Biden endorses 21 Virginia House of Delegates candidates ahead of election

Biden endorses 21 Virginia House of Delegates candidates ahead of election
© Associated Press/Evan Vucci

President BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE endorsed 21 Democratic Virginia House of Delegates candidates on Tuesday, two weeks before Election Day in the commonwealth. 

Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) and Del. Danica Roem (D), who in 2019 became the first openly trans person to win reelection in a state legislature, were among the candidates endorsed by the president. 

The other endorsed candidates include Lashrecse Aird, Alex Askew, Joshua Cole, Kelly Fowler, Debra Gardner, Wendy Gooditis, Nancy Guy, Elizabeth Guzman, Dan Helmer, Candi King, Kim Melnyk, Martha Mugler, Michelle Maldonado, Mike Mullin, Finale Norton, Briana Sewell, Shelly Simonds, Schuyler VanValkenburg and Rodney Willett. 

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In 2019, Virginia Democrats made history flipping the state Senate and the House of Delegates, giving the party control of the legislature and governor's mansion in the commonwealth. 

Democrats are hoping to build upon their successes in November, with the House of Delegates and governor's mansion up for grabs once again. 

"Since flipping the legislature in 2019, Democrats in Virginia have been a model of progress – from helping us vaccinate folks and beat the pandemic, strengthening voting rights and expanding reproductive rights, to creating tuition-free community college and an environment for workers and businesses to thrive," Biden said in a statement. 

"To continue the progress, as we work to elect Terry McAuliffe as Governor, we need to elect Democrats up and down the ballot to keep the Virginia House blue this November," he added. 

But Democrats in the commonwealth could be facing some headwinds, with Biden's approval rating falling in the state and polling between McAuliffe and Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin only tightening. 

An Emerson College survey released earlier this month showed Biden with a 45 percent approval rating and a 48 percent disapproval rating in Virginia.  The non-partisan Cook Political Report rates the gubernatorial race as a "toss-up." 

The Republican State Leadership Committee slammed the endorsement in a statement on Tuesday, saying it was "further proof" that Virginia Democrats were "in lockstep with Washington liberals." 

"The President’s poor leadership has inflation and gas prices skyrocketing, violent crime on the rise, and parents feeling helpless about what their children are being taught in the classroom - the Democrats running Richmond have mirrored his agenda and voted to exacerbate all of those problems," the committee said in a statement. "Virginia families are hungry for independent voices who will put them first, and will vote to reject the Democrat control that is failing Virginia and the entire country.”

McAuliffe said on CNN on Tuesday that Biden will return to the state to campaign ahead of election day, but no further details have been released by McAuliffe's campaign or the White House. 

Democrats are working to rally enthusiasm in the state, which they will need to win up and down the ballot in November. Major figures in the party have warned Virginia Democrats that the progress made since 2019 could be rolled back if Democratic turnout is low and they lose the election. 

Updated at 4:06 p.m.