As the polls tighten in the Virginia gubernatorial race, Democrat Terry McAuliffe is dropping his front-runner swagger and warning that he could lose.
In an email to supporters meant to inspire them to vote, he said simply: “Ignore the polls.”
Some polls show that the race is getting close, with Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli getting to as close as three points in one poll, though most still show McAuliffe with a significant lead.
But the former Democratic Party chairman is worried about turnout in a year when voters are turned off by both candidates and there is no other headline-grabbing election dragging voters to the polls.
“No matter what pollsters are reporting, newspapers are writing, and your friends might be telling you — we're facing two hard truths,” said McAuliffe’s email.
“In off-year elections like this one, Tea Party voters turn out more reliably than Democrats. For 45 years, the political party that controls the White House has lost our governor's race the next year. In 2009, fewer than 40 percent of Virginia voters cast a ballot for governor, despite the fact that nearly 70 percent voted in the presidential election the year before,” he explained.
“That's why we absolutely CANNOT afford to fall short of our $250,000 Get Out the Vote Fund Goal at tonight's midnight deadline — right now we're $48,345 away,” he said in his latest push for more money.
Campaign officials said that McAuliffe is focused on get out the vote initiatives, even bringing in former President Clinton and President Obama this week to urge voters to show up on Tuesday.
“If we allow ourselves to be complacent for any part of the next five days, Election Day will not be pretty,” he said.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.