Biden weighs in on Virginia midterm elections in last-minute push

President Biden announced a number of last-minute endorsements Saturday for Democrats running for the Virginia Legislature, as his party is locked in a battle to hold its slim majority in the state Senate and hopes to flip the House of Delegates from Republican control.

In August, the state’s top Democrats expressed concern that the national party wasn’t doing enough to help Democrats fend off a well-financed challenge driven by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are supporting 23 Democratic candidates who are locked in the closest races in the state. 

All 140 seats in the General Assembly are on the ballot. Democrats currently hold an advantage of 22-18 in the state Senate, whereas Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the House of Delegates.

Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine voiced frustration in August about the lack of attention from the Democratic National Committee, which prompted Mr. Biden to direct a sizable donation of $1.2 million to the state’s midterm contest. 

With so much on the line this year, we can’t afford to let this important election pass us by. So much hangs in the balance – not just for Virginia but for the direction of this country,” Mr. Biden and Harris said in a statement Saturday. Whether it means protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, defending voting rights, or standing up for common sense gun safety laws, electing these candidates on November 7th will protect our fundamental freedoms and will keep Virginia and our country moving forward.

Mr. Biden also sent out a fundraising email through the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, marking the first time he’s raised money for candidates in Virginia in the 2023 election cycle. 

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee raised $2.2 million for Virginia Democrats in this year’s contest. 

Mr. Biden’s involvement in the midterms is a sign of increased fears about Democrats’ standing in the battleground state. Virginia Democrats did not lose a statewide election from 2012 until 2021, when Glenn Youngkin narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, to win the governor’s race. 

President Biden’s favorability in the state is also underwater. A poll conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University in August found that Virginians favor Youngkin over Mr. Biden for president — 44% of Virginians said they would vote for Youngkin, while only 37% would vote for Biden. Youngkin is not a presidential candidate.

A majority of Virginians, 54%, according to the same poll, disapprove of Mr.  Biden’s handling of his his job. 

Democrats are relying heavily on the issue of abortion access to make their case to Virginia voters, which galvanized voters during the 2022 midterm elections. 

“Governor Glenn Youngkin and extreme Republicans have made it clear that they’re trying to take our country back on issues like choice,” Mr. Biden wrote in the email. 

Abortion is top of mind for voters because Virginia is the last state in the South without new abortion restrictions after Roe vs. Wade was overturned in June 2022. Democrats campaigned heavily on the issue, arguing that Youngkin could enact a total ban if  Republicans win a majority of seats in the General Assembly. 

Youngkin, who opposes abortion access, has proposed restrictions on abortion after 15 weeks – except in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. He has been campaigning on the issue in TV advertisements, calling his measure “common sense” and “reasonable.” 

Youngkin and Spirit of Virginia, his political action committee, devoted significant resources to gaining Republican control of the General Assembly this fall and attracted record fundraising from outside GOP mega-donors. 

Here are the Democrats Mr. Biden and Harris have endorsed: 

House of Delegates 

  • Del. Michele Maldonado (HD-20)
  • Joshua Thomas (HD-21)
  • Travis Nembhard (HD-22)
  • Atoosa Reaser (HD-27)
  • Marty Martinez (HD-29)
  • Amy Laufer (HD-55)
  • Del. Rodney Willett (HD-58)
  • Joshua Cole (HD-65)
  • Del. Shelly Simonds (HD-70)
  • Stephen Miller-Pitts (HD-75)
  • Kimberly Pope Adams (HD-82)
  • Del. Nadarius Clark (HD-84)
  • Karen Jenkins (HD-89)
  • Phil Hernandez (HD-94)
  • Del. Kelly Fowler (HD-96)
  • Michael Feggans (HD-97)

State Senate 

  • Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg (SD-16)
  • Clint Jenkins (SD-17)
  • Sen. Aaron Rouse (SD-22)
  • Sen. Monty Mason (SD-24)
  • Joel Griffin (SD-27)
  • Del. Danica Roem (SD-30)
  • Russet Perry (SD-31)

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