RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The first major test of how voters feel about Joe Biden’s presidency is unfolding in Virginia, where a governor’s race that was supposed to be a comfortable win for Democrats is instead ending in suspense.
Terry McAuliffe, one of the most prominent figures in Democratic politics and a former Virginia governor, is in a tight race today for his old job against Republican rival and political newcomer Glenn Youngkin. The bruising, costly campaign has centered on issues including Youngkin’s ties to former President Donald Trump, the future of abortion rights and culture war battles over school curricula.
But the results may ultimately be interpreted as an early judgment of Biden. A year after he easily captured Virginia by 10 percentage points, the competitive nature of the governor’s race is a sign of how his political fortunes have changed. The White House has been shaken in recent months by the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, a sometimes sluggish economic recovery amid the pandemic and a legislative agenda at risk of stalling on Capitol Hill.