Dave Matthews, Carole King Join Latest Push From Democrats Ahead of Close Virginia Election

Pharrell Williams is expected to join Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe at a campaign event in Virginia later this week, making him the latest in a series of well-known people to travel to the area ahead of the state's November 2 election.

McAuliffe said this week that Williams would be joining him for a get-out-the-vote rally in Norfolk on Friday, just four days before the election. Vice President Kamala Harris, who attended a McAuliffe campaign event last week, will return to Virginia for the Friday rally, McAuliffe said Tuesday.

McAuliffe's announcement came shortly after musician Dave Matthews performed at a McAuliffe campaign event in Charlottesville over the weekend to encourage Virginians to vote early. Singer-songwriter Carole King has also made efforts to support the Democrat's campaign, with several fundraising emails attributed to her this month.

Dave Matthews, Terry McAullife Virginia governor election
Musician Dave Matthews (L) greets Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe during a get-out-the-vote rally at Ting Pavilion on October 24, 2021 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Virginia gubernatorial election, pitting McAuliffe against Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, is November 2. (Photo by Eze Amos/Getty Images)

The election is one of two regularly scheduled gubernatorial races taking place this fall. With one week remaining until Election Day, recent polling has indicated the race between McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin is close. In four separate voter surveys conducted this month by pollsters at Monmouth University, Emerson College, Cygnal and Suffolk University, results have indicated voters are split on the decision of which candidate to support, though the results suggested McAuliffe held a narrow lead.

McAuliffe served one term as Virginia's governor from 2014 to 2018. Youngkin was the co-CEO of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group before retiring last year and launching his own gubernatorial campaign.

Many political strategists are looking to the race in Virginia as a likely indicator of how voters will cast their ballots in the 2022 midterm elections. This has brought significant attention to the race, with several high-profile figures on both sides of the aisle weighing in.

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison have all encouraged Virginians to support McAuliffe, and former President Donald Trump has voiced support for Youngkin several times since first endorsing him in May. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was also expected to participate in a phone bank in support of Youngkin's campaign in McLean on Tuesday evening.

In addition to the musicians who have offered their support to McAuliffe's campaign, he has also received support from Democrats like first lady Jill Biden, voting rights activist Stacey Abrams and former President Barack Obama. Biden is expected to attend a campaign event in Arlington to urge voter support for McAuliffe later Tuesday.

When asked about the Democratic politicians traveling to Virginia last week, Youngkin campaign spokesperson Macaulay Porter told Newsweek it was a sign McAuliffe was "scared."

"Terry McAuliffe is scared because Virginians are roundly rejecting 40-year politician Terry McAuliffe's plans to defund the police, strip parents of their rights to have a say in their children's education, and to fire people who don't follow his authoritarian vaccine mandates, so his response is to bring in more politicians to help draw a crowd larger than 12 people," Porter said at the time. "Glenn Youngkin is an outsider focused on delivering for the people of Virginia and making the state the best place to live, work, and raise a family."

Newsweek reached out to Youngkin's campaign for further comment but did not hear back by publication time.