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DNC pledges to invest $5 million in Virginia ahead of key off-year elections

<i>Drew Angerer/Getty Images</i><br/>The Democratic National Committee announced July 22 that it plans to spend at least $5 million in Virginia ahead of the key off-year elections in the commonwealth
Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
The Democratic National Committee announced July 22 that it plans to spend at least $5 million in Virginia ahead of the key off-year elections in the commonwealth

By Dan Merica, CNN

The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that it plans to spend at least $5 million in Virginia ahead of the key off-year elections in the commonwealth, a significant investment that signals how critical Democrats view the November contests.

The investment in Virginia — which committee operatives said would fund and develop staff inside the party’s coordinated campaign, bolster volunteer efforts in the commonwealth and provide voter protection assets to the Democratic efforts — are a boon for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, whose bid to seek a rare second term in Virginia is the top race in the commonwealth this year.

“The DNC is committed to making sure Virginia Democrats have the resources they need to once again win up and down the ticket in November,” Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement to CNN. “These investments will allow us to make our case and reach Virginians directly all across the commonwealth.”

Virginia has tilted toward Democrats in recent years, with Republicans losing every statewide election in more than a decade. Every Democratic presidential nominee has won Virginia since 2008, including President Joe Biden in 2020. The commonwealth is currently represented by two Democratic senators, seven of their representatives in the House are Democrats and four of the last five governors of the commonwealth have been Democrats.

But the results from Virginia, which will come a year after Biden was elected, often go against the party in power and signal a shift in political sentiment. Since the 1970s, the winner of Virginia’s off year gubernatorial election always came from the party in opposition to the White House. That shifted in 2013 when McAuliffe won his first term just a year after Barack Obama won his second term in the White House.

And McAuliffe and top party operatives are confident he will be able to buck that trend again, especially if the party is able to tie Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin to former President Donald Trump, who lost the commonwealth twice.

Harrison said that the party will leave “no stone unturned in the fight to continue to defeat out of touch Virginia Republicans who are focused on kissing the ring of Donald Trump, no matter the cost.”

McAuliffe, who served as chair of the DNC from 2001 to 2005, heralded the investment.

“With this historic investment,” McAuliffe said, “we will ensure that we protect our hard-fought progress from out-of-touch Trump Republicans like Glenn Youngkin, protect our majorities, and elect Democrats up-and-down the ticket.”

McAuliffe, since winning the Democratic nomination in June, has spent much of his time using Youngkin and Trump’s name in the same sentence.

And on Thursday, the McAuliffe campaign released their first television ad, a spot that featured the former governor saying, “Glenn Youngkin is not a reasonable Republican. He is a loyalist to Donald Trump.” The ad also features a radio interview where Youngkin says that Donald Trump “represents so much of why I’m running.”

A Youngkin spokesman responded to the McAuliffe ad by pointing to their own digital spot that notes McAuliffe once took campaign money from Trump. CNN reported in 2009 that Trump cut McAuliffe a $25,000 check during his failed bid for governor that year. The spokesman also noted that fact checkers have taken issue with McAuliffe’s claim that he made record investments in education.

The Democratic National Committee’s planned investment in Virginia is separate from the $20 million midterm investment in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin that Harrison announced earlier in the year.

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