Like the Democrat administration, the McAuliffe campaign has been snakebit. They can’t put a foot right. It’s like they are taking a dive. Youngkin could get past a squeaker and possibly win solid, by 6 or 7. Newt Gingrich brings us the story.
Virginians in Roanoke and Richmond are ready to end the far left liberal monopoly and bring change to the Commonwealth!
Let’s do this, Virginia. pic.twitter.com/inIFy98oLn
— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) November 1, 2021
Gingrich: Virginia was supposed to be a solid blue state. Joe Biden carried it by 10 points. Since 2013, Democrats have won 13 straight statewide elections. Terry McAuliffe is a former governor who started this race with a massive name recognition advantage and presumably a substantial advantage in knowledge about state government.
Yet, today the race is too close to call. If McAuliffe does win, he will barely squeak through in a state the Democrat should be carrying handily. And, of course, there is a distinctly real possibility (I would say a probability) that Glenn Youngkin will become the next governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
One of the things which has made this a fascinating election is the radical, almost diametrically opposed strategies of the two campaigns. McAuliffe, who started the race with knowledge of the entire state, strangely decided that he had to beat Youngkin on national issues. He designed a campaign to solidify the blue vote which seemed to be moving toward an unbeatable majority. This might have initially been bad advice from lazy consultants, but McAuliffe has clearly stuck with it.
Youngkin entered the race knowing that his greatest strength would be local issues and local concerns. He has rejected the national rhetoric and focused continuously on Virginia issues and Virginia solutions. McAuliffe’s biggest effort was to make Youngkin into Donald Trump. After all, in 2020 Biden beat Trump by more than 451,000 votes. So, the McAuliffe calculus was simple: Consolidate the anti-Trump vote, convince people Youngkin is a Trump clone, and win handily.
This strategy fell apart for three reasons. First, the core assumption isn’t believable. Youngkin is a business executive who is focused on state issues rather than national ones. In a U.S. Senate race in which national issues and national personalities really matter, perhaps the McAuliffe attacks would have more punch. In a gubernatorial race, people simply do not translate McAuliffe’s clearly political attack into a real argument.
Second, most of Youngkin’s conversations have been about positive steps to improve Virginia’s economy and the lives of Virginians. Youngkin’s ads have been about policy proposals that stick with voters: getting rid of the grocery tax, suspending Virginia’s recent gas tax hike, and addressing the high cost of living by doubling the standard deduction for state income tax. Finally, McAuliffe made a huge mistake in a debate and said he did not think parents have a say over school curricula. Youngkin’s team was able to get an ad up within 12 hours.