All eyes are on Virginia this week as an upcoming governor’s race could offer a glimpse at what to expect in the 2022 midterms next year and the futures of the Republican and Democratic parties.
What is the Virginia election about?
Virginia has a governor’s race on tap this week. Political pundits, voters and the major political parties are all watching to see how it could shape future elections.
- “A whole lot is riding on Tuesday’s gubernatorial election in Virginia, including President Biden’s political aura, perhaps his legislative agenda, and the playbooks Democrats and Republicans may follow in next year’s midterms and in the presidential race three years from now,” according to The Hill.
Right now, the two major candidates for the governor’s race are:
- Republican newcomer Glenn Youngkin.
- Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor and friend of President Joe Biden.
State of the Virginia governor race
Recently, Youngkin has seen the polls swing in his favor. He’s leading in the most recent poll data from FiveThirtyEight, with a slight edge over McAuliffe.
McAuliffe, a longtime Democrat running in a longtime Democratic state, has struggled to organize the Biden base, per The Associated Press.
- The reason? There’s little to fight against, according to the The Associated Press. Officials within the Democratic Party worry that there’s no one like former President Donald Trump to battle against, giving less steam to mobilize voters to the polls.
Why Republicans, Democrats want to win Virginia
For Democrats, a loss by McAuliffe “would trigger all-out panic among Democrats far beyond Virginia,” according to The Associated Press. A win would signify that the party overall is heading in the right direction and that there’s a general support for President Biden.
For Republicans, a win would represent a major positive direction for the party, showing that it can win elections in states not previously won by former President Donald Trump. In most cases, winning major elections the year before a midterm election can be an indicator of success.
- “Virginia is a very blue state — I do not consider Virginia a purple state — so the fact that we’re this competitive speaks volumes about the state of our country and the popularity of Biden,” said Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, per the Associated Press.