Like other emails from the Virginia Democrats, the letters Carville signed have slammed the panic button in recent weeks as the race between McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin has tightened. Many of these are standard rates, trying to create a sense of urgency among local donors.
But others highlight a bigger concern: Carville’s hair. The famous bald strategist turned political celebrity told supporters of the former governor of Virginia that he was “tearing his hair out” on September 1 and 2. By the end of the month, it was too late. “I won’t have much hair anymore,” was the subject line on September 27.
Craze and hyperbole are nothing new to online fundraising. But in Virginia, the posts carry special weight, where Democrats have been on the wrong side of a gap in enthusiasm for their constituents and are struggling financially to keep up with a wealthy, self-funded GOP candidate who has already given his campaign more. of $ 16 million.
“Cook moved it to a tossup,” Carville said in an interview, referring to well-known election forecasters from Cook Political Report. “And I think the people at McAuliffe weren’t upset at all. I think the electoral history is not good at all, for the party that wins the presidency.
Carville’s emails were successful, at least for fundraising. Carville’s emails raised half a million dollars, according to the campaign. And aside from McAuliffe himself and Abrams, Carville is the number one fundraiser for email signers.
As to why he lent his name to dozens of fundraising messages for McAuliffe, his old pal at Clintonworld? “Because I’m an e-mail signing slut,” he said with a chuckle.
Democrats remain intensely focused on firing their base down the home stretch. In most public polls, GOP voters have been more enthusiastic about the upcoming election. The most recent was a survey of the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University Friday, which showed McAuliffe up 4 points in the poll’s margin of error. But the survey also found that Republican voters were more enthusiastic about the race than Democratic voters, which is consistent with other public polls in the race.
“It’s really, really important, and it’s especially damaging to Democrats,” said Ron Wright, member of the Republican State Central Committee and co-chair of the Northern Virginia Republican Business Forum. Wright said he believed Youngkin’s recent focus on education, where the Republican campaign hammered McAuliffe in TV commercials, would further energize Republican-leaning voters and independents.
Democrats are also grappling with falling Biden poll numbers in the state. A Fox News poll at the end of September in the state, Biden was even among registered voters, with 49% approval and disapproval, in a state he won by 10 points. And national polls have shown it underwater recently – something McAuliffe himself acknowledged last week.
“We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know,” McAuliffe said during a video call with supporters, broadcast by Republicans. “The president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we have to fend for ourselves.”
All eyes are on early voting in the state, which began about two weeks ago, for any harbingers of who will participate by the remainder of the election. This is the first gubernatorial election where any voter can choose to vote at the advance poll, either by mail or in person.
So far, more than 255,000 people have voted in advance, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project. More people already voted early than in the 2017 elections, before the new electoral laws came into force.
Both campaigns have recently started wasting resources encouraging voters to go to the polls or vote by mail earlier, especially with many voters still unfamiliar with the process.
“Everyone is trying to alert people because we always had the opportunity to vote early, but you had to have an excuse and so it wasn’t used well,” said Ben Tribbett, a longtime Democratic strategist. date based in Virginia. “So it’s something a little new for the state. “
The two clashed almost in quick succession in fundraising throughout the campaign. However, during the most recent fundraising period, which covers July 1-August. On December 31, Youngkin brought in more: $ 15.7 million, backed by a personal loan of $ 4 million, compared to McAuliffe’s $ 11.5 million, according to data from the public access project in Virginia. McAuliffe had double Youngkin’s money, $ 12.6 million to $ 6 million, although the Republican candidate could write another check to close the gap at any time.
This is a significant reversal from 2013, when McAuliffe managed to overwhelm then-state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, significantly overtaking him and overtaking the Republican on TV en route to becoming the first politician to win the race for governor of Virginia while his party controlled whites. House for decades.
The two national parties also spend a lot on the race. During that time, the Republican Governors Association gave Youngkin nearly $ 4 million, while McAuliffe received $ 2.5 million from his Democratic counterpart.
Since the beginning of September, McAuliffe has spent more than his opponent on advertising. Ad Impact, an ad tracking company, found nearly $ 12.1 million in spending in McAuliffe’s campaign, up from $ 9.4 million. (These totals include digital ad spend.)
But that recent edge only comes after Youngkin has been largely undisputed on the air for months. Youngkin immediately kicked off a steady stream of TV commercials right after winning his party’s nomination in May and hasn’t stopped since. McAuliffe was gloomy, meanwhile, from winning the party nomination in early June until late July, but joined his Republican opponent in bombarding state airwaves with TV commercials.
From early October, through Friday afternoon, the two combined to broadcast more than 6,700 TV spots, according to AdImpact data. That number is split almost exactly in the middle, with Youngkin holding a 92-ad lead.