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McAuliffe Enlists Dem Star Power to Boost Candidacy as Polls Show a Close Race in Virginia

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Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe is enlisting the help of high-profile Democrats to boost his campaign as polls show a tight race in a state that has steadily trended more Democratic-leaning in recent years.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, McAuliffe announced that former President Barack Obama (D) will campaign for him in Richmond, Virginia.

Additionally, he shared that First Lady Jill Biden and former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams will also campaign for him.

And Politico’s Alex Thompson noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will hold a fundraiser for McAuliffe on Oct. 26.

A screenshot of the email invitation reads, “Terry is currently polling even with his opponent. Last week the Cook Political Report shifted our race from ‘Lean Democrat’ to ‘Toss Up,’ highlighting just how competitive this race truly is.”

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“If a Trump Republican wins a state that Biden won by 10 points, it will essentially steamroll a path for Trump’s comeback,” the invite added.

The election is on Nov. 2.

Republicans have not won a statewide election in Virginia since 2009, and the last time a Republican carried the state in a presidential election was in 2004.

When McAuliffe ran for governor in 2013, he beat the Republican candidate by just over 55,000 votes. His successor, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), defeated his Republican challenger by over 231,000 votes.

And in 2020, President Joe Biden handily won the state by more than 451,000 votes — nearly four times the margin that Obama carried the state by in his 2012 reelection bid.

Despite Democratic candidates’ recent electoral successes in the state, the race for the statehouse appears to be close. Last month, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed its rating for the race from “lean Democrat” to “toss-up.”

FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls also finds McAuliffe leading Republican Glenn Youngkin by a slim 2.5%.

As Reuters notes, “As one of the first statewide elections since Trump’s departure, the Virginia race is seen as a barometer for national political trends and a preview of what is to come in the 2022 elections that will decide which party controls Congress.”

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Jesse Ferguson, an aide to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, told the outlet Democrats “should absolutely be worried about the prospect of losing this race.”

“This is absolutely a four-alarm fire,” he added.

And during a recent call, McAuliffe raised concerns about “headwinds” facing his campaign in the state. He added, “[Biden] is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia. So we have got to plow through.”

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