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by Brandon Jarvis

Vice President Kamala Harris and recording artist Pharrell joined Virginia’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on the campaign trail in Norfolk as the heated race for governor nears its end.

“Don’t Texas Virginia,” Harris said as she stumped for McAuliffe Friday while also noting that due to the bellwether status of this race in representing America’s response to a Joe Biden presidency, Virginia’s voters will determine “how the country will move,” towards the congressional midterm elections.

She also talked about the new legislation that has been enacted by a Democratic majority across Virginia in recent years.

“Tuesday will determine whether we turn back the clock on move forward,” Harris said about electing McAuliffe, the governor who served as governor from 2014-2018, and then was succeeded by his lieutenant governor Ralph Northam. Virginia Democrats made huge gains during the last two years gaining the majority in the General Assembly which allowed Northam to sign hundreds of pieces of progressive legislation that has been blocked for decades by the Republicans in control of the General Assembly.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has campaigned on turning back the Democratic overreach that he says has happened during their two years in power. 

“The power is in your hands and elections matter,” Harris told the crowd Friday.  

Recent polls have shown a dead heat between McAuliffe and Youngkin. The tightening of the race has surprised some who believed Virginia to be a blue state, but Mcauliffe, the former governor who won his first election in 2013 by a slim margin, has said from the start of this campaign that it is a purple state. 

Historically, Virginia has always elected a governor from the opposite party of who is controlling the White House at the time. McAuliffe broke that trend in 2013 and now he is trying to do it again this year. 

President Joe Biden joined McAuliffe earlier this week in Northern Virginia and Democratic heavyweights Jaime Harrison and Stacey Abrams stumped across the commonwealth for him as well in recent days. 

In a state that Biden won by 10 points one year ago, Democrats seem hopeful that they just need to motivate enough of their voters to overcome the apparent wave of enthusiasm behind the Youngkin campaign. 

“We have got to do everything in our power to reach out to everyone we see and know and remind them that not only this election matters, but that they matter, that we matter, that Virginia matters,” Harris said Friday night. She talked about Democrats being complacent in 2016 and expecting Hillary to win, a relevant point in a commonwealth that has started to be considered a Democratic stronghold by some because Republicans haven’t won statewide since 2013. “We can take nothing for granted,” she told the crowd. 

In addition to electing a new governor, Virginians will be choosing a new lieutenant governor, attorney general, and House of Delegates.

Harris finished the speech Friday night by emphasizing the importance of a governor, something that has become more apparent during the pandemic as governors across the country enacted life-altering restrictions to curb the spread of the COVID-19. “Who is governor, matters,” she said several times. “This election matters.”

Virginians head to the polls on Nov. 2.

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By vascope