Jill Biden Stumping for Va.’s McAuliffe in Possible Dem Bellwether for 2022

First lady Jill Biden will lead a group of top Democrats to Virginia to campaign for former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in what could foreshadow the 2022 midterm elections.

The Washington Examiner reported Friday that Biden is going to Henrico County in Virginia, leading off visits around the Richmond area from top Democrats to campaign for McAuliffe, who is in a tight race with Republican Glenn Youngkin.

In a recent Trafalgar Group poll, Youngkin leads McAuliffe by around 1 point, 48.4%-47.5%, with 1.3% saying they will vote for a third-party candidate, or write in a candidate.

And 2.8% said they are undecided in the race, according to the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.96 percentage points.

The survey of 1,095 likely 2021 general election voters was taken between Oct. 11 and 13, according to the organization.

McAuliffe, a Fairfax County Democrat, served as governor from 2014-18 but was barred by Virginia law to seek reelection for a consecutive term.

The Virginia race is seen as a potential canary in a coal mine for how Democrats nationwide are likely to fare in the 2022 midterm elections.

According to the Trafalgar poll, Democratic President Joe Biden is underwater on his job approval with 58.4% disapproving, and 39.9% approving his performance since he took office in January.

Henrico County, with a U.S. Census recorded population of 330,818 in 2019, went from a red, conservative stronghold to blue in recent elections, but may now return to red, according to county Republican leaders.

”That’s where you’re seeing a lot of enthusiasm for Youngkin right now — in the suburbs that were kind of a blue wing and then went very hard blue in 2017,” GOP strategist Shaun Kenney told the Examiner. ”They’re now coming back home. If Henrico County falls into the Republican column convincingly, game over [for Democrats in 2022].”

McAuliffe’s lead over Youngkin, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has been cut in half since August, according to the Examiner.

Along with Biden, Georgia Democratic Party firebrand Stacey Abrams and other notables are expected to flood the state as Election Day on Nov. 2 draws closer.

”Both campaigns are waging ‘base’ elections,” Stephen Farnsworth, director of the University of Mary Washington’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, said in the Examiner article. ”There’s not that much persuasion going on.”

Another poll issue that may hurt McAuliffe, according to the Trafalgar Group, is that the current Democratic governor of the state is also underwater in the poll, with 49.9% disapproving the job he is doing; he has a 41.8% approval rating.

Of the 49.9% who are not happy, 37.4% ”strongly disapprove” of his performance.

The majority of those polled, 45.8%, identified as Democrats, with 37.8% saying they were Republicans, and 16.5% identifying as ”nonpartisan.”

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