Trump and Biden supporters in Virginia share their voices ahead of the first presidential debate

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Posted at 7:07 PM, Jun 24, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- The day after the first presidential debate of 2024, former President Donald Trump is scheduled to make an appearance with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin in Chesapeake.

The event comes at a time when Virginia, which has voted Democrat in every primary election since 2008, may become a crucial battleground state in November.

Recent polls have shown that the race between President Biden and Trump is very close at this point.

“[Trump coming to Virginia] is a signal that they think it might be in play,” said political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth. “[Trump] could win Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona, and still lose if he loses in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And so for that reason, the Trump campaign might be looking for another state that they could put into play. Minnesota might be one but Virginia is another.”

Recent polling in the state shows that Virginia is either even or has Biden just ahead of Trump. If a handful of other battleground states lean blue, then states like Virginia become all the more important for Trump, Holsoworth said.

“It’s very interesting the day after the debate, of the states to pick, Donald Trump would come to Virginia," he said.

This week’s debate and Chesapeake have voters on either side of the ballot thinking about the potential impact of the race on their own lives.

Renee West, who said she’s supported Trump since his first campaign in 2016, runs a trucking business with her husband in Powhatan. West said President Biden's economic policies haven't leveled out the inflationary pressures as promised and significantly impacted their business model.

“In 2020, we were doing good, we were making good money,” said West. “But now the freight rates are low, we can’t get any business, no commodities are moving in this country anymore. The economy has really taken a tank for us and for us personally to the point where we’re considering getting out of our personal business.”

West said they may make the trip to Chesapeake later this week and feels confident the polls showing a tight race will hold come the fall.

"We were trying to get down to Atlanta, so now finding out he’s actually going to be here in Virginia, yay!" she said with a big smile.

The timely visit by Trump has many young Democrats thinking of what happened during and in the wake of Trump's term and what the potential for a second term could mean.

“We are at the age where these issues really matter to us,” said Manya Suri. “Last time our rights were taken away with Roe v. Wade, all of us were out here on the streets and we were very vocal about our opinions. Hopefully, when [Trump] comes, we are back out there, and that we don’t support the things he is saying.”

College students like Suri, as well as Adley Stephens and Chi Chi Lu, feel that while Virginia might seem like a swing state to political prognosticators, Democrats have won handily in most statewide elections over the past decade.

The lone exception was Governor Youngkin's narrow win over former Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2021.

“I think in recent years [Virginia] has become more vocal,” said Stephens. “I think Virginia is leaning more blue, especially with the growing youth population. We’re such an important demographic, we’re such an opinionated and powerful demographic, and I think we care a lot and we’re not afraid to stand up against systems that a lot of people are okay with accepting.”

Trump's rally on Friday will take place at Historic Greenbrier Farms and run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to Trump’s campaign. President Biden will hold a rally in North Carolina, after the debate.

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