Oct 26, 2021 - News

Suburban focus in tight Virginia governor’s race

Side-by-side: Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin

Photo: Getty Images

It’s a week out from Election Day in Virginia, and former governor Terry McAuliffe’s lead in the polls over Republican Glenn Youngkin has tightened.

Why it matters: The race to become Virginia’s next governor holds both local and national implications, from teacher pay to whether Republicans can mount a key win in the post-Trump era.

McAuliffe, a Democrat who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, holds a 1.8 percentage point lead over Youngkin in average polling compiled by Real Clear Politics.

On the campaign trail: Both candidates are targeting metropolitan suburbs.

McAuliffe is hoping to fire up Democrats who can no longer be motivated by the prospect of resisting a Trump White House. Youngkin, recently campaigning in Manassas, has tried to appeal to Latino voters by pitching them on lower taxes and focusing on crime and education, the Washington Post reports

What's next: President Biden will join McAuliffe at a campaign event in Arlington Tuesday night.

  • Former President Obama stumped last Saturday for McAuliffe in Richmond, saying that Youngkin, a former private equity executive, is someone who “doesn’t want people like him to pay a dime more in taxes to support education, or job training, or childcare” — several agenda items for Democrats. 

Meanwhile, Youngkin told a crowd near Norfolk on Sunday that “On day one, we will cut the cost of living in Virginia, because it’s too expensive to live here. We’re going to cut everybody’s taxes.”

  • Trump has endorsed Youngkin, but the two have strategically remained distant, and McAuliffe’s efforts to turn the race into a referendum on the former president have faltered, Axios’ Sarah Mucha reports.

Instead, McAuliffe has pivoted to education. He has already pledged to invest $2 billion in schools and raise teacher pay above the national average.

  • “By focusing on education, McAuliffe is trying to shift the debate on a topic that resonates especially with pivotal suburban women,” Mucha writes.

Bonus thought bubble from Axios Politics managing editor Margaret Talev: “If Dems manage to hold hands long enough to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal this week, we’ll also be watching to see how much of a boost that gives McAuliffe — and whether it can help Dems in swing districts next year.”


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