Trump's endorsement of Virginia GOP governor candidate may help Democrats

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Political analysts say the unpopularity of Donald Trump could motivate voters in Virginia to turn out for Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe.

Donald Trump on Friday once again endorsed Glenn Youngkin, the GOP nominee for governor in Virginia, saying in a statement that Youngkin "has been an incredible success and will truly Make Virginia Great Again."

Political analysts say the repeated comments on the Virginia gubernatorial race by Trump, who already endorsed Youngkin after he won the GOP primary in June, is a boon for Democrats. They say Trump is widely unpopular in Virginia and could motivate voters to turn out for Democratic nominee and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Cook Political Report political analyst Dave Wasserman called Trump's statement "an in-kind contribution to McAuliffe," whose staff was reported to be giddy about Trump's praise of Youngkin.

Wasserman criticized how Youngkin has run his campaign.

"I began the general thinking Youngkin had a decent chance if he ran as a 'check and balance' on Richmond and proactively created distance between himself and Trump. But so far, his message has been an incoherent mishmash," Wasserman tweeted. "Still early, but pretty underwhelming so far."

McAuliffe's campaign had already been running digital ads highlighting Trump's endorsement of Youngkin and Youngkin's embrace of Trump.

Trump's effusive praise for Youngkin came as the latter was already under fire this week for comments on abortion. The American Independent Foundation on July 7 published exclusive footage of Youngkin saying he couldn't reveal his true stance on abortion because it would hurt him with the independent voters he needs to win in November.

Republicans haven't won a statewide election in Virginia since 2009, as the Northern Virginia suburbs have trended more and more Democratic.

Trump caused problems for Republicans in the 2017 gubernatorial contest in the state. Then-GOP Virginia gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie did not invite Trump to campaign for him, as his aides feared Trump's unpopularity could drag Gillespie down.

Trump did endorse Gillespie, who went on to lose to current Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam by 9 points.

And Joe Biden beat Trump in the state by 10 points in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump's effusive praise for Youngkin came as the latter was already under fire this week for comments on his abortion stance. The American Independent Foundation on July 7 published exclusive footage of Youngkin saying he couldn't reveal his true stance on abortion because it would hurt him with the independent voters he needs to win in November.

The Cook Political Report rates the Virginia governor's race "Lean Democratic."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.