RICHMOND — Former president Barack Obama will campaign with fellow Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the final stretch of the Virginia governor’s race.
“The stakes could not be greater,” McAuliffe said, as he announced the news Tuesday morning on MSNBC.
McAuliffe’s race against the GOP nominee, first-time political candidate Glenn Youngkin, is tightening, according to the latest polls. His effort to win a second, nonconsecutive term in office is one of only two regularly scheduled governor’s races in the country this year and is being closely watched for indications of voter sentiment ahead of next year’s midterms.
McAuliffe's campaign announced that Obama will join him in Richmond on Oct. 23 to mobilize Virginians during early voting, which began weeks ago and runs in person through Oct. 30.
Obama rallied Democrats in Virginia’s capital city in 2017 before Ralph Northam beat Republican gubernatorial nominee Ed Gillespie by nearly 9 percentage points. He’ll follow other high-profile Democrats visiting the commonwealth to support McAuliffe.
First lady Jill Biden is set to visit on Friday. Stacey Abrams, the voting rights activist, grassroots organizer, and former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, will campaign with McAuliffe in Norfolk and northern Virginia on Sunday.
McAuliffe stumped with President Biden in July. A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed the president’s popularity has slumped after a slew of challenges, and Biden has not announced plans to return.
Former president Donald Trump has endorsed Youngkin but has not visited Virginia to support the former private equity executive.
McAuliffe, who preceded Northam in office, called Youngkin a “Trump wannabe” on Tuesday and said a win for Youngkin would get Trump “off the mat” and kick off another presidential run in 2024.
“We can't let it happen,” he said.
In a written statement, Youngkin campaign spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said voters were rejecting McAuliffe’s platform, “so his response is to bring in more politicians to help draw a crowd larger than twelve people.”
Election Day is Nov. 2, and Tuesday is the last day to register to vote.
Lone Kentucky congressional Democrat won’t run for reelection
WASHINGTON — Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the lone Democrat in his state’s congressional delegation and chair of the House Budget Committee, announced Tuesday that he would not seek reelection in 2022.
Yarmuth, who is playing a leading role in shepherding President Biden’s sprawling domestic agenda through Congress, is the first senior House Democrat to say he will not run in the midterms, when Republicans are widely believed to have a good chance of wresting the majority.
In a video circulated on social media, Yarmuth, who will be 75 at the end of the current Congress, said he was leaving because of “a desire to have more control of my time in the years I have left” and to spend more time with his family.
But he also faced the prospect that his Louisville-centered district could be redrawn this year, potentially leading to a more difficult reelection race. Even if he were to prevail, he would face the loss of his committee leadership post if Democrats lost the House.
“I know that on my first day as a private citizen, I will regret this decision, and I will be miserable about having left the most gratifying role of my professional life,” Yarmuth said in the video. “But I also know that every day thereafter, I will find other ways to help my fellow citizens, and I will be more confident that the decision I announced today is the right one.”
He has held his seat since 2006 and has been the only Democrat in the congressional delegation since 2013.
Yarmuth is among the most high-ranking Democrats set to depart Congress at the end of 2022, joining a trickle of rank-and-file lawmakers who have decided to seek a different political office or vacate a district that is likely to change significantly once state officials redraw them using data from the 2020 census.
“In Chairman John Yarmuth, the Louisville community and indeed all Americans have had a fierce and extraordinarily effective champion for their health, financial security and well-being,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement. With his retirement, she added, “the Congress will lose a greatly respected member, and our caucus will lose a friend whose wise counsel, expertise, humor and warmth is cherished.”
In his role leading the Budget Committee, Yarmuth helped oversee passage of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package in March, which he called the proudest moment of his congressional career. He has also drafted the $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that Democrats pushed through over the summer to pave the way for Biden’s signature domestic bill addressing climate change, expanding health care and public education programs, and increasing taxes on businesses and wealthy individuals.
New York Times
QAnon-linked Capitol rioter sentenced to 14 days in jail
Like many Donald Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6, Dona Sue Bissey has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory on social media. But the judge sentencing her Tuesday to 14 days in jail said it was for her actions, not her beliefs.
Bissey, 53, pleaded guilty in July to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months’ imprisonment.
Prosecutors have argued that a rioter’s statements, in person or on social media, should be considered when fashioning an appropriate sentence. And the federal prosecutor on Tuesday cited Bissey’s online support for QAnon and other conspiracy theories. But they also have said Bissey’s was a “rare case” in which they agreed to recommend probation instead of home detention or prison, based on her early acceptance of responsibility and cooperation with law enforcement.
US District Judge Tanya Chutkan instead sentenced her to 14 days of incarceration and 60 hours of community service, stressing she did so because Bissey had celebrated and bragged about her participation in what amounted to an attempted overthrow of the government.
“The fact that she subscribes to bizarre conspiracy theories, that’s her right. That’s something she is allowed to do as an American,” Chutkan said.
The most serious criminal cases arising from the massive investigation are against leaders and members of two far-right extremist groups, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. Some are charged with plotting coordinated attacks on the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s electoral victory.
But several QAnon adherents also played prominent roles in the riot, and the conspiracy theory appeared to galvanize many others who joined the mob. Long before the attack, many experts warned of a growing threat of violence driven by disinformation and conspiracy theories like QAnon and its predecessor, the conspiracy dubbed “pizzagate.”