Although most of the talk around Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial race has focused on Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, voters will have a third name to choose from on their ballots next week – Princess Blanding.
“I am a working class Virginian and the only candidate who will fight to uplift the voices and address the needs and concerns of the working class, our Black and Brown community members and our most marginalized community members,” Blanding told The Center Square in an email. “I am the only candidate that will put people over profit and politics to ensure that liberation is a human right, not a privilege for all Virginians.”
New polls in Virginia’s elections continue to show a tight race. A poll of likely voters from Emerson College/Nexstar Media reports a tie, 48.1 percent for GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, and 47.9 percent for Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe. A poll of likely voters from USA Today/ Suffolk University found a near tie, with 45.60 percent for McAuliffe and 45.20 percent support for Youngkin. A poll of likely voters from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) found 41 percent support for McAuliffe, with 38 percent support for Youngkin.
Based on that, Real Clear Politics reports McAuliffe’s lead at an average 1.5 points.
A new Christopher Newport University Wason Center poll released Friday found GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin slightly behind Terry McAuliffe, 49 percent to 45 percent, which is nearly in line with the Real Clear Politics current polling average placing McAuliffe ahead by 3.5 percentage points. Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding got one percent, with five percent undecided.
The poll also included the lieutenant governor’s race, which hasn’t seen as much polling, and found that Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) leads GOP candidate Winsome Sears 48 percent to 44 percent.
Inside Elections updated their Virginia gubernatorial race rating Wednesday, shifting from Likely Democratic to Lean Democratic.
“Former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has had a consistent advantage over Republican Glenn Youngkin in the commonwealth, but some Democratic strategists are concerned about President Joe Biden’s drag on the race and about the lack of urgency on the Democratic side,” Inside Elections’ Nathan Gonzales wrote. “The public polling points to a very competitive race. McAuliffe is ahead of Youngkin by three points in both the FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics polling averages, neither of which have changed much in the last six weeks.”
In the last of only two gubernatorial debates GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe made their pitches to Virginia moderates on issues including vaccinations, abortion, qualified immunity, business climate, and Afghan refugees in the Commonwealth. But Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding provided the most interesting moment of the debate by interrupting from the audience.
Moderators had asked McAuliffe about a statistic the Youngkin campaign cites showing that murder rates rose during McAuliffe’s first term. McAuliffe responded by citing his past investment in law enforcement and sheriffs. He also called for gun control.
“Terry, why am I not allowed on the stage? As governor I will defund the police,” Blanding said before being drowned out by moderators and producers cut away from the live feed.
A new University of Mary Washington (UMW) poll of 1,000 Virginia adults found Terry McAuliffe leading with 43 percent, Glenn Youngkin with 38 percent, and Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding at two percent. Among the 528 likely voters in the poll, Youngkin gained ten points, reaching 48 percent, while McAuliffe and Blanding stayed at 43 percent and two percent, respectively. But elections forecaster Chaz Nuttycombe said that the big story is the Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll released Tuesday that had McAuliffe leading Youngkin 45 to 42 percent; it surveyed 875 Virginia voters on September 17 and 18 with a 3.3 percent margin of error. It did not include Blanding.
“The one big exclamation point that should be having Dems say, ‘Oh s–t, oh f–k, oh s–t, oh f–k,’ is the PPP poll that came out. That had McAuliffe up by three. PPP is a very Democrat-leaning pollster,” he said. “Their polls usually overestimate Democrats by a few points.”
Virginia State Delegate Lee J. Carter (D-Manassas) officially joined the governor’s race last Friday and is now part of the crowded Democratic field vying for the party nomination this summer.
Carter, 33, is the fifth Democrat to seek the Executive Mansion next November and had originally filed paperwork to raise money for a gubernatorial bid last month.
Community activist and mental health advocate Princess Blanding, whose brother was fatally shot by Richmond Police in 2018, announced her entrance into the 2021 Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday as a third-party candidate, joining a group of hopefuls featuring former and current state politicians.
Blanding, 38, will be running as an independent candidate under the Liberation Party, whose mission to advance equity by uplifting traditionally underserved and oppressed communities, according to a press release.
Princess Blanding, the sister of Marcus-David Peters who was shot and killed by Richmond Police during a mental health crisis, blasted Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Democratic lawmakers over legislation named after her brother during the bill signing ceremony on Tuesday.
In attendance alongside Northam were the three legislative sponsors of the bill: Senators Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond City) and Jeremy McPike (D-Prince William) and Delegate Jeff Boure (D-Richmond City).