Veteran Democrat Terry McAuliffe will face former Carlyle Republican leader Glenn Youngkin in this year’s Virginia gubernatorial election, a contest that will be seen as a milestone in the U.S. political climate less than a year after Joe Biden’s presidency.
Only two governorates – Virginia and New Jersey – will be taking over in November. While Democratic President Phil Murphy is scheduled to be re-elected in New Jersey, analysts said the Virginia contest was a “toss-up” that would attract significant national interest.
“This is the market race this year,” said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, announcing that the governorship races in the state, which will be held a year after the presidential election, have been historically seen as a referendum on partying in the White House.
This year’s contest will be considered an important first election test for Biden and the outgoing Democrats mid-term elections next year, when the control of the two chambers of Congress and dozens of governors, will be challenged. It will also mark an opportunity for Republicans to regain the support of moderate voters who have left the party unfortunately for Donald Trump.
McAuliffe, who was governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, won the Democratic primary to become his party’s candidate Tuesday, coming out on a five-candidate field. Democratic leader Ralph Northam cannot seek re-election under state laws that prohibit office holders from serving consecutive terms.
McAuliffe, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and long ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton, will now face off against Youngkin in the November election.
Youngkin, who has never held an elected position, left Carlyle last year after 25 years in private society and launched his offer as governor in January. He won the Republican party nomination after a convention last month, and secured support from Trump, who said Youngkin “knows how to make Virginia’s economy crumble.”
He has a net worth of about $ 300 million, and his campaign last week announced he had raised nearly $ 16 million from donors to date, only bordering on the nearly $ 15 million raised by McAuliffe.
But Youngkin faces an upward battle to win in Virginia, a state where Democrats have he made significant gains in recent years, led largely by the support of former Republicans and independent voters in suburban areas. In November, Biden became the first Democrat to wins in Virginia by more than 10 points since Franklin D Roosevelt in 1944.
Analysts said Youngkin would need to find a delicate balance of reclaiming moderate Republicans without alienating the Conservative. Trump’s support base if he wins in November.
However, the story may be on his side, since Virginia has in recent decades tended to elect a governor from the party that is not in the White House – with one exception which is McAuliffe’s victory in 2013, a year after the re-election of Barack Obama as president of the United States.
“[Virginia] it is sometimes seen as one of the first tests of the new presidential administration, ”Kondik said, adding:“ It’s a test, frankly, the administration often fails because there is a good track record of voting for the State against the White House ”.
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