Most of the political world’s attention on Tuesday will be focused on Virginia, where former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, is trying to return to his old office in a run against Glenn Youngkin, a wealthy Republican business executive.
Polls show the race is a dead heat. And the themes of the contest — with Mr. McAuliffe trying relentlessly to tie Mr. Youngkin to former President Donald J. Trump, and Mr. Youngkin focusing on how racial inequality is taught in schools, among other cultural issues — have only amplified the election’s potential as a national bellwether. The results will be closely studied by both parties for clues about what to expect in the 2022 midterms.
While the Virginia race is Tuesday’s marquee matchup, there are other notable elections taking place. Voters in many major American cities will choose their next mayor, and some will weigh in on hotly contested ballot measures, including on the issue of policing. There’s another governor’s race in New Jersey, too.
Education has been the top issue in the race, according to an October Washington Post poll, giving Republicans the edge on a topic that has traditionally favored Democrats.
New Jersey governor’s race, the Democratic incumbent, Phil Murphy, is up for re-election. Polls have shown Mr. Murphy ahead, but Mr. Biden’s weakening job approval rating in the solidly Democratic state — which stood at 43 percent in a recent Monmouth poll — is a cause of concern. The results will be watched for evidence of how much of the erosion in Mr. Biden’s support has seeped down-ballot.