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What We're Watching: Virginia gov election a test for Biden

What We're Watching: Virginia gov election a test for Biden

Campaign signs for Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin stand together on the last day of early voting in the Virginia gubernatorial election in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., October 30, 2021

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

A nail-biter in Virginia. The campaign for the 2022 US midterm elections officially kicks off Tuesday, when Virginia votes to elect a new governor in a race widely seen as a temperature check on Joe Biden's popularity after 10 months. Democrats hope that former Gov. Terry McAuliffe wins back his old job so that the purple state does not slide into Republican hands ahead of presidential elections in 2024. But GOP challenger Glenn Youngkin, a millionaire businessman supported by Donald Trump, has caught up in the polls once led comfortably by McAuliffe in a campaign marked by education culture wars. Now both are in a dead heat, and the result will likely be very close. A Youngkin victory would be a big boost for Republicans, who'll gain momentum going into the midterms next year, where the Dems face long odds of keeping control of both houses of Congress. What's more, it would add pressure on Biden to mediate between the moderate and progressive wings of his party to pass a social spending bill, the hallmark of his policy agenda. With his own approval rate plummeting, the president needs a big win that Democrats can sell to voters a year from now.


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