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Political Big Shots Hit Virginia Ahead of Crucial State Elections

Former Attorney General Eric Holder addresses Democratic canvassers in Chesterfield (Ben Paviour/VPM News)
Former Attorney General Eric Holder addresses Democratic canvassers in Chesterfield (Ben Paviour/VPM News)

A who’s-who of national politicians continued to weigh in on Virginia’s elections over the weekend, with control of the legislature and pre-2020 bragging rights on the line.

Democrats are a few seats shy of controlling the General Assembly for the first time since 1995.

Former President Barack Obama endorsed a slate of 17 candidates--”candidates who’ll not only advance the causes of equality, justice, and decency, but help ensure that the next decade of voting maps are drawn fairly,” he said in a Tweet.

Vice President Mike Pence, rallying supporters in Virginia Beach on Saturday, said the current president sent his regards.

“We need the people of Virginia to turn out this Tuesday and re-elect Republican majorities,” Pence told the crowd.

Pence warned Democrats would enact sweeping, socialist change and try to undo Trump’s work.

“I mean, those aren't the values that are synonymous with the state's proud history,” he said.

The winners of this year’s General Assembly races will have the ability to determine how to draw legislative lines for the next decade. A dozen GOP-drawn House of Delegates districts from 2011 were thrown out by federal courts for racial gerrymandering, but Pence warned that it would be Democrats cementing themselves in power if they won this year.

Up the road in Chesterfield, Obama’s former Attorney General, Eric Holder, flipped that script as he addressed Democratic canvassers. He joked that the “fate of the nation -- of Western civilization” was at stake.

“If we are not successful this time, the Republicans will draw themselves back into a majority come 2021,” Holder said. “They are very comfortable being a minority party with majority power.”

Senator Mark Warner, who appeared alongside Holder, said national pundits will be watching the results here to gauge the national political mood.

“We will be viewed as the last report card on what we think about Donald Trump before the 2020 elections,” he said.

The parade of political celebrities is set to continue over the next 48 hours. Presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Andrew Yang will be making pit stops in Virginia on Sunday and Monday.

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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