McAuliffe, Democrats, trying to ignite black participation in deadlocked Virginia governor race | Local News

McAuliffe, Democrats, trying to ignite black participation in deadlocked Virginia governor race

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Amid a deadlocked gubernatorial race in Virginia, a crucial statewide competition with many national implications, longtime Democratic Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina had a message for his supporters as he campaigned with his party’s showdown candidate, former Governor Terry McAuliffe.

“On Tuesday people will take it as an indicator of what’s to come. And I want Virginia to show this country the way again,” Clyburn, the third House Democrat, said at a rally. in Hampton, Virginia.

The most senior black lawmaker in Congress has pointed out that Virginia’s gubernatorial election is “viewed by people across the country and abroad as an indicator of what to expect next year.” And I want Virginia to show us a glorious result. “


Clyburn was the last high-profile black Democratic politician to join McAuliffe on the campaign trail as the former governor takes on GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin. Almost all of the latest opinion polls indicate that the closely watched contest is all wrapped up.

Overwhelming support from black voters helped McAuliffe win the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election. The high turnout of black voters also helped Democrats convincingly win back the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. 2018, and fueled President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. presidential election.

Democrats are hoping for another performance on Tuesday in Virginia, a unique battlefield state that has had a blue trend over the past decade. Biden won Virginia by 10 points last November, and Republicans have not won statewide in the Commonwealth for a dozen years.

McAuliffe, in the face of what polls indicate a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats – including black voters who are a key part of the party’s base, is setting up a full court press to shatter the perceived complacency.


But some Democratic leaders and activists are worried about a lag among black voters, which could be spent politically after the deadly 2020 fight to defeat then-President Donald Trump. There are also fears they may be frustrated by the current lack of progress on spending measures and a key voting rights bill from Biden and the Democrats who control both houses of Congress.

“I know I hear people at the door saying they are tired and so frustrated with Covid-19, the pandemic, the economic crisis and more,” the former state delegate of Virginia Jennifer Carroll Foy, who was McAuliffe’s finalist in the June Democratic primary for governor, tweeted last month.

While Democrats have seen a slight uptick in recent weeks, they are still concerned about the low turnout for black voters. McAuliffe launched a late-game effort to start a fire under his party’s base voters.

“We don’t have time to be tired,” said former President Barack Obama as he campaigned with McAuliffe at a rally nine days ago in Richmond. “What is needed is a sustained effort.”

The country’s first black president, who has remained very popular with Democratic voters for nearly five years in the White House, said he understood voters were exhausted by the country’s divisive policies as well as strains of the coronavirus , the worst pandemic to strike the world in a century. But highlighting the election of Virginia, which political observers see as an indicator ahead of next year’s midterms, when Democrats try to keep their slim majorities in Congress, Obama urged “don’t sit this one.” this”.


Obama was the biggest – but not the only draw – to team up with McAuliffe.

Vice President Kamala Harris waves to the crowd with Democratic gubernatorial candidate former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, at a rally in Dumfries, Va. On Thursday, October 21, 2021. McAuliffe will face the Republican Glenn Youngkin in the November election. (AP Photo / Steve Helber)

Vice President Kamala Harris has campaigned with McAuliffe twice in recent weeks.

“This race is close,” the vice president said two weeks ago at a rally in the voter-rich, very diverse and heavily Democratic DC suburbs of Northern Virginia. “And we have to make it clear, Virginia, that we are careful. We have to make it clear that we don’t take anything for granted.”

Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic leader of Georgia House who, in 2018, made history as the first black woman to run for governor of a major political party, has done it several times campaign in Virginia in recent weeks to energize the Democratic base.

Senses Cory Booker of New Jersey and Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison also partnered with McAuliffe.

In addition, the McAuliffe campaign has hosted hundreds of “Souls to the Polls” events on the last two Sundays to bring black worshipers to the first polling stations.


But veteran Virginia-based GOP consultant Zack Roday argues that McAuliffe’s pressure in recent weeks to increase black voter turnout is an admission of failure.

“They need to be bailed out and they are going to a constituency that has been there for them in the past,” Roday told Fox News. “It is truly an admission of their strategic failure throughout the campaign that they have not been able to build a winning coalition based on the issues that matter to voters.”

The latest polls indicate that McAuliffe overwhelmingly won the black vote against Youngkin, a first-time candidate and former CEO of private equity. But if Youngkin can make any gains in the margins, or if black voter turnout declines, that will cause problems for McAuliffe.

Virginia Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin speaks during a campaign event at the Farmers Market in Old Town Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia, the United States, October 30, 2021.

Virginia Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin speaks during a campaign event at the Farmers Market in Old Town Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia, the United States, October 30, 2021.
(REUTERS / Joshua Roberts)

USA Today / Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos told Fox News last week on election day, “If the black vote is 20% of the total vote or more, that puts McAuliffe in the driver’s seat. If the black vote is between 16% – 18%, then Youngkin is about to win. ”


The pollster also highlighted 1.8% support in her latest poll in Virginia for third-party candidate Princess Blanding, an African-American criminal justice reform activist who is on the ballot as the Party candidate. of the liberation of Virginia.

“Blanding’s 1.8% is not enough to matter under normal circumstances, but because this race is so close in the polls, 1.8% far exceeds the margin between the top two candidates.” , Paleologos noted. “His presence on the ballot could have an impact on the result.”

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