OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Republicans have taken a page out of Democrats’ playbook in a critical battleground state, and it appears as though they could be successful, according to a Tuesday report.
Just the News noted that Virginia Republicans have managed to generate a substantial number of early votes in statewide elections that will determine which party controls the state legislature. If they can capture both chambers, that will give GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin a greater ability to turn a once purple state a brighter shade of red.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), “the share of early in-person votes cast by likely Republicans has increased by more than two percentage points compared to last year based on data available six days before the election,” and the Republicans’ “share of mail votes has increased by nearly four points.”
That said, overall, Democrats are voting at higher numbers early and by mail, the report said.
“In Virginia, all we have is the top line totals so it’s hard to kind of say who has the benefit,” J. Miles Coleman, associate editor of “Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball” at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, in an interview with Just the News. “And in Virginia, we’ve only been a big early-voting state for the last few years, so it’s hard to gauge.”
The outlet added:
With that being said, Coleman noted that VPAP’s data on early voting by party is a good indicator of where early voting stands heading into Election Day.
The latest VPAP reported data on record is 6 days from the election and it shows that the number of Democrats who voted early was 52.9%, compared to 40.9% of Republicans.
Republicans currently control the House of Delegates 48-46 and the Democrats control the state Senate 22-17-1 non-caucusing Republican member.
Youngkin and Republicans have been campaigning on implementing a 15-week limit on abortion, while Democrats have painted the measure as extreme.
“I think to Youngkin’s credit, he’s at least got most of the Republicans on the same page behind his idea of a 15-week limit. I’ve noticed the Democrats call it a 15-week ban,” said Coleman.
“If it’s successful here, that’s definitely something that the Republicans, at least in campaigns next year for governor and Congress, could maybe look at replicating,” he added.
“In Virginia, we’re sort of extra sensitive to the whatever happens in Washington,” he noted further, suggesting that the election results in the state could portend to what will happen nationally next year.
Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told Just the News most Virginians are not concerned about or focused on abortion as a primary issue.
“People in Virginia are very concerned about costs. Gasoline is extremely expensive. Food is extremely expensive and I think those are the issues people care about. When Glenn Youngkin won the governorship a few years ago, it was because of the outrageous news coming out of the Greater Washington, DC area; in Loudoun County over what was really happening in the public schools,” Bachmann, currently the dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, told the outlet.
“And parents said, ‘Not with my kid you don’t.’ And so they went with Glenn Youngkin. In recent years we’ve been a very strong Democrat state, certainly at the governor’s level, but Glenn Youngkin has been an excellent governor and he’s been campaigning for candidates both in the state Senate and in the House. I think there’s a very good chance that he will be successful and have a Republican House and a Republican Senate after Tuesday’s election,” she added.
Coleman predicted that Virginia Democrats would use Biden’s dismal approval ratings as their “scapegoat” should they not perform well.