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With two weeks left in Virginia election, McAuliffe and Youngkin eye national politics warily

Democratic and Republican Virginia campaigns could be helped or hurt by Trump and Biden.

BURKE, Va. — With two weeks to go in the Virginia governor's race, battles over schools, masks, race, and transgender rights have helped fire up the Republican base in a Commonwealth that has been trending blue.

That's making the race so tight that even veteran analysts say it's close to call.

Glad-handing, seemingly always in motion, and now leading a crowd of news cameras, Democrat and former Governor Terry McAuliffe enters the final two weeks of this election in a fierce battle with a political neophyte.

"I remind you, in 44 years, the party that wins the White House, the other party wins the governor's mansion," said McAuliffe Tuesday. "I'm the only one to break it," he said. The polls are tight, "and we're excited."

Corporate leader, political newcomer and Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin has to thread a narrow window in Virginia, which President Biden won by ten points. Youngkin has to fire up his base -- without alienating moderates.

"I think Joe Biden was legitimately elected President. I didn't think there was massive fraud in Virginia," he said Tuesday. But he also declined to tell former President Donald Trump to stay away.  "Nobody is coming to campaign for me," he said, speaking carefully. "This is a race about Virginia."

U.V.A's Larry Sabato is one of the country's best political prognosticators, and his "Sabato's Crystal Ball," is a closely watched forecast. But he's waiting to predict the outcome. "We'll, let you know before the election. A lot of things are gonna happen in two weeks," he said..  

For McAuliffe, a deal in Congress on infrastructure and social spending could help. 

"They need to get something done on Capitol Hill," he said. 

But McAuliffe also expressed optimism that they would.

Sabato says Youngkin is also sitting on political dynamite. A day after the death of General Colin Powell, former President Donald Trump slammed the icon as a RINO. 

"Who knows how many more statements, Trump will issue before the election," Sabato said. "[Youngkin] is hoping it won't blow before November 2 And maybe it won't. Or maybe it will."

Trump might say something in the next few days that will remind Virginia Democrats of times many thought they'd left behind, outraging them enough to drive many more to the polls. 

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