National eyes look to Virginia as commonwealth votes for governor

Virginia Elections

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A heated race for the Virginia governor’s mansion is fanning political flames across the US. The off-year election could hint which way the country leans in the 2022 Congressional midterms, and the 2024 presidential election.

After several weeks of early voting opportunities, the final choice comes down to Tuesday.

Democratic Nominee Terry McAuliffe attempts to win back his old job, while Republican Nominee and businessman Glenn Youngkin hopes to turn the tide in an increasingly blue state.

Both campaigns have made their rounds on national networks in previous weeks, yet the voters at home have the final say.

“There is a sense that Virginia becomes a kind of trying ground for campaign messages, for candidates, for issues to see what will happen next year in the congressional midterms,” 8News Political Analyst Rich Meagher said.

While President Trump lost mere months ago by 10 points, the candidates for governor are essentially in a dead heat according to polls.

Real Clear Politics combines several of them, suggesting it’s anyone’s race.

Democrats have brought in heavy hitters like President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama to stump for their candidates.

While Trump has endorsed Youngkin, the candidate has not campaigned with him. Democrats have pounced at the chance to tie the two together—an attempt to win independent voters.

On the optics to keep the Trump endorsement at arms-length, Meagher asked “is this Glenn Youngkin as ‘Glenn Trumpkin’ kind of pitch to voters really going to convince them? And is Terry McAuliffe the guy who’s going to energize Democrats to come and turn out?”

So what can Virginians expect Tuesday regardless of who wins? Historically, far more voters turn out in presidential election years. In 2020, 75% of registered Virginia voters participated. while just shy of 48% cast a ballot in 2017 when the governor’s seat was last up for grabs.

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