Published October 6, 2021
At a virtual campaign rally last night, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe attempted to distance himself from President Biden.
“We’re facing a lot of headwinds from Washington,” he told supporters. “As you know, the president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through.”
A McAuliffe spokesperson later told Politico Playbook, “Terry’s point was clearly that Democrats can’t take anything for granted and must turn out to vote this year: Glenn Youngkin is running on a divisive, Trumpian agenda that puts election conspiracy theories and banning abortion first.”
I think McAuliffe’s point was pretty obvious: Virginians might not be thrilled with the Biden presidency thus far, but please vote for me anyway. And, as Playbook points out this afternoon, it wasn’t the first time the Democrat has tried to send this message:
McAuliffe has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Biden and the Democratic Congress — for instance, at a recent debate, McAuliffe said that the proposed $3.5 trillion price tag of Dems’ reconciliation package was “too high.” Even so, that’s a tall task, considering that McAuliffe is longtime friends with the president, and, of course, is the former chair of the DNC. (Also, VP KAMALA HARRIS recently headlined a fundraiser for McAuliffe, and second gentleman DOUG EMHOFF campaigned for him in Loudoun County over the weekend.)
McAuliffe is right to be nervous. Virginia’s gubernatorial election, coming as it does in the year immediately following a presidential race, tends to flip in the opposite direction of whichever party is in the White House.
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Alexandra DeSanctis is a staff writer for National Review and a visiting fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.