Obama Heads To Virginia In Bid To Save McAuliffe's Floundering Campaign

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

Democrats in Virginia are in full-blown freakout mode. With early voting in the state’s elections already underway, and less than a month before Election Day will bring hundreds of thousands of residents to the ballot box, polling between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin is neck-and-neck. That’s not supposed to happen in a state like Virginia, which has been trending blue for more than a decade, but all indications are that the governor’s race is going to be incredibly close, and Republicans have a good chance of taking back control of the state’s House of Delegates as well.

In attempt to stave off what would be a disastrous election result for Democrats around the country (Virginia’s elections are seen as a bellweather for next year’s midterms), the McAuliffe campaign is bringing in the big guns. No, not Joe Biden, who McAuliffe recently acknowledged is “unpopular” in Virginia. McAuliffe would like Biden to stay as far away as possible from him or his campaign. No, it’s Biden’s old boss who’ll soon be hitting the campaign trail trying to rally support for McAuliffe and goose what many Democrats believe will be anemic turnout on the Left.

Former President Obama will campaign with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe later this month ahead of the state’s off-year election.

Obama will join McAuliffe on Oct. 23 in Richmond.

The news comes after McAuliffe’s campaign announced that first lady Jill Biden and former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will campaign with McAuliffe this weekend.

This is a bad sign for McAuliffe, because this isn’t about wooing independent or undecided voters. With three weeks until the votes are tallied, the Democrat is still desperate to turn out his base when he should be courting moderates and those yet to make up their minds. I doubt there are too many Virginians still on the fence about voting who’ll be swayed to McAuliffe’s campaign after seeing him stand side-by-side with Barack Obama or Stacey Abrams, but McAuliffe is clearly hoping to persuade reluctant Democratic voters to his side. Specifically, black Democrats.

A few months ago, Virginia’s first black governor tore into McAuliffe for flip-flopping on Gov. Ralph Northam and AG Mark Herring’s blackface scandals, as well as his decision to run for governor again after having served from 2013 to 2017.

“The statewide election this year in Virginia presents questions which require answers from those seeking to lead,” Wilder wrote on Facebook.

In his post, Wilder accused McAuliffe of flip-flopping on the matter of racist scandals that consumed Virginia politics in 2019.

At that time, Wilder said McAuliffe called on Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring to resign after a racist photo was found in Northam’s old medical school yearbook and Herring admitted wearing blackface once during a party in college.

Wilder noted that McAuliffe is now seeking Northam’s support and is asking Virginians to vote for Herring as he runs for another term as attorney general.

“No reasons have been given to the voters as to Terry’s change of mind,” Wilder wrote. “Is what Northam and Herring did all right by any standard?”

Wilder went a step further, criticizing McAuliffe for running for governor, accusing him of pushing aside Black candidates who were seeking the office in the Democratic primary.

McAuliffe won the primary in June, defeating four other candidates.

“All of the candidates he opposed except one, were Black, including two women, whom he felt not qualified to be given the chance that he had been given,” Wilder wrote.

For the first time in Virginia history there will be a black woman on the gubernatorial ballot this year, but she’s running to McAuliffe’s left, and that clearly has Democrats worried. Princess Blanding is running as the candidate of the Liberation Party, and while she’s only getting 2-3% in polling, in an election that’s expected to be won by razor-thin margins every vote that Blanding is able to peel away from McAuliffe is significant.

Interestingly, Blanding’s position on gun control laws is much different than McAuliffe’s. While the Democrat has called for a ban on so-called assault weapons and large capacity magazines, Blanding’s campaign platform lays out another approach to public safety, including:

  • Advance inclusive and safe gun ownership. ​

  • Address the systemic societal issues that lead to gun violence such as over-policing, lack of resources, and access to mental health support which thereby leads to crime, rather than solely focusing on the symptoms of impoverished, disinvested, and underserved communities by levying anti-gun legislation.

Frankly, it’s a shame that Blanding wasn’t given the opportunity to participate in the two gubernatorial debates, because it would have been great to see McAuliffe try to respond to her position on gun control.

I don’t think you’ll hear McAuliffe or Obama mention Princess Blanding or the Liberation Party during their appearance in Richmond next week. Instead, expect pleas about how this election is too important to sit out, with maybe a few vague exhortations to not waste a vote.

I suspect that McAuliffe and Obama are going to keep pretty quiet about gun control as well, but gun owners shouldn’t ignore the fact that McAuliffe is seeking help from one of the most anti-gun presidents in history. McAuliffe may be hoping to energize black voters with Obama’s appearance, but gun owners of all races, colors, and creeds should be fired up too. We have a chance to stop Terry McAuliffe and his fellow Democrats from levying more anti-gun and anti-civil rights legislation the good people of Virginia, but only if we show up and vote. .