State of the race: The Virginia gubernatorial election has long been considered a major political bellwether ahead of the midterms. Traditionally, the party that wins the presidential race loses in Virginia the following year, with the lone exception to that in decades being McAuliffe’s own narrow 2013 win.
The race between the former governor and Youngkin, a first-time candidate and former private equity executive, is close. A poll released last week from the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University found McAuliffe at 49 percent, to Youngkin’s 45 percent, within the poll’s margin of error.
Early voting has already begun in the state. This year is the first gubernatorial election in which every Virginia voter has access to expanded in-person early voting and mail voting, after Democrats took complete control of the state government following the 2019 elections and passed sweeping expansions of access to the ballot. In-person early voting ends Oct. 30, one week after Obama’s appearance.