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After Newsom Crushes Recall, Attention Turns to Virginia's Governor's Race

On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom easily defeated a Republican effort to recall him by about 25 percentage points. Donald Trump suggested the vote was likely "rigged," even before the ballots were counted, but given the size of the Governor's victory even the most ardent Trump supporters will probably ignore Trump's rather predictable blather.

Newsom successfully made the election about his efforts to battle the Covid pandemic and Californians are as tired as anybody of the anti-vax/anti-mask nonsense being peddled by Trumpists in states like Texas and Florida. And, even though Newsom made some mistakes [the French Laundry restaurant fiasco], the thought of the state being run by right-wing talk show host Larry Elder was way more repugnant to most voters.

Sac. Bee: "Elder gave the Newsom campaign kindling to light a fire under liberal voters with his conservative positions against the minimum wage, abortion and hiring discrimination protections for women. The rise of Elder, who supported the former president, helped Newsom argue the recall was being pushed by Trump Republicans."

Now, with the CA recall settled, Virginia's Governor's race will take center stage in the world of politics. In that contest former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe has a small lead over wealthy Republican private equity manager, Glenn Youngkin, but the race promises to be close and many see it as a bellwether for the 2022 midterm elections.

This will be an important week in the contest as McAuliffe and Youngkin meet in their first debate this evening and early voting begins tomorrow. McAuliffe's challenge will be to get supporters fired up and to the polls in an off-year election. And his job might be more difficult because he and his successor, Governor Ralph Northam, have been so successful in achieving Democratic priorities.

New Republic: "The situation is a result of two terms of Democratic control of the governor’s mansion, during a heady period within the party under both McAuliffe and current Governor Ralph Northam that saw Virginia expand Medicaid and pass new laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the work place. Medicaid expansion, passed under Northam, gave 400,000 Virginians access to health insurance. During his time in office, McAuliffe signed an executive order restoring voting rights for 200,000 convicted felons in the state."

Northam also led efforts to address gun violence, raise the minimum wage, expand access to voting, protect the environment, and legalize marijuana use. He has also been widely praised for his steady hand during the pandemic. The problem with so much success, so quickly, is that it has energized the state's right-wing voters to push back against further progressive legislation.

So far in the election, McAuliffe has focused on plans to increase business investment in the state and get more Virginians vaccinated. His latest proposal, which he outlined to reporters this week, calls for business incentives, mobile vaccine clinics and a better marketing plan to get shots in arms.

Republican Glenn Youngkin's strategy, which he revealed while speaking to supporters recently, is to be as vague as possible on his priorities so as not to offend independent voters.

The Hill: "In a clip posted online by the liberal news site the American Independent, Youngkin was asked if he would “take it to the abortionists,” to which he responded that he was “staunchly, unabashedly” anti-abortion but could not discuss the issue much ahead of the November election."
“I’m going to be really honest with you. The short answer is in this campaign, I can’t. When I’m governor and I have a majority in the House we can start going on offense. But as a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won’t win my independent votes that I have to get,”
lluminate: "But Glenn Youngkin's candidacy may be the worst possible scenario; a candidate that wants to hide their very specific views regarding social issues like guns and abortion while having no concrete proposals to improve education or healthcare or reform the criminal justice system."

Youngkin has been less than forthcoming regarding any of his legislative priorities and his campaign website speaks mostly in vague and contradictory generalities [spend more on schools, lower taxes]. One of the few specifics concerns his opposition to "critical race theory," a Republican bogeyman, that isn't even part of the state's Standards of Learning.

In the end, the race will hinge on enthusiasm and Donald Trump has endorsed Youngkin ensuring a strong conservative turnout, especially in the Southwestern part of the state. McAuliffe's job, starting with tonight's debate, will be to energize Democrats and remind them that all the gains of the last eight years could be quickly undermined by Youngkin, including Medicaid expansion, voting rights, initiatives to battle climate change, and protections for workers and the LGBT community.

Reminder: early in-person voting starts tomorrow and you can find information about Virginia voting here.

#Virginia #news #politics

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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