Former President Barack Obama will be campaigning on behalf of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who is running to become governor of Virginia in a widely watched race. Obama will be hitting the trail later this month, after prominent voting rights activist Stacey Abrams launches her own stint on the campaign trail in Virginia on behalf of the McAuliffe campaign.
Regarding the former president’s upcoming campaigning, McAuliffe commented as follows this week:
‘The stakes are so huge… If people don’t understand, they come out in presidential years, but they have to come out in this off year because literally their lives depend on it.’
There are significant issues that governors are poised to have some say over in the coming months, many of which center on COVID-19. A Republican governor could be more inclined away from strict safety precautions, which would leave Virginians especially at-risk of contracting the virus. There’s also the issue of providing needed support to the people of Virginia — historically, Republican governors have tended to leave their constituents to struggle. For instance, Republicans in certain states have resisted implementing expansions of Medicaid that are outlined by the Affordable Care Act. These moves leave people in need without the health coverage that could be critical to their well-being. In so doing, Republican leaders aren’t sticking up for freedom, or self-sufficiency, or whatever. They’re simply pathetic.
The McAuliffe campaign event with Obama is set for October 23. As summarized by CNN, “McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats have grown more concerned in recent weeks that their party’s base voters are not as focused on the race as they need to win.” Although Virginia has leaned towards Democrats in recent elections — the last Republican presidential nominee to win there was George W. Bush, polls have shown the race between McAuliffe and his Republican challenger, Glenn Youngkin, to be close, with McAuliffe maintaining a slight lead. An average maintained by FiveThirtyEight of relevant polls has McAuliffe just 2.5 percent ahead — which, while obviously enough for McAuliffe to win, is close enough for an upset victory by Youngkin.