Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted the importance of Virginia’s gubernatorial election as she – and the president – campaigned for former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe at the end of October.
Harris, President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama publicly backed McAuliffe, who lost to Republican Glenn Youngkin on Tuesday in a race that marked the first statewide win in Virginia for Republicans since 2009. The highly anticipated election has been viewed by some experts as an indicator of things to come for the 2022 midterms – and just days ago, Harris appeared to agree, warning Virginians that the result could determine the future of the country.
“What happens in Virginia will in large part determine what happens in 2022, 2024, and on,” Harris said during remarks for McAuliffe on Oct. 29. “I’m also here to talk about the fact that each one of you, in your possession, has the ability to determine, yes who will be the next governor but also by extension … how the country is going to move.”
“Tuesday is a critical day that will determine whether we either turn back the clock or move it forward,” Harris added, calling it “a bellwether for what happens in the rest of the country.” (RELATED: Youngkin Leads Or Ties With McAuliffe In Polling Trackers In Race To Be Virginia’s Next Governor)
Biden, too, admitted to reporters on Oct. 15 that “everybody understandably reads the two gubernatorial off-year elections as being a bellwether of what may happen.” He pointed out that “sometimes it’s been right” and “sometimes it’s been wrong” while reiterating his faith in the Democratic candidate whom he publicly backed and campaigned for.
“I think Terry is going to win,” Biden said at the time. “If he doesn’t win, I don’t know how much you read into that, but, you know, I — well, I think he’ll win.”
The president stood by his faith in McAuliffe while in Europe on Tuesday – just before the polls closed in Virginia – despite polls indicating Youngkin was pulling ahead.
“We’re gonna win,” Biden told reporters during the press conference in Glasgow, Scotland. “I think we’re gonna win in Virginia.”
Still, Biden was quick to note that if the party did not win, he didn’t view it as a reflection on him. The Virginia race has been tied to Biden’s success in office, with many noting that it was a state the president won by over 10 points against former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
“The off year is always unpredictable, especially when we don’t have a general election going on at the same time,” Biden said. “That’s been the case up and down, you know, for a long time, especially as Virginia has turned more and more blue. But having said that, I don’t believe – and I’ve not seen any evidence – that whether or not I am doing well or poorly, whether or not I’ve got my agenda passed or not, is gonna have any real impact on winning or losing.”