President Joe Biden is set to campaign for Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race on Tuesday in what is being seen as a test of the president’s political clout, news outlets are reporting.
Biden’s appearances will come one week out from the Virginia election and as he attempts to unite Democrats in an effort to pass two major pieces of his agenda — an infrastructure package and a sweeping spending measure, The Hill noted.
It also comes as Biden prepares to meet with leaders of the Group of 20 at a summit in Rome.
Meanwhile, Biden’s approval ratings have dipped in recent polls, while the race between McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin has tightened.
And Politico pointed out that both Biden and the Democratic Party reportedly see the election as a referendum on their handling of the pandemic, their support of trillions of dollars in government spending programs, and their repudiation of the Jan. 6 violent protest at the Capitol building.
Biden is set to campaign on Tuesday for McAuliffe in Arlington, Va. — a short drive from the White House. In July, he had campaigned in northern Virginia for the former governor, The Hill reported.
"The fact that Joe Biden is only willing to barely cross the Potomac and rally in blazing-blue Arlington tells you everything you need to know about how scared Democrats are about their base and also their toxicity with middle-of-the-road voters in the rest of the state," said Brent Buchanan, a Republican pollster and CEO of the polling firm Cygnal.
A Cygnal poll released on Sunday found Youngkin and McAuliffe each receiving 48% support among likely Virginia voters.
The poll also showed a relatively high unfavorable rating for Biden in Virginia. A total of 50.1% of the respondents said they had an unfavorable impression of the president compared to 47.8% favorable.
"We think Terry is running a strong campaign," a Biden adviser told Politico. "He’s doing all the right things."
Youngkin downplays Biden’s campaigning for McAuliffe.
In an interview with Fox News, Youngkin said that Biden has a "failed presidency" and the "sun is setting" on McAuliffe’s political career.
And he added: "You can't help but look at President Biden and recognize what a failed presidency looks like. I mean, you look at Afghanistan, you look at the border, you look at our economy, you look at the fact that everything he's doing seems to be making America worse, and I'm going to go to work and make Virginia better."
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