Biden puts focus on Trump in homestretch of tight Virginia gubernatorial race

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden campaigned Tuesday evening for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe within the last stretch of a race that might function an early indicator of Democrats’ prospects in subsequent 12 months’s midterm elections.

Biden, who has hardly ever talked about former President Donald Trump by title since taking workplace, took direct intention at his predecessor by saying Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin would additional Trump’s agenda.

“Terry’s opponent not solely embraces somebody with such lack of character, he endorses Donald Trump’s dangerous concepts and dangerous file,” Biden mentioned. “At the moment’s Republican Celebration nationally is for nothing.”

President Joe Biden campaigns for democratic candidate for governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe at a rally in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 26, 2021.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Polls present McAuliffe with a slim lead over Youngkin, a former personal fairness govt and a first-time candidate. The identical surveys additionally point out that Republicans are extra motivated to vote, leaving Democrats scrambling within the last week of the marketing campaign to end up their base in a state Biden gained final 12 months by 10 proportion factors.

McAuliffe had been encouraging members of Congress to cross Biden’s financial agenda — the bipartisan infrastructure invoice, coupled with the Democrats’ social security internet invoice — forward of the Nov. 2 election, in hopes that it will energize Democratic voters within the state.

However with simply days left within the race, there proceed to be main disagreements amongst average and progressive Democrats, notably over key points like paid household go away. Whereas Biden and Democratic management have insisted {that a} deal is shut, it’s wanting much less probably that the president’s agenda will make it by Congress earlier than Tuesday’s election.

Talking forward of Biden, McAuliffe promised Virginians he would ship on a variety of insurance policies together with reasonably priced youngster care, paid sick and household medical go away and reasonably priced prescribed drugs — all objects that seem prone to be scaled again or faraway from the social security internet invoice.

Shortly earlier than the marketing campaign occasion, Biden met on the White Home with Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the 2 Senate Democrats who’ve chipped away at Biden’s “Construct Again Higher” proposal.

Biden, a longtime McAuliffe pal, has been largely faraway from the Virginia governor’s race, attending just one different marketing campaign occasion over summer time. McAuliffe hardly ever mentions Biden on the marketing campaign path, as an alternative focusing his messaging on Trump, whose presidency drove Democrats to the polls in file numbers in 2020.

Youngkin has tried to unite Virginia Republicans and convey collectively each Trump supporters and defectors. Though Youngkin accepted Trump’s endorsement, he has not campaigned with him and has largely centered his consideration on native points.

Biden zeroed in on Youngkin’s relationship with Trump on Tuesday evening.

“He’s keen to pledge his loyalty to Trump in personal, why not in public?,” Biden mentioned. “What’s he making an attempt to cover? Is there an issue with Trump being right here?”

Turnout for Virginia gubernatorial races traditionally drops off in comparison with presidential elections, a development that sometimes disadvantages Democrats. Roughly 3.98 million Virginians participated within the 2016 presidential election, in comparison with 2.61 million within the 2017 gubernatorial contest — a 34 % drop-off. Whereas Gov. Ralph Northam gained in 2017 by Democrat’s largest current victory, turnout had additionally declined the least that 12 months from the earlier presidential election.

Tuesday’s marketing campaign occasion adopted current high-profile appearances by former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, Democratic Nationwide Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison and former Georgia gubernatorial nominee and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.

Virginia, which holds off-year elections together with New Jersey, is usually seen as an early barometer of how a sitting president is doing forward of their first midterm elections.

Democrats have a slim majority within the Home and might want to defend their seats as congressional districts are redrawn this election cycle. If Democrats lose a single seat within the Senate subsequent 12 months, Republicans will take management of the chamber.

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