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McAuliffe Is Going With the Newsom Playbook in Virginia

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With the attempted recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom lying in ruins, political types desperate for off-year bellwethers are shifting their their gaze to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s elections in November. They will certainly be easier to interpret. Unlike California and its strange two-question recall ballot, Virginia is having a regular general election, albeit one with no federal offices (or state-senate seats) on the ballot. Nor will Virginians all get an unsolicited mail ballot as Californians did: While Virginia has moved rapidly toward liberalized voting rules under recent Democratic governance (even enacting its own voting-rights law), voters still have to take the initiative to vote early in person or by mail.

But the biggest difference is that while Virginia has “turned blue” in recent elections (Republicans have not won a statewide contest since 2009), it is vastly more competitive than California, which wasn’t about to elect a Republican governor other than through the bizarre two-step process of a vote to remove Newsom combined with a plurality of the vote in a replacement contest that Democratic candidates (and many Democratic voters) were boycotting. In Virginia, Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin has a puncher’s chance of defeating Democratic former governor Terry McAuliffe straight up.

But different as the two........

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