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Sen. Kaine shares why he believes McAuliffe lost gubernatorial race

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 9:11 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - After losing big in a state they won by double-digits in 2020, Virginia Democrats are now left wondering what went wrong. One theory is it has a lot to do with what couldn’t get done at the federal level -- but not everyone agrees.

That question was posed to Larry Sabato, from the UVA Center for Politics, and Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat. Both pointed fingers at Congress.

The analysis of what went wrong comes after a clean sweep of statewide races by Republicans. Glenn Youngkin won the race for governor, Winsome Sears won the race for lieutenant governor, and Jason Miyares won the race for attorney general.

“Look, congressional Dems hurt Terry McAuliffe,” Sen. Kaine said.

Kaine says Congress’s inability to pass the infrastructure bill by the time Virginians went to the polls hurt McAuliffe’s chances.

“Politics is about timing and we blew it on the timings” he said.

UVA’s Larry Sabato echoed that statement, saying McAuliffe could’ve used something tangible to point to on his campaign.

“All the promises made to him by various Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill were not fulfilled” Sabato said.

Even back in September during a debate, McAuliffe was pleading with Congress to get something done.

“They gotta stop their little chitty-chat up there, and it’s time for them to pass it” McAuliffe said on Sept. 28. “Let’s get this infrastructure bill passed for America.”

But President Joe Biden would not say the failure to pass the infrastructure bill was the reason McAuliffe lost.

“I think we should have passed [the bill] before Election Day, but I’m not sure that I would be able to have changed the number of very conservative folks who turned out and the red districts who were Trump voters” Biden said. “But maybe. Maybe.”

Sabato said Democrats need to turn things around to avoid a similar fate in 2022 when control of Congress, and therefore Biden’s agenda, is in the hands of voters.

“If conditions don’t improve, [Biden’s] ratings won’t improve” Sabato said. “And if his ratings don’t improve, Democrats are going to lose the House and Senate in 2022.”

Sen. Kaine was asked if another reason for the loss was simply that McAuliffe was a flawed candidate. He said he disagreed with that and said the loss was on the shoulders of Washington Democrats, not all of whom believe that.

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.

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