The eve before historic election, America’s eyes turn to Virginia

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Tuesday is Election Day, and between early and absentee voting many people had already cast ballots as of Monday.

What’s at stake? The top 3 statewide offices, 100 seats in the House of Delegates, and some constitutional offices. It should be noted, Republicans have not won statewide office since 2009, and they are hungry for a win. 

This is also the most expensive gubernatorial race in Virginia History at $114 million.

A majority of the focus is on the race for governor. After all the millions spent, the signs put up, the commercials nonstop on television, Tuesday is “game day” in Virginia politics.  

It’s all about pushing the ground game to get out the vote. 

Republican Glenn Youngkin is banking on the suburbs and parents having a say in education. 

ODU Political Analyst Dr. Ben Melusky is weighing in on Youngkin’s strength.  

“One will be about education, and that is impacting him in the suburbs, and trying to run up the votes especially in those close districts that are going to impact key House of Delegate races,” he said.

NSU Political Analyst Dr. Eric Claville said Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe is hitting the base and reminding Democrats of former President Donald Trump, 

“He’s hitting that message hard and that is working for his base. The message is about former President Trump, January 6, and choice for women,” he said.

McAuliffe has also used Trump to nationalize the state run for governor, and Melusky says that can cut both ways.

“Trying to nationalize the campaign and trying to tie Donald Trump to Glenn Youngkin, so when you try to nationalize the election now you have President Biden in office who won the state by 10 points, but his approval rating has dropped 10 points since he took office,” Melusky said. 

“As you see the messaging for Youngkin it is time for change, time for choice, it is time for freedom,” Claville added. 

Melusky says Youngkin not wanting to talk about Planned Parenthood, so as not to lose independent voters, probably is a take-back moment Youngkin wishes he had.

“I think a lot of little things the Youngkin campaign is going to have to do is look back and… think about that,” he said. 

Both Political analysts say the candidates have been very strong on getting the message out to the base.

Dr. Claville says 

“Youngkin made various statements about Trump, and McAuliffe’s side utilized it, but the Youngkin side took it to their advantage in order to utilize their base.” 

Both agree the whole nation is watching to see who wins and how it sets the plate on the midterm elections in 2022 and the presidential election in 2024.

If Youngkin wins, Claville says it marks change.

“It says ‘Republicans are back.’ They found a new message, and they found a type of candidate to replace the former candidate,” Claville said.

“If Youngkin wins it is a bellwether for the 2020 elections and it is about messaging.  Messaging as it relates to education, Critical Race Theory, messaging as it relates to COVID-19, the virus, vaccine masks,” Melusky added.  

If McAuliffe wins, Claville thinks it’ll be a warning.   

“It shows Democrats were put on notice. They are vulnerable, and it is time to go back and look at messaging,” he said.  

Dr. Melusky added that if we are to believe the polls, it is possible we won’t immediately have a winner for governor at the end of Election Day.

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