With one week until Election Day, the eyes of the nation are on Virginia’s gubernatorial race.
The latest polls show that Republican Glenn Youngkin is tied with Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
“It is seeming like a very close race,” said J. Miles Coleman from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
Coleman said that high-profile Democrats are campaigning for McAuliffe, including former President Barack Obama, Stacey Abrams and President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, whereas former President Donald Trump is noticeably distanced.
“When we do have some of these national [Republican] figures come into Virginia, Youngkin maybe wants to keep them at arm’s length,” said Coleman. “I mean, If I’m him, I’m not going to be barnstorming the state with Donald Trump, right? Just because Trump isn’t popular here.”
Though political expert Ed Lynch said Biden’s low approval rating could hurt McAuliffe’s campaign.
“The Virginia gubernatorial race is frequently a referendum on the current president, whoever that happens to be. And with Biden’s numbers in low 40s that is a huge mountain for McAuliffe to try to get over,” said Lynch.
Typically, the party not in the White House tends to win in off-year elections. But McAuliffe was the first to reverse that decades-long trend back in 2013.
“I don’t really have any doubt that the votes in the state are there for a McAuliffe win, the Democrats just have to mobilize them,” said Coleman.
With more Independent voters supporting Youngkin and a strong Democratic voter base, ultimately, turnout and independent voters could determine this election.
“The democrats’ message is very much ‘Let’s keep a good thing going,’” said Coleman. “If the Republicans play their cards right, this is the type of year where if they were going to win, it would be this year.”
If McAuliffe wins, this would be the first time since the 1980s that a democrat wins the governor’s office three election cycles in a row.
Political analysts expect a lot of negative campaign ads in the next week.