The stakes of Tuesday’s gubernatorial election in Virginia extends far outside the state and even the beltway around Washington, D.C., because if Republicans win, it will be a rejection of Democrat control of government.
“The last two-and-a-half months makes it look like Democrats are in disarray,” Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas, told The New York Times.
A victory by Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin will “have a cascading effect,” and force Democrats fearing their 2022 midterm fate to pull back on President Joe Biden’s tax-and-spend agenda, perhaps even drive some to retirement, experts told the Times.
Youngkin said a GOP victory in Virginia would send “a shock wave across this country.”
“A close race in Virginia would signal just how hard the midterms will be for Democrats and the urgency of passing democracy reform,” Justice Democrats spokesman Waleed Shahid told the Times.
Biden carried the state by 10 points against former President Donald Trump last November and Democrat Terry McAuliffe has already won the governor’s mansion, serving in the post from 2014-’18.
Virginia can be a bellwether for midterms. The last time the Democrats controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress, 2009, a Virginia gubernatorial loss led to the loss of House and Senate control.
“We’re going to have to change our calculation of what’s a race and look at the districts Trump lost,” Democrat consultant Rebecca Pearcey told the Times of McAuliffe’s tight race against Youngkin. “Even if he wins, we’re going to have to reassess what the map looks like on Wednesday, because Tuesday is not going to be a pretty night.”
Passing tax-and-spend legislation, as Democrats are trying to now, is similar to 2009 and Obamacare.
“Somebody reminded me: In ’66, after all we did in ’65, we got beat,” Democrat Rep. Robert Scott of Virginia told the Times. “We passed Obamacare and we got beat.”
“If you listen to the Democrat speaking points, it’s all what we haven’t done,” he added, referring to the lack of passing infrastructure or the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill.
Vela, a Democrat in a red state, said trying to pass both bills together has been a mistake.
“Progressives should wake up and realize that linking the two processes together was a huge mistake,” he told the Times. “That’s from somebody who supports both bills.”