Amid a stalemate gubernatorial race in Virginia, a crucial statewide competition with many national implications, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey is parachuted into the Commonwealth on Wednesday to campaign with former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Booker, who gained national attention when he ran for the White House in the 2020 election cycle, becomes the last high-profile black Democratic politician to join McAuliffe on the election campaign as the former governor takes on the candidate for the GOP Glenn Youngkin in a closely watched contest as opinion polls indicate everything is connected.
Strong black voter turnout helped Democrats convincingly win back the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election and fueled President Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
THE RACE OF THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA STOPS WITH A WEEK UNTIL ELECTION
Democrats are hoping for a repeat of performances next week in Virginia, a unique battlefield state that has had a blue trend over the past decade. Current President Biden won Virginia by 10 points last November and Republicans have not won statewide in the Commonwealth for a dozen years.
McAuliffe, in the face of what polls indicate a lack of enthusiasm among Democrats, including black voters who are a key part of the party base, is setting up a full court press to shatter the perceived complacency.
“We don’t have time to be tired,” said former President Barack Obama as he campaigned with McAuliffe at a rally in Richmond on Saturday. “What is needed is a sustained effort.”
The country’s first black president, who has remained very popular with Democratic voters for nearly five years in the White House, said he understood voters were exhausted by the country’s divisive policies as well as strains of the coronavirus , the worst pandemic to strike the world in a century. But highlighting the election of Virginia, which political observers see as an indicator ahead of next year’s midterms, when Democrats try to keep their slim majorities in Congress, Obama urged “don’t sit this one.” this”.
Democratic strategists fear that Biden’s approval ratings, coupled with Congressional Democrats’ failure to date to pass a major spending bill or key voting rights legislation – and other important issues for black voters – can curb party participation in Virginia.
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Obama was the biggest – but not the only draw – to team up with McAuliffe.
Vice President Kamala Harris campaigned with McAuliffe last week.
“This race is close,” the vice president said last week at a rally in the rich and diverse Democratic suburbs of DC in northern Virginia. “And we have to make it clear, Virginia, that we are careful. We have to make it clear that we don’t take anything for granted.”
Harris returns to Virginia on Friday, when she and popular musician Pharrell Williams, originally from Virginia Beach, join McAuliffe in a rally to get the vote in neighboring Norfolk.
And voting rights lawyer Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic leader of Georgia House who, in 2018, made history as the first black woman to run for governor of a major political party, did campaigning twice in Virginia in recent weeks to energize the Democratic base.
In addition, the McAuliffe campaign has organized hundreds of “Souls to the Polls” events on the last two Sundays to bring black worshipers to the first polling stations.
But veteran Virginia-based GOP consultant Zack Roday argues that McAuliffe’s pressure in recent weeks to increase black voter turnout is an admission of failure.
“They need to be bailed out and they are going to a constituency that has been there for them in the past,” Roday told Fox News. “It is truly an admission of their strategic failure throughout the campaign that they have not been able to build a winning coalition based on the issues that matter to voters.”
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A USA Today / Suffolk University poll released Tuesday, which was the fourth poll in a row to show Virginia’s gubernatorial race deadlocked, also found McAuliffe winning black voters by an 81% to 6% margin.
Poll pollster David Paleologos told Fox News that on election day “if the black vote is 20% of the total vote or more, that puts McAuliffe in the driver’s seat. If the black vote is between 16% and 18%, so Youngkin is on the verge of winning. ” According to the poll, black voters made up 19.6% of those polled.