Biden ties Republican in race for Virginia governor to Trump

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — President Joe Biden framed the Virginia governor’s contention arsenic a repudiation of his predecessor, tying the Republican campaigner to erstwhile President Donald Trump arsenic helium campaigned Tuesday nighttime for Democrat Terry McAuliffe successful what’s go a choky and progressively bitter campaign.

No Republican has won statewide bureau successful Virginia since 2009, and Biden carried it by a comfy 10 percent points successful 2020. Yet polls person shown McAuliffe tied with Republican erstwhile concern enforcement Glenn Youngkin with the predetermination a week away — and the president’s ain popularity is connected the decline.

In the last days of the race, some candidates are focused connected turning retired their basal supporters, with Republicans pressing civilization warfare issues — prompting a statement implicit banning books successful precocious schoolhouse classrooms — and McAuliffe, who antecedently served arsenic politician from 2014 to 2018, hammering Youngkin for his ties to Trump.

Biden drove that taxable location during a rally successful Arlington, conscionable crossed the Potomac River from Washington, mentioning the erstwhile president by sanction much often than Youngkin and drafting a nonstop enactment from past year’s statesmanlike contention to adjacent Tuesday’s election.

“I ran against Donald Trump and Terry is moving against an acolyte of Donald Trump,” Biden said.

He charged that Youngkin “not lone embraces immoderate of the indispensable deficiency of character, helium endorses Donald Trump’s atrocious ideas and atrocious record.”

McAuliffe, meanwhile, told the aforesaid gathering that Youngkin “is ending his run the mode helium started it: With divisive canine whistles.”

“We person a choice: A way that promotes conspiracies, hate, division, oregon a way focused connected lifting up each azygous Virginian,” McAuliffe said.

A nonaccomplishment by McAuliffe — oregon possibly adjacent a constrictive triumph — would beryllium an ominous motion for Democrats already apt facing stiff governmental headwinds successful adjacent year’s midterm elections, erstwhile their constrictive power of the House and Senate volition beryllium connected the line. The enactment that wins the White House historically losses legislature seats successful the adjacent election, and Virginia, this cycle’s apical off-year race, is seen arsenic a cardinal trial of whether Democrats tin caput into 2022 with momentum.

How overmuch assistance Biden volition connection McAuliffe is unclear, though. The president has seen the percentage of Americans approving of his occupation show fall aft the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and amid an system that remains acold from afloat healed arsenic the federation continues to conflict with the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden defended his grounds Tuesday night, rehashing immoderate of his aged arguments with Trump. He said that portion Trump presided implicit a nonaccomplishment of American jobs, the Biden medication has overseen a surge successful occupation creation, and besides touted the spot of the banal marketplace connected his ticker — a motion to 1 of Trump’s favored metrics for success.

And Biden touted aspects of his infrastructure and societal services spending proposals, tying his plans to the request to triumph adjacent week’s elections.

“We’re connected the close track, but we’ve got much to do,” Biden said.

Youngkin’s run released an advertisement featuring a parent who years agone sought to person the publication “Beloved” banned from classrooms successful suburban Washington. The acclaimed 1987 caller by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison is astir an escaped enslaved who kills her babe girl alternatively than allowing the miss to beryllium returned to the plantation.

The mother’s advocacy led to authorities authorities McAuliffe vetoed successful 2016 and 2017 that would person fto parents opt retired of having their children survey schoolroom materials with sexually explicit content.

McAuliffe’s run and chap Democrats blasted Youngkin’s advertisement and accused him of trying to “silence” Black authors.

McAuliffe’s run highlighted the contention during his rally Tuesday nighttime by passing retired copies of “Beloved” to reporters, and McAuliffe hammered Youngkin for it.

“He wants to bring his idiosyncratic civilization wars into our classrooms,” helium said. “Folks, we volition not let Glenn Youngkin to bring his hate, his chaos, into our Virginia schools.”

Youngkin has made defending “parental rights” successful schoolhouse classrooms a centerpiece of his gubernatorial run, and his run responded by noting that the bills McAuliffe vetoed had passed with Democratic support. It said that by accusing Youngkin of playing radical politics, McAuliffe was efficaciously leveling the aforesaid complaint astatine his ain party.

That contented flared up earlier Biden addressed much than 1,000 radical who cheered and shivered against stiff winds connected shot fields successful a parkland successful Arlington, agelong safely bluish territory. Other, adjacent parts of the fast-growing Washington suburbs person moved Virginia from a onetime plaything authorities to much reliably Democratic — particularly arsenic their populations of Black, Hispanic and Asian residents person increased.

A tiny radical of protesters, 1 hoisting a ample “Trump Won” flag, gathered adjacent and concisely chanted “Let’s Go Brandon,” a euphemism for a vulgarity against Biden that has go fashionable connected blimpish societal media sites.

Ebonie Gadson, 23, an autarkic elector who works for a tech institution and lives crossed the street, headed to rally to larn much astir a governor’s contention she said she lone precocious began intimately following.

“Having the president’s support, I think, volition summation elector turnout and conscionable get everyone excited,” said Gadson, who added that she wanted to larn much astir the contention “than conscionable what I’d seen connected TV.”

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Youngkin is “ensuring each Virginian has a accidental successful their child’s education.”

“With an unprecedented magnitude of Republican enthusiasm, Virginians are acceptable to cull Terry McAuliffe and Joe Biden,” McDaniel said successful a statement.

Biden made his 2nd travel to Arlington since McAuliffe launched his gubernatorial bid. He’s the latest successful a parade of Democratic stars to flood the state, hoping to occurrence up the party’s base.

The president follows former President Barack Obama, Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison, erstwhile Georgia gubernatorial campaigner Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and first woman Jill Biden.

Vice President Kamala Harris volition run for McAuliffe connected Friday, her 2nd halt successful arsenic galore weeks. In Dumfries, astir 30 miles southbound of Washington past week, Harris called the contention “tight” and warned against Democratic complacency.

Youngkin campaigned successful Clarksville and Danville, not acold from the Virginia-North Carolina border, connected Tuesday, portion of a 50-stop autobus tour. In opposition to McAuliffe, Youngkin, a erstwhile apical enforcement astatine the backstage equity steadfast the Carlyle Group, has mostly shied distant from extracurricular assistance from nationalist enactment members, though helium has been endorsed by Trump.

“This is nary longer a campaign,” Youngkin said arsenic helium visited suburban Richmond recently. “This is simply a movement.”

Associated Press writer Sarah Rankin successful Richmond, Virginia, contributed to this report.

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