Sunday, September 25, 2022

Tight Virginia gubernatorial race tests Biden’s strength

RICHMOND, VA (AP) — The first major test of how voters feel about Joe Biden’s presidency is taking place in Virginia, where a gubernatorial race that was considered a comfortable victory for Democrats is instead a mystery. ending in.

Terry McAuliffeOne of the most prominent figures in Democratic politics and the former governor of Virginia, Republican rival and political newcomer Glenn Youngkin is in a tough race on Tuesday for his old job.. The hurtful, costly campaign focuses on issues including Youngkin’s relationship with former President Donald Trump, the future of abortion rights And the battle of the culture war on the schools.

But the results could ultimately be interpreted as Biden’s early verdict. A year after capturing Virginia by 10 percentage points, the competitive nature of the governor’s race is a sign of how his political fortunes have turned. The White House has been shaken in recent months by the chaotic withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, a sometimes sluggish economic recovery amid the pandemic and a legislative agenda at risk of stalling on Capitol Hill.

A defeat in a state that has been Democrats’ sway for more than a decade will deepen the party’s sense of anxiety Heading to the mid-term elections next year, when Congress’s control is at stake.

“There will be a statement tomorrow. A statement that will be heard in this country,” Youngkin told a large crowd that “USA! America!” during his final rally on Monday night. “The future of this Commonwealth, the future of this country, is going to be decided.”

McAuliffe countered that a GOP victory would set back all progress made by his own party and buoyed Trump and his talk of 2024. “Guys, the stakes are huge,” McAuliffe said adding Youngkin, “he doesn’t know anything about the regime.”

In the polls on Tuesday morning, Cassandra Ogren, 29, of Norfolk, said she had voted for McAuliffe because of her support for abortion rights and her concern about the recently implemented restrictions in Texas.

“I’m definitely a little intimidated by the special rights that are restricted to women like me and whom I work with and do in my business every day,” said Ogren, an esthetician.

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Ogren said she was also inspired by Yunkin’s relationship with Trump.

“Anyone supported by President Trump is not someone I want to represent myself,” she said.

Bennett White, 24, of Norfolk, said he voted for Youngkin because of his approach to education and because the Republican nominee is “a change from the status quo”.

White said he is concerned about McAuliffe’s education policies, especially after the Democratic nominee said he did not believe “parents should tell schools what they should teach.” He also said he doesn’t want “our next generation of leaders to see their peers in the lens of the race.”

“My mom is a teacher,” White said. “I just want to make sure my mom is safe in the classroom and that her idols and everyone’s ideals are safe, and we’re not turning into mind-washing academies.”

Elsewhere on Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy was trying to win re-election against former Republican State Assemblyman Jack Ciatarrelli. If successful, Murphy would be the first Democrat to be re-elected as state governor in 44 years, although New Jersey has not voted Republican for the presidency since 1988.

Mayor’s offices in many big cities of the country were also ready to be usurped. and a polling question Minneapolis could reshape the police system in the city where last year’s killing of George Floyd sparked widespread protests for racial justice across the country.

But no other race has captured the attention of the governor’s campaign in Virginia this off-year election season. This is partly because previous races in many states have sometimes reflected voters’ frustration with the new party in power.

In 2009, during President Barack Obama’s first year in office, Republican Bob McDonnell’s victory in Virginia previewed a disastrous midterm cycle for Democrats, who lost more than 60 House seats the following year.

Leading up to Tuesday, some voters similarly said they wanted to send a powerful message to Washington.

Dan Malloy, a 53-year-old small-business owner and Youngkin supporter, said he would consider Biden’s performance to be an F.I.

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“Unfortunately, everything he touches has turned to stone,” Malloy said, adding that he was particularly concerned about the security of the US-Mexico border.

Brooke Hall-Awell, a 50-year-old nurse who lives in Richmond and attended the McAuliffe event in the final hours of the campaign, admitted, “It’s scary to see things so closely.”

“We have a huge opportunity to take advantage of Biden’s presidency right now,” she said, adding that she wants the Democratic-controlled Congress to move more quickly. “I just wish we could come together as a unit.”

Both candidates ended their campaigns with Monday evening rallies in northern Virginia, where they hope the fast-growing suburb can propel them to victory.

Youngkin attracted a large crowd in Loudoun County, which includes the Washington suburbs that have become the epicenter of parent-activist groups objecting to the classroom curriculum that includes instruction about institutional racism. Her pledge to ensure that parents have the most say in what their children are taught has become the centerpiece of her campaign—possibly the same arguments GOP candidates are foreshadowing. Will be used all over the country next year

“This is a moment, a defining moment,” Youngkin declared, “where we get to stand up and say no to this left-wing, liberal, progressive agenda.”

McAuliffe has accused her rival of using children “as pawns”.

Democrats have spent months trying to put Youngkin on the defense as an ally of Trump, who is unpopular in parts of Virginia. Youngkin has responded by making a delicate attempt to appeal to the former president’s most ardent supporters without getting so close to Trump that he can alienate moderates.

Youngkin says he supports “election integrity,” a nod to Trump’s lies That the 2020 presidential election was stolen, focusing on education and business-friendly policies. But the GOP candidate has never campaigned personally with Trump. Instead the former president called a tele-rally late Monday without Youngkin’s participation.


Associated Press writers Ben Finlay in Norfolk, Virginia, and Jill Colvin in New York contributed to this report.


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