The highly anticipated race for the role of Virginia governor has captivated the entire country. What began as a run-of-the-mill off-season gubernatorial race has become the embodiment of political hopes writ large on a national scale. With just hours to go before the remaining voters hit the polling stations, who has the edge in this nail-biting contest as we come down to the wire.
Liberty Nation Editor-in-Chief Leesa K. Donner has been following the race from the very start and is, herself, a Virginia resident.
Mark Angelides: Leesa, how has this race morphed into the hopes and dreams of both parties? Surely a gubernatorial isn’t that important on a national level?
Leesa K. Donner: It matters because the Virginia race for governor has really come down to a referendum on the president in particular and Democratic policies in specific. Remember, Hillary Clinton won Virginia by five points and Biden by ten. Should political newcomer Glenn Youngkin win this race, it will serve as a repudiation of the direction that the Biden administration has taken the country. It may also be a portent of things to come in the upcoming midterms, which is why both parties are focusing on this race.
MA: Terry McAuliffe has spent months trying to inject former President Trump into the dialogue, essentially making the Virginia governor’s race a referendum on his widespread unpopularity in Virginia. And now, he’s backtracking, trying to say it’s not about Trump whatsoever. To me, this seems like he’s realized he may not have the whole thing in the bag and is trying to change the narrative at the last minute. What’s your analysis?
LKD: The only reason a candidate changes tactics is because the first one wasn’t working. And that appears to be the case for McAuliffe. But he seems to be lurching from one thing to another to rally his base. First, he didn’t want to appear with the president – then he campaigned with him in Crystal City last week. For those not familiar with Virginia, Crystal City is just across the Potomac River and filled with bureaucrats. Let’s just say it’s a very Democrat-friendly place.
In addition, McAuliffe is now being accused of ending his campaign with a “racist dog whistle,” proclaiming that Virginia has too many white teachers. That was the headline in an NBC News story put out in the last 24 hours. And that should tell you something. Meanwhile, shenanigans by The Lincoln Project posing as Tiki-Torch carrying white supremacists showing up at a Youngkin event backfired. It just feels like McAuliffe and company are scrambling as things come down to the wire.
MA: So what are the latest numbers telling us? Is this race for McAuliffe or Glenn Youngkin? Or is it too tight to call?
LKD: Talk about a wild ride! In the final days, Youngkin isn’t just scratching and clawing his way into the lead – he’s beginning to pull away down the stretch. The Fox News poll had Youngkin up eight points, a Fox 5 (WTTG) DC/Insider Advantage poll has Youngkin up two points, and the RealClearPolitics average has a 1.6 point advantage for the Republican newcomer. This comes late in the game after McAuliffe sported a comfortable lead for most of the campaign.
MA: Regardless of who finally wins, is the Genie out of the bottle on CRT and parents having the right to decide what their children are taught? And is this likely a fight we’re going to spread across all states come the 2022 congressional elections?
LKD: Every campaign has a turning point, and it appears that Mr. McAuliffe may have stepped in the political doo-doo when he argued that parents should sit down and shut up when it comes to Virginia public schools and curricula. This seems to have set a smoldering fire ablaze – especially in Loudoun County, VA, where the monthly school board meetings have become a circus and have attracted the attention of national news outlets.
MA: I’ll leave you with the last word here, Leesa. Gamify the outcomes for me. What are the ramifications of the results?
LKD: What I find interesting is that with one day to go, both candidates were in opposite ends of the state. The Old Dominion is a large landmass. Youngkin is in the southwest part of the state – traditionally a GOP stronghold and McAuliffe is in Northern Virginia, which is voter-rich and quite blue. Their locations and their politics are miles apart. Should Youngkin find himself in the winner’s circle on Nov. 3rd, it will surely send shockwaves through the Democratic party.