RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With a federal government shutdown appearing more likely by the minute, some are wondering if a shutdown could play a role in determining which party wins the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate in November.
Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said Republican candidates in swing districts should be worried, considering there are over 350,000 federal civilian workers in Virginia.
“This is a serious problem for Republicans,” Sabato said. “There is simply no question that when the public understands which party is responsible for a government shutdown, they will blame that party.”
Lawmakers are reportedly considering a continuing resolution — a temporary plan to fund the government while they work on a long-term deal. However, the length of that continuing resolution is important.
A 30-day continuing resolution would fund the government through October 30th, meaning if lawmakers can’t reach a long-term deal, voters in Virginia would head to the polls on November 7th with the government shutdown. However, a 45-day continuing resolution would fund the government through Nov. 14, a week after Election Day.
“If he (House Speaker Kevin McCarthy) can get some extension, I suppose that would help, but it’s not going to make the issue go away,” Sabato said.
Sabato added that Republican legislative candidates can try and change the narrative, but he’s not sure it will work.
“Troops not being paid, and veterans not getting their benefits and loads of other groups being very unhappy because they are not getting the normal benefits of the federal government,” Sabato said. “They are not going to accept deflection. They are angry and they will take it out at the polls.”
It’s not just federal workers that would be affected by a shutdown. The White House said nearly 10,000 young children would lose access to Head Start programs — which support early learning in young children. Further, anyone traveling could experience delays because TSA officers and air traffic controllers would be working without pay.