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Bellwether Governor's Race in VA Now Seen as Toss-up as Youngkin Ties McAuliffe in Polls

Virginia Governor's Race

Political analysts are closely watching the race for Virginia's governor coming up in just a month, looking for any indication of what to expect from the 2022 midterm elections. 

Earlier this year, polls showed a firm Democrat lead in the race, but a new poll shows it's now much closer. 

The National Review reports a new Emerson University poll released on Wednesday shows Republican Glenn Youngkin in a dead heat with Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the race to become the Commonwealth's next governor.

The survey of Virginia voters conducted between Oct. 1-3, shows McAuliffe with only a one-point lead over Youngkin. (49-48 percent).  A previous poll taken in September showed McAuliffe, who previously served as governor, with a four-point lead over Youngkin. 

According to the National Review, the September polling showed McAuliffe's support among Hispanic voters at 56 percent. But the recent poll numbers show Youngkin has gained significantly in that demographic, garnering 55 percent. 

Youngkin has gained ground in the polls since McAuliffe stated during their last debate that he doesn't believe parents should be able to tell schools what to teach their own children. That issue has been prominent in northern Virginia where outraged parents have made national headlines this year by confronting school boards that push a left-wing agenda on critical race theory, graphic sexual content, and transgender policies.

MORE Parental Rights Battle in VA: McAuliffe Rejects Parents' Input in What Schools Teach Their Children

On Saturday, Youngkin picked up some additional support when his campaign was endorsed by the Hampton Roads Black Caucus.

WAVY-TV reports the caucus is a bipartisan group founded in 2012 "with the purpose of increasing the representation of elected officials who advocate and support legislation directed towards enhancing the Black community."

"I am incredibly humbled and honored to have the support of the Hampton Roads Black Caucus, and look forward to working closely with them and all Black Virginians to implement my Day One Game Plan to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family," Youngkin said. 

The caucus noted it's the first time they've endorsed a Republican for governor since the organization was founded nine years ago. They previously endorsed McAuliffe the last time he ran for governor in 2013 and the current Gov. Ralph Northam in 2017.

The Hill noted even though it's a state election, the Virginia governor's race could be a likely referendum on President Biden's first year in office. The website also pointed to McAuliffe's ties to Biden's agenda which voters may remember come November.

"Any federal issue will always play bigger in Virginia given the degree Virginia has federal employees and military members," veteran Virginia-based Democratic strategist Jared Leopold told The Hill

Biden's unpopularity in the Commonwealth was relayed by McAuliffe in a 12-second video that was posted online Tuesday by the Republican National Committee. 

"We got to get Democrats out to vote," McAuliffe said in an apparent Zoom meeting. "We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know. The president is unpopular today, unfortunately here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through."

The video stops abruptly after McAuliffe's remark. 

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