As Youngkin Tries to Finesse Trump, McAuliffe Conjures His Comeback

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Barnstorming Virginia, the candidates for politician hammered distant astatine their halfway arguments. For the Republican: parents’ engagement successful schools. For the Democrat: Trump redux.

Glenn Youngkin, left, has focused his run  connected  giving parents greater power  implicit    the program  successful  nationalist   schools.
Credit...Carlos Bernate for The New York Times

Reid J. Epstein

Nov. 1, 2021, 3:28 p.m. ET

In the last hours of campaigning connected Monday to go Virginia’s adjacent governor, it was Glenn Youngkin offering an optimistic imaginativeness for the aboriginal portion Terry McAuliffe delivered harsh warnings astir ghosts of the past.

As the 2 men barnstormed crossed the state, the opposition successful code demonstrated their shifting fortunes successful the highest illustration contention connected the ballot connected Tuesday. Mr. McAuliffe, a longtime fixture of the Democratic establishment, was scrambling to forestall President Biden’s unpopularity, the gridlock successful Washington and Mr. Youngkin’s effectual weaponizing of radical issues successful the nationalist schools from dooming his bid for a 2nd word arsenic governor.

Mr. Youngkin, for his part, was aiming to redefine however Republicans could triumph elections with erstwhile President Donald J. Trump retired of the White House. He has accepted Mr. Trump’s enactment and has abstained from criticizing him, but Mr. Youngkin has kept Mr. Trump from visiting Virginia and ne'er invokes his sanction during his stump speeches. A erstwhile backstage equity executive, Mr. Youngkin embraced Mr. Trump during the superior contention this twelvemonth but spent the months since winning the Republican information keeping a rhetorical distance.

On Monday, successful the Richmond area, Mr. Youngkin said helium would pb a expanse of Republican victories crossed the authorities that would specify a caller epoch for the enactment — 1 that helium has centered connected giving parents greater power implicit the program successful nationalist schools, peculiarly successful however children are educated astir racism.

“We volition not thatch our children to presumption everything done the lens of race,” Mr. Youngkin told supporters astatine a midday rally successful an airplane hangar. “So connected Day 1, I volition prohibition captious contention mentation from Virginia’s schools.”

That theory, a graduate-level world model that argues that humanities patterns of racism are ingrained successful instrumentality and different modern institutions, is not taught successful Virginia’s nationalist schools. But conservatives person turned it into a flash constituent successful cardinal suburban areas specified arsenic Loudoun County, conscionable extracurricular Washington.

Earlier, successful Roanoke, the biggest metropolis successful the mountain-specked southwest country of the state, and a Republican stronghold, Mr. Youngkin promised voters that the party’s renewal was astatine hand.

“We’re going to person a full caller harvest of Republicans travel successful and specify a caller mode forward,” helium told supporters successful a greeting rally astatine the airport.

While Mr. Youngkin ne'er mentioned Mr. Trump successful his 22-minute speech, helium touched connected respective of the erstwhile president’s themes and deployed immoderate of his catchphrases.

“I americium truthful bushed of Virginia losing,” Mr. Youngkin said. “I privation Virginia to commencement winning again.”

Mr. Trump, who arranged to talk to his ain Virginia supporters connected Mr. Youngkin’s behalf during a Monday evening league telephone “tele-rally,” appeared to beryllium angling to instrumentality recognition if Mr. Youngkin was victorious.

The media, Mr. Trump said successful a connection earlier successful the day, was “trying to make an content that Glenn Youngkin and I are astatine likelihood and don’t similar each other.” He said that this was untrue: “We get on precise good unneurotic and powerfully judge successful galore of the aforesaid policies.”

Still, Mr. Youngkin fto it beryllium known that helium was excessively engaged campaigning to be the Trump call-in.

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Credit...Kristen Zeis for The New York Times

Mr. McAuliffe, crisscrossing the authorities successful different plane, hammered distant astatine the Trump-Youngkin connection, arsenic helium has for weeks. He warned that a triumph by Mr. Youngkin would pave the mode for Mr. Trump to effort his ain governmental restoration, and urged Virginians not to fto the 2 of them exploit the authorities that way.

“We don’t privation a Trump wannabe, idiosyncratic who has been endorsed by Donald Trump 10 times,” Mr. McAuliffe told reporters aft a greeting halt successful Roanoke. “Donald Trump wants to triumph time truthful that connected the adjacent time helium volition state for president of the United States. He wants to usage Virginia arsenic the launchpad for his presidential.”

Mr. McAuliffe’s strategy of tethering Mr. Youngkin to Mr. Trump has not stopped his pb successful the polls from evaporating. A Washington Post poll released implicit the play revealed the Virginia contention to beryllium successful a dormant heat, a stark comedown for a Democratic Party that has not mislaid a statewide contention successful Virginia since 2009. Mr. Biden won the authorities by 10 percent points past year.

Officials connected some sides of the contention for politician are stymied by a deficiency of accusation astir what Tuesday’s electorate volition look like. It is the archetypal statewide contention nether voting rules established successful 2020, which created 45 days of no-excuse aboriginal voting crossed the state.

More than 1.1 cardinal votes person already been cast, according to information from the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, down from the 2.8 cardinal radical who voted starring up to Election Day successful 2020 but up sharply from the 195,000 aboriginal votes successful the 2017 predetermination for governor.

Tom Bonier, the main enforcement of TargetSmart, a Democratic information firm, wrote connected Sunday that Black turnout successful the aboriginal ballot was down somewhat from 2020 levels, portion the percent of young voters was “lagging severely down erstwhile benchmarks.”

The stock of agrarian voters casting ballots aboriginal was up sharply, and Republican voters appeared acold much enthusiastic astir the predetermination than Democrats did, helium said.

That could ratchet up the play surrounding who shows up astatine the polls connected Tuesday. “Election Day volition beryllium decisive,” Mr. Bonier said.

On the ground, officials moving connected elector turnout for the Democratic summons said they were finding Black voters acold little engaged successful this year’s predetermination than successful contests during Mr. Trump’s presidency, erstwhile the president’s changeless Twitter commentary provided a dependable proviso of outrage.

“Because Trump is not successful office, there’s nary longer a changeless barrage of foolery for them to wage attraction to,” said Angela Angel, a elder advisor for Black Lives Matter PAC, who was canvassing Black neighborhoods successful Virginia Beach connected Monday. “Good oregon bad, it drew them into politics.”

Mr. McAuliffe has sought to prosecute Black voters successful the run done a bid of high-profile Black surrogates. He reminded reporters connected Monday that helium had appeared astatine rallies with erstwhile President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams, the voting rights activistic and erstwhile Democratic legislator from Georgia.

But Ms. Angel said voters were expressing “some disappointment astir the existent administration” for failing to enact galore of the large changes that Mr. Biden had promised past twelvemonth arsenic helium sought to oust Mr. Trump from office.

Even Mr. McAuliffe lamented the dilatory gait astatine which legislature Democrats had been negotiating their long-awaited authorities connected infrastructure and societal policy.

“I anticipation that time they’re going to walk an infrastructure bill,” Mr. McAuliffe said successful Roanoke connected Monday morning. “Get your occupation done. Pass the bill. It’s not going to person immoderate relevance to our election, but it volition person relevance erstwhile I’m governor.”

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