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In Final Weeks of Virginia's Gubernatorial Race, It's Clear Where Momentum Is

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Election Day 2021, when Virginian voters will select their governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, is just a little over two weeks away.  The 100 House of Delegate seats are also up for re-election. And the race is tightening, enough so where many polls show a statistical tie, or, at the very least, that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe's lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin continues to shrink. Youngkin is not just improving in the polls, but he has momentum and enthusiasm on his side.

Youngkin traveled throughout the northern part of the commonwealth on Saturday. He's often traveling and campaigning to personally meet and greet voters throughout Virginia. In April, before he became the nominee, Youngkin spoke with Townhall about the events he's held and people he's met in Virginia, engaging with not just Republicans, but Democrats and Independents. 

As has been the case for so many Saturdays, volunteers took part in campaigning, including through door knocking. There were other outreach events as well.

Youngkin was also able to boast a standing room only event with veterans.

Meanwhile, McAuliffe has turned to key figures in the Democratic Party, former President Barack Obama, First Lady Jill Biden, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, and Vice President Kamala Harris. When it comes to Harris' form of campaigning, via video messages played in churches, the IRS might want to take a look.

Even President Joe Biden might make an appearance. When a reporter on Tuesday mentioned Biden, McAuliffe was quick to emphasize "he'll be coming." McAuliffe himself, however, has acknowledged that Biden "is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia."

Jill Biden's speech, which Landon reported on, appeared to be noticeably lacking in attendees, especially when contrasted with Youngkin's events. 

In light of Stacey Abrams coming to campaign, Youngkin released a statement, which in part read:

“Also telling is his shameless embrace of Stacey Abrams, who lost her election, refused to concede, and claimed it was stolen. McAuliffe is the only candidate in this race who has claimed an election was stolen or suggested the 2020 election would be rigged, and his continued refusal to acknowledge the fact that George W. Bush was legitimately elected further demonstrates his extreme hypocrisy. It’s clear he’s a dishonest politician who says one thing and does the exact opposite.”

McAuliffe has accused Younking of questioning the 2020 election, while he himself took issue with the legitimacy of the 2000 election, when serving as the DNC chair.

When discussing the "desperation" of McAuliffe bringing in key Democratic figures in the final days, Youngkin reminded that Democrats "are looking at the same numbers we are, which is me pulling ahead, and Terry falling behind. They're also seeing no enthusiasm at the ballot, at the early ballot for him, and big enthusiasm for us."

Youngkin also drew a further contrast between himself and McAuliffe, as the latter leans on help from big-names coming from away to campaign. "Down this stretch, what you're going to see is Glenn Youngkin running for Virginians, you're going to see me traveling everywhere, speaking to Virginians, and listening to Virginians, and you're going to see Terry McAuliffe trying to bring in every single person outside of Virginia that he possibly can, to try to garner some support."

Youngkin went to offer that "guess what, Virginians aren't buying it," suggesting that they "want a governor that's going to work for them." With laughter, Youngkin quipped that perhaps his opponent was going to run so he could be the DNC chair again," since McAuliffe "is bringing everybody on the planet who has no tie to Virginia, whatsoever, in order to try to rescue a failing campaign." 

He reminded that McAuliffe has been in politics for decades, pointing out that "this is exactly what a 43-year career political operative would do." 

Meanwhile, Youngkin has made it a priority from the start to distinguish himself as a "political outsider."

Youngkin went on to note that McAuliffe is "not even talking about the things that Virginians want to talk about," with Youngkin further distinguishing himself by sharing "I'm going to lower taxes, improve schools, we're going to make communities safe, we're gonna have the best jobs, we're going to have the government working for us," which he said is "why Virginians are going to elect me the next governor of Virginia."

If he does win, and Youngkin does seem to genuinely believe he can and will, he emphasized it's not a matter of political parties. "I think it starts that it's about Virginians. It's no longer about Republicans against Democrats. It's about Virginians standing up for what they know is right and they're rejecting the liberal progressive agenda" and "the policies that have been dragging Virginia to look like California East." As to why Virginians "are going to reject Terry McAuliffe," Youngkin referred to him as "the godfather of the modern-day Democratic Party.

Youngkin is also quite aware and hardly seems to take for granted that he polls ahead with Independents, as they align with the ideas of what "everybody in Virginia wants" with how "Terry McAuliffe is offering none of it" as "people are tired of recycled policies with a recycled politician who candidly can't even explain to voters why he's running again."

As far as why Youngkin is running, it's pretty simple, and he wears this mantra well. "I'm running for Virginians because I love the commonwealth of Virginia and I'm homegrown and I want to go work for all Virginians."

Before taking the time to speak with Townhall, as he exited the restaurant, Youngkin was greeted by many enthusiastic supporters, and he made sure to interact with all of them. It seemed business as usual for the personable candidate. 

The enthusiasm for the Youngkin campaign isn't just recognized in the polls or acknowledged by strategists from all sides. It's seen and experienced in the human interactions as Youngkin connects with voters.

A piece published on September 24 for AP by Sarah Rakin highlighted the "Pressure rising for Democrats in Virginia governor’s race." Enthusiasm was a major focal point of the article. 

Executive Director of Virginia FREE and former Delegate Chris Saxman, in a blog post republished with Bearing Drift, mentioned "a potential softness in Democratic enthusiasm for Terry McAuliffe," with original emphasis, as part of the "11 Reasons Why Virginia Republicans Can Win This Fall."  

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