Final election push brings Biden and Bernie to Northern Virginia, Pence to Virginia Beach

Virginia Mercury

NEWS TO KNOW
Today, a special election-eve edition of politics headlines from around Virginia.

From Biden to Bernie, national Democrats flood into Virginia

Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden told Democrats in Northern Virginia on Sunday that “success for Democrats here would set the pace for a defeat of President Donald Trump in 2020,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

“You determine what’s going to happen in 2020, and that’s not hyperbole,” he said. “Literally, whether we get rid of the most corrupt administration in American history … is going to depend on what happens here.”

According to The Washington Post, Biden spoke for eight minutes before plunging “into the crowd in Sterling to spend the next 40 minutes hugging, selfie-shooting and grinning.”

Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama tweeted his endorsement of 17 Democrats in competitive races, while his former attorney general, Eric Holder, stumped around the state.

More bigwigs are on the way, including another presidential frontrunner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will meet with volunteers for Del. Lee Carter’s campaign in Manassas later today. Carter, of course, is the only Democratic Socialist lawmaker in the state.

Pence stumps for Republicans in Virginia Beach

Republicans professed to be unimpressed by the parade of national figures campaigning for their opponents. “We don’t have a clown-car primary going on,” state GOP spokesman John Findlay told The Washington Post.

The party brought in a single closer, Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke to a crowd of about 900 at a middle school in Virginia Beach.

“You’ve got a choice to make … to elect a majority in the General Assembly that stands strong on the conservative common sense values and principles of the people of Virginia,” Pence said, according to The Virginian Pilot, which described the crowd as “enthusiastic throughout, though never more so than when Pence invoked the name of President Donald Trump.”

Trump’s campaign told the Associated Press that the president decided to bypass Virginia this year because he wanted to focus on “places where he can have the greatest impact in 2019.”

Virginia viewed as early test of ‘anti-Trump suburban revolt’

Republicans generally agree that Trump had a big impact on Virginia, but not in a way they would consider great. The Associated Press brings us this illustration of the line he’s forced some suburban Republicans to walk:

Republican state Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant wanted to avoid talking about President Donald Trump as she courted voters this week on Ridgefield Green Way just outside Virginia’s capital city. The middle-aged man at one door didn’t want to talk about anything else.

“I’ve only got one question. Do you support Trump?” he asked.

“Yes,” Dunnavant replied.

“Then you’ve got my vote,” he said.

On the sidewalk a few minutes later, Dunnavant actively distanced herself from the Republican president, acknowledging he is deeply unpopular in her district — despite the doorway encounter. The 55-year-old OB-GYN said she’d prefer that Trump stay out of Virginia ahead of Tuesday’s high-stakes elections.

Don’t forget about the prosecutors (or the soil and water districts)

Voters around the state will cast ballots for local races, where the ticket ranges from county supervisors and city council members to soil and water conservation district representatives.

This year, commonwealth’s attorneys races are drawing outsized attention, with candidates around the state running explicitly progressive campaigns focused on criminal justice reform.

The Washington Post reports “races in Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties have become referendums on criminal justice reform on a variety of issues, including the death penalty, marijuana prosecutions and cooperation with immigration authorities.”

And in Chesterfield County, where a reform prosecutor won in a special election last year and has already dialed back prosecutions of nonviolent misdemeanors and eliminated cash bail, a Republican opponent is promising to roll all that back if he’s elected, telling the Chesterfield Observer that “the morale is incredibly low in our law enforcement.”

You can look up exactly who’s going to be on your ballot and double-check your polling place using this handy guide from the Virginia Public Access Project.

Sunny skies tomorrow, except maybe in Virginia Beach

And, because people keep asking (apparently some people don’t vote in the rain?), here’s an election forecast courtesy of the National Weather Service, targeted to the suburbs expected to decide control of the House and Senate:

Richmond: “Mostly sunny, with a high near 66. Calm wind becoming west around 6 mph in the morning.”

Virginia Beach: “A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69. West wind 3 to 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.”

NOVA: “Partly sunny, with a high near 63. West wind 3 to 5 mph.”

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