RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former President Barack Obama attended a rally with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at Virginia Commonwealth University Saturday afternoon.
McAuliffe arrived on the campus just before 1 p.m. When he took to the stage later that afternoon, McAuliffe told voters he hopes Virginia will become the first state to end the pandemic and promised to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by January 2024.
What appeared to be the former president’s motorcade showed up at about 2:30 p.m. Like the other Democratic politicians in attendance, when Obama took to the stage he talked about early voting. He told the crowd they didn’t have to wait until Nov. 2, to cast their ballot.
Obama added he couldn’t be happier that McAuliffe is back on the ticket in Virginia, and McAuliffe will make Virginians proud this time as he did when he was governor. Obama said McAuliffe “walked the walk” as governor, holding the state up during the Great Recession.
Just hours before the event, the former president endorsed 21 other Virginia Democrats running for office.
When Obama began to talk about Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, the crowd began to boo.
“Don’t boo. Vote,” Obama said in response.
He added while he understands people may be tired of politics after the divisive past elections and COVID-19, Obama told the crowd “We don’t have time to be tired.”
Tickets were required to attend due to limited space. A little before 11:30 a.m. a crowd already started to gather and a spokesperson with McAuliffe’s campaign said about 2,000 people attended the event.
The first to take the stage on Saturday was Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. He said the “future and soul of Virginia” is in voters’ hands. He added Democrats need their help to maintain control of the Virginia House and win the statewide races.
When Tim Kaine spoke, he told the crowd the rioters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, “didn’t want your vote to count.” He asked the crowd who had and hadn’t voted yet, with a lot of people raising their hands for both options. Kaine said with 10 days left of voting “the nation is watching Virginia.”
Youngkin is also holding a statewide bus tour on Saturday. They will be making stops in Hanover, Richmond, Midlothian and Glenn Allen.
Streets around the area of the VCU rally have been closed off. Below is a map of the traffic restrictions but you can find full details here.