Why McAuliffe doesn’t mention Biden in the Virginia gubernatorial race

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""US politics"" – Google News

Neither Mr. McAuliffe nor Mr. Youngkin mentioned Mr. Biden in their ads, according to AdImpact, which follows commercials and underscores how little he motivates voters in either party – a remarkable change after many years of incumbent presidents routinely starring in advertisements from candidates from both parties.

In the final weeks of the race, Mr McAuliffe, who served a term as governor from 2014 to 2018 but was banned for a second consecutive term under Virginia law, has tried to keep some daylight between his campaign and Mr Biden’s administration bring. While never directly criticizing the President, Mr. McAuliffe has repeatedly pointed out the political risk that the inaction of Congress puts on the President’s legislative agenda. In private conversations with House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and the White House, allies of Mr McAuliffe said he argued that the sour national environment was affecting his chances.

“We’re facing a lot of headwinds from Washington,” McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said during a virtual call to supporters this month. “As you know, the president is sadly unpopular here in Virginia today, so we have to prevail.”

Mr. McAuliffe downplayed the remark, saying he was referring to a general sense of frustration at the inaction in Washington. But it was a sharp departure from earlier in the race when Mr McAuliffe predicted that his state would “take off like a booster rocket” if he were elected governor and could work with Mr Biden.

The tone shift is particularly noticeable in view of the longstanding friendship between the two men and the similarities in their political brands as experienced party insiders with centrist tendencies. Mr McAuliffe declined to run for president in April 2019 after a three-hour dinner with Mr Biden during which the future president laid out his path to victory – one on the same kind of consensus-based platform Mr McAuliffe envisioned for himself.

“I love the guy,” Mr. McAuliffe said of Mr. Biden at the time. “I’m a huge fan.”

Biden’s pledges to leave polarizing politics behind helped him win the White House and provided refuge for voters tired of the turmoil of the Trump era. Now, however, at a time when the Democrats need to join forces, the prospect of calm leadership and a scaled-down agenda may not be so tempting for its democratic base.

Wes Bellamy, a co-chair of Our Black Party, which promotes the political priorities of black voters, said Mr Biden does not inspire the same loyalty from black voters as Mr Obama does.

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