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Leahy: Virginia Democrats Show a Surprising Weakness as the General Election Campaign Kicks Off

By Norman Leahy

There was no post-primary lull in Virginia’s statewide election contests. The nominees are campaigning like it’s early September. They are shaking hands, making speeches and, in the attorney general race, already debating [1].

Why the rush? Most voters aren’t paying attention. They have far more important things to do with their lives, like getting back to them after losing more than a year to restrictions, closures, distancing and uncertainty.

But politics grinds forward, and Virginia is still on track to give the nation its first look at politics and campaigning in a post-coronavirus environment.

What we’ve learned so far: As I wrote last week [2], pragmatism is the biggest winner of the 2021 campaign season. The major parties ignored their more vocal wings and picked candidates who represent the broad centers in both. It’s a bit like the statewide races in 2017, in which establishment favorites Ralph Northam (D) and Ed Gillespie (R) led their respective tickets. We know how that ended: Northam’s comfortable victory [3] foreshadowed the Democratic resurgence that was capped in 2019 with the party winning trifecta control of state government.

Continue reading here [4].