DUMFRIES, Va. — With polls and voter surveys showing steadily increasing odds of a Republican governor returning to Richmond, Vice President Kamala D. Harris took to the campaign trail Thursday, asserting a vote for Democrat Terry McAuliffe would check a resurgent Republican Party potentially reclaiming power.
“This race is tight, and we got to make it clear, we’re not taking anything for granted,” Harris told the crowd in Prince William County. “There is nothing about this election that can be taken for granted.”
“I need you working your heart out over the next ten days,” McAuliffe echoed from the podium. “But let me be crystal clear, Glenn Youngkin is not a reasonable Republican, he is a Trump wannabe.”
The fire from Harris and McAuliffe contrasted sharply with warning signs for the Democratic nominee, as the RealClearPolitics average of Virginia polls showed the former governor leading by a razor-thin 1.8 percentage points.
The two most recent surveys of Virginia voters registered as a tie, with Monmouth University’s poll showing a five-point increase of support for Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin in voter-rich Northern Virginia.
“Suburban women, especially in Northern Virginia, have been crucial to the sizable victories Democrats have enjoyed in the commonwealth since 2017,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
“However, their support is not registering at the same level this time around. This is due partly to a shift in key issues important to these voters and partly to dampened enthusiasm among the party faithful.”
As Youngkin seized on school board battles concerning racial equity, LGBTQ+ protections, and culture wars permeating curriculums, the Republican candidate has now matched McAuliffe’s level of trust with education, Monmouth’s survey showed.
“Youngkin has been able to change the terms of the debate, by using his opponent’s words on parental involvement in the school curriculum to shift voter attention on that issue,” Murray said.
“The biggest thing I’m going to lean in on is education,” McAuliffe said Thursday. “We’re going to take things to the next level, and raise teacher pay to the highest in our commonwealth’s history.”
Thursday’s rally in Prince William County is where Joe Biden trounced Donald Trump in 2020, running away with 63% of the vote, compared with Trump’s 36%.
Former President Barack Obama will campaign with McAuliffe at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Saturday. Biden will then hit the trail with McAuliffe in Arlington on Tuesday, the campaign announced.