Obama to campaign for McAuliffe in Virginia

Former President Obama will campaign with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe later this month ahead of the state’s off-year election. 

Obama will join McAuliffe on Oct. 23 in Richmond.

The news comes after McAuliffe’s campaign announced that first lady Jill Biden and former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will campaign with him this weekend. 

McAuliffe, who is in a tight race with Republican Glenn Youngkin, made the announcement on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” exactly three weeks from Election Day in the Old Dominion. The voter registration deadline in Virginia is on Tuesday. 

Youngkin’s campaign responded to the news later on Tuesday, saying it was a sign McAuliffe’s campaign was getting nervous ahead of the election. 

“Terry McAuliffe is scared because Virginians are roundly rejecting 40-year politician Terry McAuliffe’s plans to defund the police, strip parents of their rights to have a say in their children’s education, and to fire people who don’t follow his authoritarian vaccine mandates, so his response is to bring in more politicians to help draw a crowd larger than 12 people,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement to the Hill. “Glenn Youngkin is an outsider focused on delivering for the people of Virginia and making the state the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

The two are locked in a close contest that may come down to turnout on both sides. Democrats have won the presidential race in Virginia every cycle since 2008, when Obama was on the ticket.

A Christopher Newport University poll released last week showed McAuliffe leading Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin by 4 points, within the survey’s 4.2 percentage point margin of error. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss-up.”

The election is largely seen as a bellwether for next year’s midterm elections. The White House, in particular, is watching the race in Virginia very closely. McAuliffe is one of President Biden’s closest political allies. The two campaigned together in July, but McAuliffe has acknowledged recently that Biden’s approval ratings are down in Virginia. 

“We got to get Democrats out to vote. We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington as you know. The president is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia. So we have got to plow through,” McAuliffe said in a clip that surfaced last week.  

Updated at 1:02 p.m.

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