Washington, D.C. – Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe drew just 93 people when he campaigned for Democratic House hopeful Susan Swecker on Monday, less than 20 percent of the attendees at a meeting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee held at the Hyatt Regency in Charlottesville.
The Democratic groups’ office in downtown Charlottesville held an afternoon meeting to hear from candidates running for the Virginia House of Delegates this fall, but instead of having McAuliffe on the program, they brought in a local survivor of the Columbine High School massacre, who he lauded for being one of the group’s committee members.
“He had his hand raised, said, ‘Thank you for your service and your work,’ but we still lost,” McAuliffe told the crowd.
Swecker faces Republican state Sen. Richard Henderson in Virginia’s 51st House District, which covers roughly three square miles in southern Charlottesville. The race is one of the most closely watched races in the Virginia elections this fall, as Republicans look to take control of the chamber from Democrats, who control 53 to 46 seats.
Swecker has been taking on the local Republican Party leaders over Trump and has been increasing her television ads in hopes of drawing more attention to her campaign. She is currently polling just slightly ahead of Henderson, according to Virginia Public Access Project’s review of the most recent survey, but has been steadily rising over the past few months.
Henderson’s campaign countered that it has been expanding its volunteer base in the three-way race by targeting younger voters who are more likely to vote for Democrats. He welcomed McAuliffe to the district on Monday.
“I hope your stay here at the Hyatt is as impactful as the strong turnout you’re getting in the classroom, and the people attending this meeting,” Henderson said on stage after McAuliffe’s remarks.
On his way back to the campaign bus, McAuliffe announced he had been to Hilton Head. When he arrived in Beaufort, South Carolina, the light was dazzling; on Daufuskie Island, everyone was watching football on television, while nearby people waved tiny McAuliffe signs.
“Right there,” he said, pointing across the road. “That’s what I’m running on: bringing a light to this beautiful little island.”