Politics Obama hits campaign trail ahead of gubernatorial elections in 2 states
Former Carlyle Group CEO could knock Democrats out of Virginia's governor's office. Here's what to know
Without any other big races this fall, all eyes are on Virginia as Democrats try to weather a decline in President Joe Biden's approval ratings.Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and Republican Glenn Youngkin, are polling neck-and-neck in the commonwealth's gubernatorial race.
With just over a week to go until the last day of voting in Virginia and New Jersey, former President Barack Obama is joining each state's Democratic nominee for governor on the campaign trail Saturday, hoping to motivate the party's base to turn out in their state's off-year general elections.
Always held the year after a presidential election, the statewide and legislative races in both states are seen as bellwethers for the nation's political landscape going into the midterms. A strong showing by Democrats could assuage party fears about 2022, but if Republicans make gains, it will serve as a warning shot for Democrats as they try to connect with voters in the post-Trump era.
McAuliffe's backslapping political brand put to test in 2021
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Terry McAuliffe is a blur of handshakes, hugs, backslaps and smiles as he glides through the friendly crowd at Gethsemane Baptist Church seeking help from above. For the former Virginia governor running again for his old job, it's not necessarily God's grace he's after at this moment. He's seeking assistance from another higher power a few hours north in Washington, where McAuliffe's longtime friends in Congress are struggling to pass an infrastructure package that could help millions of Virginia residents — and his own campaign. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Oct.
Obama isn't the first top surrogate to hit the trail with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is hoping to secure Virginia's top executive post for a second time after leaving office in 2018. First lady Jill BidenDemocrats last week, and Georgia's Stacey Abrams and Vice President Kamala Harris campaigned with McAuliffe Sunday and Thursday, respectively.
"Let's be clear about who this man is. He has the life experience, the professional experience, the experience in this state. … he walks his talk, he is a fighter," Harris said of McAuliffe. "When you elect somebody or governor, you want to make sure you really know who they are. Well, we know who Terry is."
Obama assails ‘politics of meanness’ as he campaigns in Virginia governor race
Former President Barack Obama exhorted Virginians to support Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s candidacy for governor, warning of the dire consequences for the state and the country if he were to lose. Obama presented the choice for Virginians as between McAuliffe, who he said would keep moving the state forward, and Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, who he said has been “encouraging the lies and conspiracy theories that we’ve had to live through all this time,” referring to the ongoing attempt by former President Donald Trump to falsely claim that the 2020 election was illegitimate.
Acknowledging how close the race is between McAuliffe and Republican, she added, "We got to make it clear that we're not taking anything for granted. You know, four years ago, there was a lot of folks who said, 'Oh, if I don't vote, everything will be alright. It wasn't alright."
McAuliffe also has an event planned with President Joe Biden in deep blue Arlington on Tuesday. While Biden and McAuliffe have been friends for over 40 years, the president hasn't stumped with him since late July. Earlier this month, McAuliffe acknowledged Biden's approval rating has taken a hit since then.
"We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know. The president is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through," he said at a virtual rally.
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Those headwinds appear to be hampering McAuliffe more than Murphy, according to public polling.
Afrom Monmouth University showed Murphy with a 13-point lead over his Republican opponent, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, among New Jersey registered voters. Ciattarelli has taken aim at Murphy's handling of the COVID19 pandemic, arguing the Democrat's policies have been too restrictive and the state's economy has suffered for it. But according to Monmouth's poll, half of registered voters have more trust in Murphy to handle the pandemic. On the economy and taxes, issues that have been front and center in Ciattarelli's campaign, the Republican fares better against Murphy.
In Virginia, however, the gubernatorial race is neck and neck. A Monmouthshowed McAuliffe and Youngkin, a former private equity executive, tied among registered voters, and for the first time in the university's polling of this race, Youngkin leads in one probabilistic likely electorate model.
New Jersey’s off-year gubernatorial elections can’t escape national politics .
New Jersey’s state-level elections have become increasingly nationalized as politicians in Washington look to the state as a bellwether for the upcoming midterms.Just before Ciattarelli delivered a speech at a rally in South Jersey with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, a man wearing a Joe Biden mask stood by the side of a busy highway holding a sign that read, “Let’s go Brandon!” — the right’s shorthand joke for “f--- Joe Biden.