Trump's entrance into Virginia elections may backfire, Dems hope
By Davis Burroughs
November 4, 2019

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to urge Virginians to support Republicans ahead of the state legislative elections, even as GOP candidates try to distance themselves from the president.

The Sunday and Monday tweets are Trump’s first public comments on the Nov. 5, 2019 elections, according to the Associated Press. All 140 seats of the General Assembly are up for grabs, and Democrats believe they can gain control of the House and Senate for the first time in two decades.

If Republicans win, however, Trump said it would send a signal to D.C. that voters want “lower taxes, a strong Military, Border & 2nd Amendment” among other Republican priorities.

In response, Virginia House Democrats said they weren’t concerned with winning over Trump voters as they were with recruiting voters who had other priorities including “equality, affordable health care, quality education, civil rights, and criminal justice reform.” Several GOP candidates have also tacked to the middle, trying to win over voters in several districts that are more Democratic after the Supreme Court threw out racially gerrymandered district maps.

Democrats have made ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, extending anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, protecting the state’s Medicaid expansion, gun safety, and increasing school funding tenants of their 2019 state House and Senate campaigns.

Trump also suggested that Virginia’s economic prosperity was dependent on keeping Republicans in power.

Many Twitter users responded by noting that Virginia Democrats are already in power outside the statehouse. One such tweet from Rep. Don Beyer racked up over 20,000 likes.

While Republicans have maintained narrow majorities in the General Assembly, they’ve lost the last two gubernatorial, lieutenant governor, and U.S. Senate races. Seven of 11 U.S. House members representing Virginia are also Democrats.

Trump is hardly popular in the Commonwealth, a state he lost to Hilary Clinton by over five points in the 2016 election. He’s not popular among most Americans, either; a 2019 University of Virginia / Ipsos poll found that Americans rank Trump among the worst presidents since World War II.

And in 2017, due in part to Anti-Trump backlash, Democrats flipped 15 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates, foreshadowing the gains Democrats nationwide made in the U.S. House during the 2018 blue wave.

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