Warner on close Virginia election: ‘Unfortunately, all these races have become so nationalized’
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) on Tuesday evening suggested that the gubernatorial race in his home commonwealth has been close because “unfortunately, all these races have become so nationalized.”
Asked by host Linsey Davis on “ABC News Live” why the gubernatorial election in the Old Dominion has been so close, Warner pointed to the national interest in the race.
“Well, unfortunately, all these races have become so nationalized,” the senator said.
Warner’s comments came at around 8 p.m., when counties started reporting the first votes in the Virginia governor’s race.
Republican Glenn Youngkin took an early lead over Democrat and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. With roughly 93 percent of the vote in at 11 p.m., Youngkin was leading McAuliffe by just more than 106,000 votes, according to results from The Associated Press.
National interest in the election has run high, with onlookers from both inside and outside the commonwealth watching the race as a potential bellwether for next year’s midterm elections. The election represents the first time voters headed to the polls during the Biden administration.
Former President Trump’s name was consistently evoked throughout the election. McAuliffe worked to associate the former president with Youngkin because of his low popularity in the state — Trump lost the Old Dominion in both 2016 and 2020.
Experts have also paid close attention to Biden’s sagging poll numbers to determine if his approval will have any influence on the governor’s race.
Warner on Tuesday evening also said that the House passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill in September “would have been good” for the McAuliffe campaign. After the Senate passed the bill in August with the help of 19 Republicans, the House has been unable a vote due to internal clashes between moderate and progressive Democrats.
Progressive lawmakers refused to vote in favor of the legislation unless it was accompanied by a larger social spending bill, which the party was still negotiating.
The lower chamber has still not voted on the bill, though one is expected to occur as early as this week.