Virginia's gubernatorial race is worrying Democrats in what was anticipated to be an easy win for Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D.), leading one longtime Virginia Democratic strategist to explain, "everyone's just scrambling to shit the bed at once."
Northam is getting hit from left-wing groups, drawing criticism for actions like waffling on sanctuary cities, the strategist told Talking Points Memo. The Democratic candidate said for the first time last week that he would sign a bill to ban sanctuary cities in the commonwealth if any were established. He had previously cast the deciding vote to block a sanctuary cities bill in the legislature, and criticized his Republican opponent for his strong stance against sanctuary cities. The strategist called Northam's waffling "bizarre."
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"It's difficult to watch as a Virginian who really doesn't want Ed Gillespie (R.) as governor," the strategist said.
The Gillespie campaign has gained some momentum following an ad by the Latino Victory Fund, a progressive Political Action Committee that the Northam campaign coordinated with. The ad depicted Gillespie supporters as racists who terrorize minority children.
Democrats infighting has also contributed to uncertainty in the race, with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe calling Donna Brazile's accusations about the Democratic National Committee "very bad timing" in the face of Tuesday's election.
Most Democrats still expect to win what is becoming an increasingly blue state, and one that carries a deeply underwater approval rating for President Donald Trump. But should the Democratic candidate win, the victory won't be on the terms they planned.
"People are screwing up," another Democrat working on the election said, adding that a Northam loss would "signal that the wave is not what we think it is, it cools a lot of fundraising and enthusiasm and really forces people to reevaluate 2018."