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Race Summary:

Virginia voters have the option to vote for a familiar face in Terry McAuliffe (D) when he faces Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin in the highly anticipated Virginia Governors election on November 2nd. This is the first major general election since Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff clinched a Democratic Trifecta in early January, and will set the tone for the important 2022 midterm season. McAuliffe aims to be the first politician in Virginia history to serve two non-consecutive terms as governor, having served his first term from 2014-2018. Youngkin has run his campaign appealing to conservative voters who are worried about the rise of the "radical left," painting himself as the first step to stop a complete takeover of America by progressives. The issue of critical race theory has been at the forefront of this election; Youngkin has risen in polls over the past few weeks, viciously attacking McAuliffe for hoping to "minimize" the role of parents in their children's educations. News broke on October 22nd that McAuliffe pardoned Ralph Northam's (D-VA) blackface usage as a "youthful mistake," and will likely cause him to slide even further in polling before the election. Youngkin has attempted to distance himself from the far right, admitting that Biden lawfully won the 2020 presidential election and condemning the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. McAuliffe has fired back by trying to tie Youngkin to Trump, even airing an ad in suburban counties featuring Trump's endorsement of Youngkin. Our model had this race as a near dead-heat, as McAuliffe clings to a slim advantage. But through solid recent polling, Youngkin snatched the lead in our model in the final week before election day.

Race Rating: Lean R

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