Terry McAuliffe has repeatedly brought up Donald Trump during his campaign. In fact, during a recent appearance on CNN, anchor Dana Bash joked that McAuliffe seemed so obsessed with Trump that she planned to take a drink every time McAuliffe brought him up.
“You mentioned Donald Trump. I’m glad I have two cups here so I can keep drinking when you mention Donald Trump’s name.”
— Christian Martinez (@C_RMartinez) October 10, 2021
But something has changed, and McAuliffe no longer wants the 45th president to be the issue of the campaign, telling the press at an event over the weekend that the election is “not about Trump.”
“Terry McAuliffe is backpedaling so hard he could win the Tour de France in reverse,” Youngkin campaign spokesman Matt Wolking said in a statement. “Republicans, Independents, and Democrats are coming together to support Glenn Youngkin because they know he’s the only candidate that is focused on what really matters instead of the divisive politics of the past.”
Related: Is It All Over for Terry McAuliffe?
Trump lost the state by ten points last year, but it seems McAuliffe realizes that Trump is not as toxic to Youngkin as he would have hoped. McAuliffe once had a strong lead in the race, but momentum has shifted in Youngkin’s favor, with recent polls showing the race neck-and-neck, and some even showing Youngkin ahead. A Fox News poll from last week showed Youngkin with an eight-point lead.
Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, noted that it’s “never a good sign when a few days before the election you back off your main line of attack against your opponent, presumably because you realize it hasn’t been working”
With one day left in the election, it’s unlikely that McAuliffe can find a new narrative to change the trajectory of the election.