RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin worked to drive up turnout in a deadlocked and bitter contest for governor that will be scrutinized as a bellwether ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, and Democrats are scrambling to stave off disaster after public polling has shifted in Youngkin’s direction in recent weeks. Republicans are optimistic about their chances in the commonwealth, where they haven’t won a statewide race since 2009.
McAuliffe, who preceded Democrat Ralph Northam as governor in the only state that doesn’t allow its executive to serve consecutive terms, told an energetic crowd of supporters over the weekend that “the stakes are huge” as he touted his record from his first term.
“I’ve done this job before. I was the most pro-business pro-progressive. I made this state open and welcoming, created a lot of jobs. We do not want to go back,” he said.
Speaking at a rally in Abingdon, Youngkin predicted Republicans would sweep all three statewide races and take back control of the House of Delegates, where all 100 seats are on the ballot.
McAuliffe, 64, has brought in a series of high-profile surrogates including President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama and celebrity musicians Pharrell Williams and Dave Matthews in the final stretch.
Youngkin, 54, former CEO of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group, has eschewed virtually all public campaign visits from well-known party allies who would typically flock to a hot race. That includes former President Donald Trump, who held a telerally for Youngkin on Monday in which the candidate did not participate. Youngkin more fully embraced Trump during the Republican nominating contest, but since becoming the nominee, he has walked a fine line as he tries to court moderate voters in a state that Trump lost by 10 percentage points to Biden in 2020.
Among other high-profile races across the country:
New York City mayor: Voters are deciding between Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — who won the narrowest of contests to become the Democratic nominee — and Republican Curtis Sliwa, a founder of the Guardian Angels and media personality. Adams, a retired NYPD captain, is all but certain to be elected in this heavily Democratic city. His ascent, though, is about more than the city, as Adams and his campaign have been touted by top Democrats as a case study in how the party should go forward.
Boston mayor: The city prepares to elect a woman of color for the first time. Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, a champion of progressive policies, is facing more moderate rival Annissa Essaibi George, who serves as a Boston city councilor-at-large.
Atlanta mayor: Fourteen candidates are vying to replace Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who’s not running for reelection. The contest is happening amid alarm about the spike in violent crime, as well as controversy over an effort by the residents of the wealthy community of Buckhead to break off from the capital and create their own city.
Buffalo mayor: Democratic Socialist India Walton — who defeated four-term Mayor Byron Brown in the New York city’s Democratic primary in June — is the only name on the ballot. But to win the mayor’s office, she’ll have to defeat Brown again. The incumbent mayor is mounting an aggressive write-in campaign.
New Jersey governor: Voters are deciding between Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and GOP challenger Jack Ciattarelli. If Murphy wins, he would become the first Democratic governor of the state to be re-elected since 1977.
Congressional races in Ohio: Voters are casting ballots in two special U.S. House elections; neither the 11th nor the 15th Congressional Districts is expected to change hands from the party that previously held it. Democrat Shontel Brown and Republican Laverne Gore are facing off in the 11th District to replace Democrat Marcia Fudge, who vacated the seat to become U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development. In the 15th District, voters are deciding between Democrat Allison Russo and Republican Mike Carey to replace Republican Steve Stivers, who left to lead the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Congressional primary in Florida: Voters in the 20th Congressional District are casting ballots in a primary race to decide who should become the Democratic nominee to succeed Rep. Alcee Hastings, who died in April.
CNN wire services contributed to this report.
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