“Trump wants to win here so he can declare himself president for 2024,” McAuliffe said at Sunday’s start of the vote in Manassas. “It’s the stake of this election. He wants to get off the carpet.” At the same event, spokeswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) – who changed the seat of the House of Representatives in the 2018 wave – said Republicans were “testing” messages in Virginia for the 2022 interim terms.
Virginia’s governorship race out of the year has long been considered a political barometer ahead of mid-term terms. Polls in the last days of the race show that the two candidates have stalled. McAuliffe is trying to turn to history: for decades, the gubernatorial candidate, whose party won the White House last year, lost in Virginia, the only exception being McAuliffe’s close victory in 2013.
But Virginia is now a significantly bluer country than it was eight years ago, which has shaped the way both candidates campaign. Democrats have worked relentlessly to nationalize the race, almost from the moment McAuliffe won the nomination in June. Youngkin is linked to Trump, who backed the GOP nominee, both on the bill and in television advertising, in hopes of re-strengthening Democratic voters who are less and less enthusiastic than Republicans this year.
McAuliffe called on Democrats from across the country to stand up for him. This includes the strongest attackers: President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama have been tormented for him over the past 10 days. It also hit a larger network that included everyone from Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams to Energy Minister Jennifer Granholm, former Michigan governor, and Senator Alex Padilla (D-California).
In addition to Trump, Virginia Democrats are also quick to point to Republican-controlled states as what the Commonwealth might expect, hoping to serve as a warning sign for Democrats.
“Texas, for sure,” State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a Democrat defeated by McAuliffe in the gubernatorial election, said in a brief interview at the Richmond event, citing an almost complete abortion ban in the state and restrictive voting laws. McClellan said that suffrage in particular was a motivation for black voters and that widespread state voting was “on the ballot.”
Youngkin has given a boost in recent weeks and his allies say Trump’s attacks are not holding up. “I think Republicans are really watching Glenn and Democrats are watching Terry,” Rich Anderson, president of the state Republican Party, told POLITICA at the campaign stop at the Fredericksburg festival this weekend. “And I think either the president – current or former – has only a small impact on the end result, I really have it.”
Youngkin largely avoided national substitutes. During his last bus tour, his campaign states that he didn’t have to bring in big names to attract crowds.
This primarily includes Trump. Democrats hoped to lure him to visit the country. Trump is scheduled to host a teleconference on Monday night, and Youngkin told reporters on Saturday that he has no plans to participate.
“I wasn’t involved in it,” he said. “But the teams are talking, I’m sure.”
Early personal voting ended on Saturday in Virginia, where more than 1.1 million people voted early this year. data from a non-partisan Virginia public access project. These early votes are expected to tip the Democratic Party – but this is the first gubernatorial election in which both early personal and postal voting are available to all voters in Virginia, and it is unclear whether Democrat turnout will be enough to overcome enthusiasm. GOP.
In the final days of the race, the campaign revolved around cultural struggles, especially in the field of education. Youngkin’s campaign has largely focused on schooling, posing a defense against “critical racial theory” – a legal theory that has become universal for conservatives about how race is taught in school – and opposing officials who mishandle the couple of alleged sexual assault by a student in Loudoun County.
Some conservatives have used these attacks to attack accommodations for transgender students who are unlikely to be linked to the allegations and install months later the first alleged attack. The suspect’s lawyer also said it was incorrect to describe his client as “sexually fluid” or transgender. Youngkin himself did not expose these connections during a speech condemning him to school officials for dealing with the allegations. The juvenile court recently found the student accused attack guilty in one case, another case is pending.
Each Youngkin event features “Parents for Youngkin” signs and is also visible on the roads. The promise to invest in accelerated math programs and advanced degrees was a sure applause for Youngkin, overshadowed only by cheering for his promise to ban critical race theory in schools, which became a Republican call at the national level.
“In addition to having a tea party in 2009 … Virginia Governor’s Races in 2013 and 2017 [had] he didn’t really have the special focus that this race had, ”said Noah Wall, who eight years ago was a senior official in Republican Ken Cuccinelli’s failed candidacy for governor and is now executive vice president at FreedomWorks. “We had no idea how this was going to come down and focus [the race]. ”
Democrats, meanwhile, grabbed one of Youngkin’s last ads. In the ad is a mother who requested an invoice which would inform parents if “explicit content” was assigned and give them the option to exclude students, to which McAuliffe vetoed. A reading assignment that inspired the parenting path? The Pulitzer Prize-winning “Beloved” by Tony Morrison, assigned to her then-eldest son in the AP English class. It’s McAuliffe show ads with Youngkin “he wants to ban books by prominent black authors.”
Liberals have also struggled in the country to take advantage of turnout for McAuliff and the remaining lists, with the Democratic Party also trying to maintain a small majority in the lower house of the state legislature. The main challenge for Democrats is to get their voters to speak up on Tuesday, although they are less enthusiastic about politics now that Trump is not from the White House and Biden is struggling to enforce his agenda and tackle a series of crises.
“This is a turnout election,” said D. Taylor, international union president of UNITE HERE, which helps coordinate the efforts of local reflection chapters. “I honestly think if you look at where Virginia is, people like McAuliffe should win. But it all depends on the turnout.”
Republicans, meanwhile, want to return after just one year in the wilds of DC.
“The eyes of the nation are fixed on Virginia,” Youngkin said Saturday in Manassas Park. “As Virginia goes, so does the nation.”
Steven Shepard contributed to this report.