Virginia State: Much more than a gubernatorial election

Status: 02.11.2021 1:11 p.m.

The US is looking forward to today’s gubernatorial election in the state of Virginia. If the Democrats lose, the defeat will fall back on President Biden. The commitment of the applicants is correspondingly high.

By Claudia Sarre, ARD Studio Washington, currently Richmond

Up until the last minute, candidates Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe campaigned in Virginia. Both know only too well that everything is at stake in this gubernatorial election: It’s not just a question of whether Virginia will be Democratic or Republican, but the election is a test of the mood for President Joe Biden and his Democrats.

Claudia Sarre
ARD-Studio Washington

Youngkin, the Republican nominee, appears confident during an appearance in a Hanover County parking lot. “There is an impression that there will be a change,” he shouts. “And by the way, everyone agrees that there has to be a change!”

The Republican candidate Youngkin emphasizes his independence. A victory would give ex-President Trump a further boost.

Build: AP

The Trump factor

The political newcomer toured tirelessly through the southern state in his campaign bus. The 54-year-old family man was the head of a private equity firm for 25 years, making millions. Clever as he is, he has distanced himself a little from former President Donald Trump in order to win over moderate Democrats.

With success. Youngkin has similar goals to Trump – tax cuts, free school elections, no tax-financed abortion – says Twama from Hanover County on the sidelines of the election campaign event. But in terms of personality, they are “completely different men”. Youngkin is a quiet, witty family man, says Twama, who is the only African American woman far and wide at the Republican event. And, no, they don’t think Trump will play a role in this election.

He already knows the office, but Terry McAuliffe also knows that this election is not just about him.

Image: AFP

The democratic celebrities are drumming

A few miles further south, on the university campus in Richmond, Virginia’s capital, Democratic candidate McAuliffe is trying to win his voters. The 64-year-old was governor of the state from 2014 to 2018.

The Democrats are aware of the importance of this election and have mobilized plenty of party celebrities in support over the past few weeks. First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Biden and that day Barack Obama.

Fear for democracy

A record 1.1 million voters have already made use of early voting, six times as many as in 2017. That, too, is an indicator of the enormous relevance of this election. Richmond University Professor Mignonne has already voted for McAuliffe for one simple reason: “Because the alternative is terrifying. We are literally losing our democracy in this country. There is too much at stake.” For them, the most important issues are social justice and the right to vote: “We can only have a democracy if we can vote.”

The outcome of the election is uncertain, but one thing is already clear: a defeat of McAuliffe and the loss of Virginia would be a serious setback for the Democrats. And it would be a bad omen for the midterms in the coming year – and maybe even beyond.

Virginia Gubernatorial Election: Touchstone for the Biden Administration

Claudia Sarre, ARD Washington, November 2nd, 2021 9:03 am

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