Veteran Democratic veteran Terry McAuliffe will face former Carlisle Republican CEO Glenn Youngkin in this year’s Virginia gubernatorial election, a contest that will be seen as pioneering the US political climate less than a year into Joe Biden’s presidency.
And only two states – Virginia and New Jersey – will be on standby in November. While New Jersey’s incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy is expected to be re-elected, analysts said the Virginia contest was an “omission” that would attract significant national interest.
“This is the standout race of the year,” said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, noting that the state’s governor races, which take place a year after the presidential election, have historically been seen as a referendum on a White House party.
This year’s contest is seen as the first important electoral test for Biden and the Democrats heading into it Midterm elections next year, when control of both houses of Congress and dozens of state governors are contested. It would also be an opportunity for Republicans to win back the support of moderate voters who abandoned the party out of distaste for Donald Trump.
McAuliffe, who served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, won the statewide Democratic primary to become his party’s nominee on Tuesday, ahead of a five-candidate field. The Democratic incumbent, 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 old ally Bill and Hillary Clinton, now facing Yongkin in the November elections.
Yongkin, who has never held elected office, left Carlyle last year after 25 years at a private equity firm and launched his bid for governor in January. He won the Republican nomination after last month’s convention, garnering the endorsement of Trump, who said Yongkin “knows how to make Virginia’s economy troublesome.”
His net worth is around $300 million, and his campaign announced last week that it has raised nearly $16 million from donors so far, surpassing the nearly $15 million that McAuliffe has made.
But Yongkin faces an uphill battle to win in Virginia, the state where Democrats live يعيش Make big gains In recent years, it has been driven largely by the support of ex-Republicans and independent voters in suburban areas. In November, Biden became the first Democrat Winning in Virginia By more than 10 points since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944.
Analysts said Yongkin would need to strike a delicate balance to restore moderate Republicans while not isolating conservatives Trump support base If he will win in November.
History may be on his side, however, given that in recent decades Virginia has tended to elect a party governor who is not in the White House — with one exception being McAuliffe’s victory in 2013, a year after Barack Obama was re-elected as President of the United States. .
“[Virginia] It’s sometimes seen as one of the first tests of a new presidential administration,” Kondyk said, adding, “It’s a test that, frankly, the administration often fails, because there’s a long history of state voting against the White House.”
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