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Virginians on Tuesday headed to the polls to elect a new governor, in a closely contested race between the Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin widely seen as a referendum on Joe Biden’s presidency.

“The operative word is not critical,” Sabato said. “And it’s not theory. It’s race. What a shock, huh? Race. That is what matters. And that’s why it’s sticks.

“There’s a lot of, we can call it white backlash, white resistance, whatever you want to call it. It has to do with race. And so we live in a post-factual era … It doesn’t matter that [CRT] isn’t taught in Virginia schools. It’s this generalised attitude that whites are being put upon and we’ve got to do something about it. We being white voters.”

Cultural issues have dominated the race, Youngkin also promising to give parents more control over how public schools handle gender and Covid-19, McAuliffe vowing to protect voting rights and abortion access.

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