Democrats tried to avert the panic over the Virginia governor’s race on the last day of early voting – in an election in the blue state that was now suddenly too close to being printed.
“Democrats face a DISASTER,” the Democratic Governors Association warned in a last-minute fundraising email pointing to recent polls showing the party’s candidate, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, falling behind GOP newcomer Glenn Youngkin, just days before November. 2 choices.
“We can not let the GOP break the democratic firewall in Virginia – for what happens there will lay the groundwork for 2022,” the message continued.
The two candidates’ attack plans were clear on the campaign track on Saturday.
Youngkin, who has exploited the anger of smoldering parents over school COVID policies and race-based curriculum struggles to gain ground among independent voters and disgruntled Democrats, drew hundreds of supporters to a rally in Alexandria, one of the state’s windswept cities.
“This is about the values that Virginians hold dear,” the Republican told reporters. “I’ve had several people say, ‘I’ve never voted Republican before, and I’m voting for you.’ We have people flowing down the hall. “
Meanwhile, McAuliffe tried to support his Norfolk base, where only 40 people turned up for a demonstration under the headline of Democratic Senator Tim Kaine.
“As of this morning, we have had over a million early votes,” McAuliffe reassured the sparse crowd. “We are leading significantly in the early vote.”
But with a long history of large Republican turnout on election day, the sharp enthusiasm between the two parties threatens greatly.
President Biden won Old Dominion in 2020 by a comfortable 10-point margin, largely thanks to the densely populated, highly democratic counties that embrace the state border with Washington, DC.
His victory ended a 16-year streak for the Democrats there. Not since 2004 has a Republican presidential candidate occupied Virginia.
McAuliffe, a longtime Dem insider who has been a close confidante of Bill and Hillary Clinton and served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, once appeared to be a shoo-in for another term.
But Biden’s sharply declining approval rating has hit the Democratic base. A poll by the Washington Post this week showed that 42 percent of voters in Virginia are strongly opposed to the president’s performance – while only 21 percent strongly agree. Such a skewed result usually results in a high turnout for the other party.
And McAulife’s own quarrels – especially his September comment: “I do not think parents should tell schools what to teach” – have been gripped by the Youngkin campaign as an excellent example of the Democrat’s distance from voters’ concerns.
School board meetings in the Democratic strongholds of Fairfax County and Loudoun County have made national headlines as parents protesting policies they say indoctrinate their children with the principles of critical race theory.
Youngkin gained an eight-point lead over McAuliffe among likely voters in a Fox News poll published Thursday that showed the Republican led 53-45. Other polls this week showed the two are neck-and-neck.