Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, is facing difficulties in motivating members of his party to turn out for the upcoming gubernatorial election despite repeatedly calling for Democrats to “get out and vote,” The New York Times reports.
McAuliffe told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this week that “People got to understand, Joe, this is about turnout,” in reference to the election next month.
Locals, however, say that many in the state are unaware of the election due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other issues, such as a lack of local news outlets and a focus on national politics.
“A lot of folks are dealing with so many other things, I’m not sure that the broader community knows this is taking place, or that it’s rising to the level of importance,” said Sean Miller, the chief operating officer at Boys & Girls Club of Metro Richmond, which the governor toured earlier this week.
Virginia’s former secretary of education, Anne Holton, whose father and husband both served as governor of the state, added that “people are a little exhausted,” following a round-table discussion on the election, though she did foresee “very high turnout.”
McAuliffe has also drawn comparisons between his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, and former President Donald Trump, who lost the state in 2020 and in 2016 to his Democrat opponents.
“We cannot let Trump off the mat — his comeback is not starting in Virginia,” McAuliffe said in remarks to reporters while outside of the main early-voting location in Fairfax County on Wednesday, adding, “Only if Democrats get out and vote.”
Although the governor has invited several prominent Democrats to the state for upcoming campaign events, including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and former President Barack Obama, Youngkin has not invited Trump to campaign with him in the state, and did not attend a political rally in the state that Trump called in to.
The Times notes that every McAuliffe voter outside the early-voting site in Fairfax County mentioned Trump when asked about why they voted to reelect the former governor, and that other issues such as education and taxes were barely mentioned.