Virginia Democrats hope the presidency’s power can help them retain governorship in the closely-watched and hard-fought election less than two weeks away.
RICHMOND, Va (AP) – Virginia Democrats hope the presidency’s power can help them retain governorship in the closely-watched and fiercely contested election less than two weeks away.
Former President Barack Obama planned to campaign with Terry McAuliffe in Richmond on Saturday afternoon, and President Joe Biden joins the Democratic candidate in Northern Virginia on Tuesday. McAuliffe, governor from 2014-2018, is seeking to return to office in the only state where the incumbent cannot earn terms in a row.
His Republican opponent, former private equity chief and first-time candidate Glenn Youngkin, was expected to hold an evening meeting in the suburb of Richmond at the start of a nationwide bus ride.
While New Jersey is also holding a gubernatorial election on Nov. 2, it is the Virginia race that has attracted national attention for indications of voter turnout before next year’s midterm.
Obama visited Virginia’s capital to rally Democrats during Ralph Northam’s 2017 race for governor against Republican Ed Gillespie, who lost by about 9 percentage points.
Other high-profile Democrats have come to the state in recent days to press the issue of McAulife’s candidacy. They include suffrage activist Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Vice President Kamala Harris, who told a crowd Thursday night: “This race is tight.”
Biden campaigned with McAuliffe in July during the summer.
Youngkin has generally ruled outside supporters from the outside in the last stretch. His campaign said in a press release that “instead of surrogates” the bus ride would include “ordinary virgins” who will talk about how they think they would benefit from Youngkin’s tax and political proposals.
Youngkin’s campaign has not responded to questions from The Associated Press about whether former President Donald Trump has been asked to campaign in Virginia with Youngkin or on his behalf. Trump has repeatedly supported Youngkin and convened a rally hosted by a right-wing radio host this month to urge the crowd to vote for him.
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