Obama, Stacey Abrams to Campaign for McAuliffe in Virginia
(Bloomberg) -- Former President Barack Obama will campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe Saturday as polls tighten in a race seen as a bellwether for next year’s midterms.
The Nov. 2 election is expected to signal how difficult it will be for Democrats to hold onto the House and Senate in 2022. The party in power usually loses seats in midterm elections. Democrats control both chambers with razor-thin margins.
First lady Jill Biden will campaign for McAuliffe in Henrico on Friday. Former Georgia state lawmaker Stacey Abrams, who as an activist is widely credited with boosting 2020 turnout there and helping now-President Joe Biden flip the state for Democrats, will lead a “souls to the polls” effort in Norfolk on Sunday.
McAuliffe confirmed the campaign stops in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” saying that national politics -- including the long-running debate over passing Biden’s domestic policy bill -- was making the race more difficult. In recent comments, he’s also blamed Biden’s low approval rating in Virginia.
“There are headwinds coming out, and I’m hopeful we can get an infrastructure bill done very quickly,” he said. “They need to do their job.”
A Wason Center poll of 802 likely voters taken Sept. 27-Oct. 6 showed 49% backed McAuliffe and 45% supported former Carlyle Group co-CEO Glenn Youngkin, with a 4.2 percentage point margin of error.
But the poll also showed Republican voters were more enthusiastic about voting in the election, with 61% saying they were “very enthusiastic,” compared to 55% among Democrats and 51% among independents.
McAuliffe has tried to stir Democratic voters by highlighting Youngkin’s association with former President Donald Trump, who lost Virginia by 10 points last year, his opposition to coronavirus vaccine mandates and his support for “election integrity” measures.
In the MSNBC interview, McAuliffe repeatedly cited Trump, noting that he has endorsed Youngkin on five occasions.
If Youngkin wins, he said, “this will be the comeback of Donald Trump. This will lift him off the mat.”
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