© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: United States President Joe Biden delivers a speech before signing the “VOCA Solution (Victims of Crime Act) to Support the Crime Victims Fund Act of 2021” during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, USA 2021. REUTERS / Jona
By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland
ARLINGTON, Va. (Reuters) – President Joe Biden put his political strength to the test in Virginia on Friday in a campaign stop by Democratic candidate for Governor Terry McAuliffe, who Biden said was running against an “acolyte” of the Former President Donald Trump.
The out-of-year state race could be a sign of the strength or weakness of Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterm legislative elections, as well as a test of the political strength of the president and his Republican predecessor.
Democrats hope next year to maintain control of the United States House of Representatives, in which they have a slim majority, and the Senate, in which there is a 50-50 split, while Republicans hope to assume the leadership of both cameras.
Biden traveled the short distance from Washington to a park in Arlington, Virginia, for the McAuliffe event, a long-term element in Democratic politics running for a second term as Virginia governor in the November election.
“Terry and I share a lot in common. I ran against Donald Trump and so did Terry,” Biden said. “I flogged Donald Trump in Virginia and so will Terry.”
Trump lost Virginia in both 2016 and 2020.
McAuliffe’s opponent in the gubernatorial race is Virginia businessman Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who has been endorsed by Trump. “The guy Terry is up against is a real Donald Trump acolyte,” Biden said. “I don’t know where these guys come from.”
A poll released earlier this month by Trafalgar Group said the race was close, with McAuliffe 46.8% supporting and Youngkin 45%. Virginia in recent years has had a Democratic bias based on overwhelming support from the northern part of the state. Biden won the state in 2020.
“Terry McAuliffe must be concerned about his terrible poll numbers if he’s already asking for political favors this early in the campaign,” Youngkin’s spokesman Macaulay Porter said.
Biden began his comments by modifying some conservatives who recently began recommending vaccination against COVID-19.
“Some of our very conservative friends have had an altar call. They have seen the Lord,” he joked.
Virginia’s race is likely to be seen as a referendum on Biden’s first year in office and a test of strength for the Democratic president. The party that occupies the White House tends to lose seats in Congress in the first midterm elections after a new president takes office.
McAuliffe eagerly sought to inject Trump into the race. McAuliffe said of Youngkin: “He’s not running for you. He’s running for Donald Trump.”
McAuliffe, who has raised millions of dollars for Democratic candidates and was a close ally of then-President Bill Clinton, is running four years after the end of his first term. State law prohibits a governor from running for reelection.
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any responsibility for loss or damage as a result of reliance on information, including data, quotes, charts, and buy / sell signals contained on this website. Be fully informed about the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest forms of investment possible.