Washington Post editorial board backs McAuliffe in Virginia governor's race

Washington Post editorial board backs McAuliffe in Virginia governor's race
© Greg Nash

The Washington Post’s editorial board on Thursday endorsed Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race for Virginia governor, throwing the support of one of the region’s largest newspapers behind his bid to reclaim his old job. 

In endorsing McAuliffe, the paper’s editorial board described the former governor as “shrewd, pragmatic and tireless,” arguing that his “left-of-center” political leanings suited a state that has trended increasingly Democratic in recent years. 

McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, meanwhile, has embraced many of the conservative policy proposals that voters in Virginia have largely rejected, the editorial board wrote.

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“[McAuliffe’s] pro-business, moderately left-of-center priorities are in step with a state that has trended Democratic for more than a decade but has remained leery of the party’s leftward tilt elsewhere,” the board wrote. 

“By contrast, the Republican nominee, Glenn Youngkin, a candidate making his first run for political office, has played footsie with the scurrilously anti-democratic ‘big lie’ that election fraud propelled President BidenJoe Biden White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Police recommend charges against four over Sinema bathroom protest K Street revenues boom MORE into office; signaled he would roll back gun-safety laws and abortion access; equivocated on same-sex marriage; and called Medicaid expansion, which provided health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Virginians, ‘sad.’ ”

The Post editorial board’s endorsement of McAuliffe isn’t unexpected. It endorsed McAuliffe during his successful campaign for governor in 2013. The editorial board also backed his successor, current Gov. Ralph Northam, who won the governor’s mansion in 2017. 

Recent polls show McAuliffe leading Youngkin by varying margins. An Emerson College-Nexstar Media survey released this week showed McAuliffe with a 4-point advantage over his GOP rival, while an August poll from the Republican-leaning Trafalgar Group found Youngkin trailing by only 1 point.

In announcing its endorsement of McAuliffe, the Post’s editorial board warned that while Virginia has become a reliably blue state in federal races, “all bets are  off” when it comes to elections for state offices.

“It’s critical that Virginians recall that Mr. McAuliffe is a dynamic chief executive with a proven track record for advancing prosperity,” the editorial board wrote. “Mr. Youngkin is an untested politician who would guide the state away from the moderation it has pursued, and profited from, for more than a decade. Electing him would be a grave error.”