Terry McAuliffe May Need a Wellness Check as Campaign Suffers Another Big Blow

AP Photo/Steve Helber

With just a few weeks to go before Election Day, the implosion of his campaign could not be coming at a worse time for Virginia Democrat gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe. And today, things got worse.

As we previously reported, the former Governor who is vying for a second (non-consecutive) term shot himself in the foot big time during last Tuesday’s debate with Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin when he proclaimed that, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Youngkin immediately capitalized on the moment the next day by releasing a blistering ad featuring McAuliffe’s comments alongside video clips of concerned Virginia parents at school board meetings complaining about sexually explicit material found in school library books. McAuliffe’s response to the controversy was actually to double down, telling a local news outlet that, “you don’t want parents coming in, in every different school district saying this is what should be taught here and this is what should be taught there.”

Fast forward a week later, and after former Democrat Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder blasted McAuliffe’s comments and after McAuliffe’s campaign essentially said not all black voices matter after the Hampton Roads Black Caucus endorsed Youngkin this time around after endorsing McAuliffe in 2013 and current Gov. Ralph Northam in 2017, the wave of self-inflicted bad news has taken its toll on McAuliffe’s campaign as Youngkin has closed the gap between them in the latest Emerson poll of likely voters – the first post-debate poll released:

The latest Emerson College/Nexstar Media poll of the Virginia gubernatorial election shows a tightening in the race, with Democrat Terry McAuliffe slightly leading Republican Glenn Youngkin 49% to 48%. One percent of voters plan to vote for someone else, and 2% are still undecided. In September, an Emerson/Nexstar poll showed McAuliffe with a four-point lead over Youngkin (49% to 45%).

Further and to a point my RedState colleague Nick Arama made this morning, President Biden is not popular in the state, and the Emerson poll showed that 39% said they were “less likely” to support McAuliffe because of Biden’s endorsement:

President Biden’s approval is underwater in the state he won by ten points in 2020, as he sits at 45% approval and 48% disapproval, with 8% neutral. When respondents were asked if Biden’s endorsement of McAuliffe made them more or less likely to support his candidacy, 22% said more likely, 39% said less likely, and 38% said it had no difference.

Suffice it to say that McAuliffe is in trouble. And if I may say so, I’m getting vibes reminiscent of Sen. Thom Tillis’ 2014 race against then-Sen. Kay Hagan and his 2020 re-election battle against Cal Cunningham. The tide turned for Tillis in the final month of his campaigns both times and he was able to overcome being behind in the polls and was ultimately victorious.

That said, to quote Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit, now is not the time for Virginia Republicans to “get cocky.” Keep your foot on the gas and do not let up on the pressure against McAuliffe. Because if Virginia goes any further to the left there’s soon going to come a time when there will be no turning back and all hope will be lost.

To see all polling data to date for this race, click here and here.

Flashback: Terry McAuliffe Just Loses It When Asked by Virginia Sheriff if He Supports Defunding the Police