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Final Campaign Swings Feature Pelosi, Youngkin, Wes Moore and Sears with Focus on Abortion and Crime
➡️ Election Day 2023 is tomorrow Nov. 7, 2023. Polls close at 7 p.m.
👨🏽💻 Early vote numbers in Virginia as tabulated by the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP)
Virginia Ds Bet on Abortion, GOP Leans in on Crime with Youngkin as QB
Photos 📷 by Paulette Shipman-Singleton
Many questions will be answered in Virginia tomorrow when voters weigh in on the battle for control of the Virginia House and Senate. 🚩 SIX KEY QUESTIONS in Virginia’s off-off year (meaning no Governor or members of Congress on the ballot) election contests include:
Is Black voter participation continuing to decline nationally and in Virginia? RELATED: Black turnout dropped sharply in 2022 midterms, Census survey finds (Washington Post, May 2, 2023)
Will the abortion issue win big for Democrats?
Will Republican attempts to link Democrats to criminals, in the Willie Horton/Lee Atwater tradition, and link Ds to “defund” again work?
Can Gov. Glenn Youngkin duplicate his winning rural-focused bus tour strategy of 2021 for more wins during an off-off election year?
Did Gov. Youngkin’s early vote strategy work?
Will Richmond voters say ‘yes’ or reject a casino and resort project on Richmond’s southside that will partly be owned by Black business leaders?
VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS ALL-IN ON ABORTION. Abortion, or “women’s bodily autonomy,” as the branding-sensitive say, is the issue Virginia Democrats are banking on to win in 2023.
After former President Donald Trump selected three anti-choice judges for the U.S. Supreme Court who then decided to overturn Roe v. Wade in a 6-3 decision on June 24, 2022 (Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization), there have been clear signs Republicans are paying a political price. Will that trend continue in Virginia?
Below is a chart by NBC News that shows how the abortion has played out on the ballot so far.
REPUBLICANS ALL IN ON CRIME. Can anyone find a Republican political ad in Virginia that doesn’t feature crime? For 2023, Virginia Republicans running for the Virginia Senate and House have leaned in on an old southern strategy standby: Marketing that Democrats are “soft on crime.”
Yesterday in Suffolk, Virginia at an airport hangar, Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares spoke to a crowd of about 200 and both mentioned crime and policing.
“We back the blue in Virginia. FULL STOP. FULL STOP. Raises in salary and equipment to make sure law enforcement knows that we back them,” Youngkin said. Predictably, Youngkin repeatedly returned to the mantra, “hold the House and flip the Senate,” repeatedly in Henrico and Suffolk and prompted the crowd to chant the same as matching signing was passed out to supporters.
It’s noteworthy that Republicans, led by Gov. Youngkin, are trying to duplicate 2021 and Democrats are leaning in on several popular surrogates from out of the state while barely mentioning President Biden.
Sen. Lucas and a Historic Speaker in Mt. Vernon
On Nov. 4 in Mt. Vernon, Virginia with a huge eagle flying overhead over the home of Black tech titan Ronal Butler about 250 community leaders, candidates, activists and elected officials gathered for an event headlined by
Virginia’s most powerful Black woman lawmaker, State Senator L. Louise Lucas was joined at the event with historic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on an unseasonably warm November campaign event.
Dumfries Mayor Derrick Wood, incoming Virginia NAACP President Cozy Bailey and is wife Prince William County Board of Supervisors member Andrea Bailey, fmr. Del. Elizabeth Guzman and candidates on the ballot Rozia Henson (HD19), Saddam Salim (SD37) and Stella Pekarsky (SD36) were all in attendance among many others.
GOV. WES MOORE. “When people say: What is the Governor of Maryland doing in Virginia? I always love coming to Virginia because I told everyone, my colleagues and your Governor — I let everyone know where I’m gonna be. Anytime you want to have a debate I debate anytime you want,” said Maryland Governor Wes Moore at an African American Leaders breakfast in Virginia Beach on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 4.
Moore made a friendly reference to Gov. Youngkin’s basketball challenge, which has not taken place yet. In Suffolk on the evening of Nov. 5, Gov. Youngkin channeled the vibe that brought him victory over Terry McAuliffe in 2021. He made several references to 2021.
“This is what we did in 2021, we came together like never before. We took a state that was lost and we found it. We’ve got to finish this work…we still have work to do,” Youngkin told the crowd in Suffolk standing on a small stage in front of a giant bus with the words Secure Your Vote on it. He also gave shoutouts to the traveling crew or Virginia Republicans that rode with him from Richmond to Virginia Beach to Suffolk. They included Lt. Governor Sears and Attorney General Miyares.
BLACK VOTERS. “A VERY rude awakening is coming. And no amount of old civil rights footage, church visit photo ops, electric slide contests or condescending shills is going to erase the domestic & foreign policy choices poor & working class Black voters see affecting their daily lives,” wrote Atlanta-based public intellectual Torraine Walker on X on Nov. 5.
Walker’s observations appeared above a comment from Ohio activist and former congressional candidate Nina Turner regarding a New York Times/Sienna poll showing Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden in six critical states. The backdrop of the 2024 presidential race that could decide the future of democracy in the U.S. was mentioned by fmr. Speaker Pelosi on Nov. 4. Democrats in Virginia did not lean heavily in on Biden’s accomplishments.
President Biden did not visit Virginia to campaign this cycle, but he did send Virginia Democrats money.
Will Black voters in Virginia turnout? In an off-off year voter turnout is harder to gage across the board because it’s typically always low. Bu the Black voter question is on the table in a cycle where there is a record number of Black candidates on the ballot in Virginia (see chart below).
The rising stars in Virginia often come from that list: Leader Don Scott along with soon-to-be State Senators Jennifer Carroll Foy and Lashrecse Aird, current State Senator Aaron Rouse and perhaps soon to be congressional candidate Phyllis Randall are a few of the names that are likely to be heard for higher and higher office in Virginia’s future.
Currently, who the leader of the Virginia Democrats is remains a somewhat obscure question after the party lost the mansion and the Virginia House in 2021 as Youngkin unexpectedly swept into power by focusing on rural Virginia and parental issues.
“We have Governor Wes Moore of Maryland being the lead Democrat in Virginia opposing Governor Youngkin’s attempt to make Virginia into Florida and Texas. Virginia Democrats have no leader because Terry McAuliffe and Levar Stoney orchestrated a smear campaign against former Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax that many many Democrats without evidence or due process just accepted as true. Now in a true battle for control the Democrats are rudderless and have no one person who can reach out to and motivate young and Black voters. You reap what you sow,” wrote former Loudoun NAACP President Phil Thompson on Facebook on Nov. 6.
Maryland’s Governor served as a dynamic surrogate over the last few days with a warm one-on-one personality and an engaging stump speech that on bread and butter real world issues. On Saturday, Nov. 4, in Virginia beach, Gov. Moore spoke at an African American Leaders Breakfast before participating an endless series of canvas kickoffs all the way up to Northern Virginia. Gov. Moore on Saturday:
Not All Sears Are Competitive. Dr. Fergie Reid, Jr. put out a reminder yesterday that there are a number of seats that aren’t competitive in 2023 in Virginia because there is no challenger. As a result, many races have already been decided.
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