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Biden says Virginia race wasn’t blowback against him, incorrectly discusses state’s electoral history

President Joe Biden speaks during the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in...
President Joe Biden speaks during the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 1:41 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says the Democrats’ setbacks in Tuesday’s elections underscore that the party needs to “produce for the American people.” But he’s pushing back against the notion that the off-year election results were a repudiation of his presidency.

Biden insisted Wednesday that his inability to get Congress to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure deal and a $1.75 trillion package of social and climate programs ahead of Tuesday’s vote didn’t make a difference.

In Virginia’s governor’s race, Democrat Terry McAuliffe lost to first-time Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin in a state that Biden won by 10 percentage points a year ago.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Downplaying his party’s loss in Virginia, President Joe Biden suggested that Democrat Terry McAuliffe couldn’t have won the governor’s election based on the state’s history of rejecting candidates in that race when their party occupied the White House.

He’s wrong.

BIDEN: “No governor in Virginia has ever won when he’s of the same, or he or she’s the same party, as the sitting president.” — remarks Wednesday.

THE FACTS: Not so.

While Virginia has a recent pattern of electing governors of the opposite party, McAuliffe himself defied that trend in 2013 by winning the governor’s mansion when Barack Obama was president.

The election at the time made McAuliffe the only Virginia gubernatorial candidate in 44 years to win when his party occupied the White House. A. Linwood Holton, Jr., an attorney and moderate Republican, previously won the governorship in 1969 when Republican Richard Nixon was president.

On Tuesday, Glenn Youngkin became the first Republican to win statewide office in a dozen years, tapping into culture war fights over schools and race to unite former President Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters with enough suburban voters to notch a victory.

Copyright 2021 AP. All rights reserved.