Calling in the big guns

10/14/2021, 6 p.m.
Terry McAuliffe is bringing in the big guns.

Terry McAuliffe is bringing in the big guns.

In the next few days, former President Obama, First Lady Jill Biden, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will be mostly in the Richmond area and Hampton Roads stumping for Mr. McAuliffe.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate is leaving nothing to chance in his bid for a second term as Virginia’s chief executive.

Mr. McAuliffe needs all the high-powered, high-profile help he can get to muster voter turnout by Nov. 2 in what has become a stiff race against GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin, a “Trump wannabe,” as Mr. McAuliffe aptly describes him.

The stakes are high in this election, with Virginia’s future direction teetering in the balance. Will we have four more years of progress in education, health care, voting rights, women’s rights, criminal justice reform and racial equity under a new McAuliffe administration, or will we be taken backward by a Youngkin administration?

Mr. Youngkin already is playing fast and loose with our health, saying he supports COVID-19 vaccines but is against vaccination and mask mandates. How can our schools, our community and our people, who have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic, ever hope to recover if the next governor isn’t invested in the scientifically proven methods to stem the virus?

Ms. Abrams, a national leader in the fight against voter suppression, and Mayor Bottoms are inspiring orators who can energize voters when they speak to congregations this Sunday in Norfolk and Richmond. We believe they can mobilize “souls to the polls,” which will be critical for a McAuliffe victory.

Turnout will not only impact who the next governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general are, but will determine whether Democrats maintain control of the legislative branch of our state government — the Virginia General Assembly.

Richmond voters also will decide whether the planned $565 million South Richmond casino project by Urban One will be a go. That race also is neck and neck, according to the polls, with turnout deciding whether Richmond will have its own large casino and resort, or whether city dwellers will have to drive to Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville and/or Bristol to gamble. Those four cities have gotten a jumpstart, with voters there already approving casinos in referendums last November.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a Richmond resident, publicly acknowl- edged that he voted against the casino in early voting. But he also stated late last week that his own household is divided on the issue. He said his wife, Anne B. Holton, a former Richmond judge, former state secretary of education and former interim president of George Mason University, voted for the Richmond casino for the jobs and development it would bring.

Certainly, big guns are needed for progress.