Biden campaigns for Virginia Dem in governor’s race

Biden campaigns for Virginia Dem in governor’s race
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Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie becomes first African to deliver Yale graduation speech MORE waded deeper into campaign politics on Saturday, appearing in Virginia to stump for Democrat Ralph Northam in Virginia's heated gubernatorial race.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on workforce development in Reston, Va., Biden emphasized the importance of state politics at a time when he said the federal government has faltered in its responsibilities. 

"The states are going to have to step up in ways the federal government should be stepping up," said Biden, sitting next to Northam at the discussion.

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"The only hope for leadership we have here is at the state level," Biden continued at the event, which was closed to the general public and included dozens of Democratic activists and business leaders.

Biden talked up Northam's work as an Army doctor and praised his economic plan, which aims to provide free community college and workforce training in certain fields, like cybersecurity and health care.

The former vice president's comments followed a tumultuous two days in Washington that were marked by President Trump's decisions to disavow the United Nations-backed Iran nuclear deal and order broad changes to the nation's health-care system.

Biden's appearance at the roundtable discussion came hours before Vice President Pence was set to speak at a rally for Northam's opponent, Republican Ed Gillespie, in Abingdon, Va. 

Biden's appearance with Northam, the state's current lieutenant governor, wasn't his first time hitting the campaign trail for fellow Democrats since leaving Washington in January. Just this week, he stumped for New Jersey gubernatorial hopeful Phil Murphy, and earlier this month he spoke at a rally for Doug Jones in Alabama's Senate race.

In Virginia, public polls have generally shown Gillespie leading by the mid-to-upper single digits, and historical trends give Democrats an advantage in the state. The party out of power in the White House has won the governorship in Virginia every election since 1977 – the only exception being current Gov. Terry McAuliffe's victory in 2013.

But the race will also offer Democrats insight into voter turnout in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, when Trump pulled off a win largely unexpected by pollsters and pundits.

Biden's appearance Saturday comes days before former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaHarris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers North Korean media rips Biden: a 'fool of low IQ' Lessons from Australia: Voters put pocketbooks over climate change, again MORE is slated to make his return to campaign politics when he joins Northam in Richmond next week.