Published September 7, 2021
Virginia has become a Democratic-leaning state over the past decade, which gives former governor Terry McAuliffe a leg up in his effort to get his old job back. The polls, however, suggest that it might not be a slam dunk.
Republicans could have handed the race to McAuliffe by picking an ultra-Trump nominee, such as state Sen. Amanda F. Chase (Chesterfield). That would have been a kiss of death in a state that is home to many Never-Trump Republicans, and which backed President Biden by more than 10 points in 2020. They didn’t, however; instead, they picked wealthy businessman Glenn Youngkin.
Youngkin is able to self-fund his campaign and has been ubiquitous on the airwaves since he was nominated. His soft-focus ads tend to make the case that as an outsider he’s more likely to bring needed change than McAuliffe, the most insider of politicians imaginable. This is also a classic way of introducing a new candidate to voters, in that it presents unifying themes rather than the type of divisive hot-button topics that those from both parties’ extremes like to push.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.