Terry McAuliffe Seeks to Turn Virginia Governor Election Into Vote on Trump

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is focusing on former President Donald Trump in the closing days of the hotly contested Virginia governor's race, which is being seen as a major test for his party.

Trump will hold a tele-rally in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin on Monday, ahead of the state's election on Tuesday, November 2, and McAuliffe appeared to welcome the move.

McAuliffe and President Joe Biden have sought to tie Youngkin to Trump throughout the campaign in an attempt to energize Democratic voters against the Republican.

McAuliffe took to Twitter on Thursday after Trump's event was announced.

"It's confirmed: On Monday, Donald Trump is showing up to support Glenn Youngkin," the Democrat tweeted.

"Virginians, let's come together to REJECT Trump and send a powerful message to the nation: we are not going back," he said.

Trump won't visit Virginia in person, but will campaign for Youngkin remotely. This is despite the former president hinting that he would travel to the state in a brief statement on Wednesday.

"He's not coming," Youngkin said of Trump on Thursday. "And in fact, we're campaigning as Virginians in Virginia with Virginians. And we've got another four days left on our bus tour and then we've gotta fly around and then we've gotta vote."

It's confirmed: On Monday, Donald Trump is showing up to support Glenn Youngkin. Virginians, let's come together to REJECT Trump and send a powerful message to the nation: we are not going back.

— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) October 28, 2021

Biden won Virginia in the 2020 presidential election with 54.4 percent of the vote to Trump's 44.2 percent, but the governor's race is proving to be much closer with McAuliffe leading by just one point in a recent survey by The Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University.

The race is being seen as a test for Democrats following their electoral victories in November, 2020, and January, 2021.

The Democrats have worked to link Youngkin and Trump. Campaigning for McAuliffe on Tuesday, Biden highlighted the relationship between Youngkin and the former president again.

"He won't allow Donald Trump to campaign for him in this state," Biden said. "And he's willing to pledge his loyalty to Trump in private, why not in public? What's he trying to hide? Is there a problem with Trump being here? Is he embarrassed?"

Youngkin has appeared to keep his distance from Trump. The former president hasn't campaigned with the Republican candidate and Youngkin didn't attend a "Take Back Virginia" rally on October 13 where Trump phoned in.

At that rally, attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance in front of a U.S. flag that the hosts said had been carried during a Trump rally in Washington, D.C., on January 6. The action was condemned by McAuliffe and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat.

Youngkin issued a statement saying he had "no role" in the event.

"It is weird and wrong to pledge allegiance to a flag connected to January 6. As I have said many times before, the violence that occurred on January 6 was sickening and wrong," Youngkin said.

A Fox News poll conducted from October 10 -13 showed 53 percent of likely Virginia voters had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, while 44 percent took a favorable view of the former president.

Photo Composite Shows McAuliffe and Trump
This composite photo shows Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and former President Donald Trump. McAuliffe's campaign has worked to tie his opponent, Republican Glenn Youngkin, to Trump. Getty Images