Harris to campaign for McAuliffe this week in diverse Virginia county

Harris to campaign for McAuliffe this week in diverse Virginia county
JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris will campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Thursday, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Harris will headline an evening rally on Thursday in Prince William County, the most diverse county in the commonwealth, according to the 2020 census. Democrats in Virginia are hopeful that the vice president will be able to engage key Democratic voters ahead of the November 2 election.

McAuliffe is currently locked in a tight race with Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin, with Democrats concerned the same voters who turned out to deliver President Joe Biden and Harris a 10-percentage point win over former President Donald Trump in 2020 have either yet to be fully engaged in the off-year election or are politically exhausted by a series of high-stakes elections.

While Election Day is on the first Tuesday of November, hundreds of thousands of voters have already cast early vote ballots, putting pressure on both Democrats and Republicans to spur engagement in the campaign now.

To boost those numbers, McAuliffe has turned to a stable of top Democratic talent. McAuliffe rallied with first lady Jill Biden last week in the Richmond area, held multiple events over the weekend with Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams and has a planned rally on Saturday, with former President Barack Obama.

McAuliffe’s campaign hopes Harris, the nation’s first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president, will particularly engage voters of color in Virginia. That is why the vice president will visit Prince William County, the commonwealth’s second largest and an area where 25% of residents are Latino or Hispanic and 20% are Black.

Polls have shown a tight race between McAuliffe and Youngkin in a state that has ticked toward Democrats over the last decade.

A Fox News poll released this month found 51% of likely voters backed McAuliffe, compared to 46% for Youngkin. Voters gave a net favorable rating to both McAuliffe and Youngkin in the poll.

The first term of the Biden administration, and what it’s been able to achieve, has loomed over the Virginia race, with McAuliffe actively railing against Democrats in Congress who have so far failed to pass two key bills that are part of the President’s economic agenda. McAuliffe has urged Democrats to stop the “chitty-chat up in Washington” and to “get in a room and get this figured out.”

The impact is particularly felt in Northern Virginia, an area that his home to thousands of federal workers who are more attuned to the machinations of Washington.

“It always concerns us,” said David Ramadan, a former Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates who has endorsed McAuliffe. “Anything that happens across the river has an implication on us here, especially in Northern Virginia. And when we are talking about elections today in Virginia, Northern Virginia is really the heavy side of that election. So, of course, it concerns me.”

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