, and the newest surge of migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. alongside the southern border with Mexico.

And the lack thus far by the White Home and congressional Democrats – on account of an intraparty battle between progressives and average Democrats on Capitol Hill – to agree on the social gathering’s huge social spending, human infrastructure and local weather change bundle, in addition to a bipartisan infrastructure invoice – has compelled McAuliffe to criticize his personal social gathering.

The previous governor’s repeatedly mentioned it’s time for lawmakers in Washington “to cease their little chitty-chat up there, and it is time for them to cross it.”

Biden’s approval scores in Virginia have deteriorated, and McAuliffe, in a current video convention clip that Republicans spotlighted, acknowledged that “we face lots of headwinds from Washington, as you already know. The president is unpopular in the present day, sadly right here in Virginia, so now we have acquired to plow by way of.”


The most recent surveys point out that Republican voters are extra motivated than their Democratic counterparts.

“Complacency pushed by what’s occurring in Washington and with the Biden administration is the most important risk to McAuliffe and is the driving motive why we moved the race to a toss-up final week,” Jessica Taylor, the Senate and governors editor for the highest nonpartisan handicapper The {Cook} Political Report with Amy Walter, informed Fox Information lately.

McAuliffe’s attempting to energise Democrats – urging them to forged a poll throughout ongoing early voting. He’ll crew up on the marketing campaign path subsequent weekend with voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia Home Democratic chief who in 2018 made historical past as the primary Black girl gubernatorial nominee of a significant political social gathering. However he’s additionally repeatedly linked Youngkin to former President Donald Trump, who stays deeply unpopular with many Virginia voters.


McAuliffe consistently calls Youngkin, who’s been endorsed by the previous president, a “Trump wannabe,” and doesn’t miss a chance at marketing campaign occasions, interviews and throughout the two debates between the nominees to tie Youngkin to Trump. 

On Monday, the McAuliffe marketing campaign went up with a new digital ad accusing Youngkin of “placing Trump’s agenda first.”

David Richards, political science chair on the College of Lynchburg, mentioned that “Youngkin has been operating a reasonably first rate marketing campaign as he’s tried to steer in direction of the center. He’s adroitly not alienated the Trump followers and he’s appealed to that center voter.”


And Richards questioned McAuliffe’s Trump technique, asking, “How scary is Trump proper now? He isn’t on Twitter, he’s not on the information each evening. He’s not the bogeyman that he was final yr for Democrats.”

Richards pointed to geography, noting that the election will likely be received or misplaced on account of turnout within the closely populated areas of northern Virginia and the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, in addition to among the bigger cities like Richmond, Roanoke, Lynchburg or Charlottesville.

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