Former President Barack Obama will campaign for former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the closing weeks of the state’s hotly contested gubernatorial race.
Obama will campaign for McAuliffe, who is facing off against Republican Glenn Youngkin for his old job, on Oct. 23. The event in Richmond is 10 days before Election Day.
The former president is the latest high-profile Democrat to stump for McAuliffe’s comeback bid. President Joe Biden campaigned for him in late July, before the resurgence of the coronavirus and the president’s poll numbers tumbling. First Lady Jill Biden will campaign for McAuliffe on Friday, and Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams will be in the state this weekend.
State of the race: The Virginia gubernatorial election has long been considered a major political bellwether ahead of the midterms. Traditionally, the party that wins the presidential race loses in Virginia the following year, with the lone exception to that in decades being McAuliffe’s own narrow 2013 win.
The race between the former governor and Youngkin, a first-time candidate and former private equity executive, is close. A poll released last week from the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University found McAuliffe at 49 percent, to Youngkin’s 45 percent, within the poll’s margin of error.
Early voting has already begun in the state. This year is the first gubernatorial election in which every Virginia voter has access to expanded in-person early voting and mail voting, after Democrats took complete control of the state government following the 2019 elections and passed sweeping expansions of access to the ballot. In-person early voting ends Oct. 30, one week after Obama’s appearance.