ABC, CBS, NBC nightly newscasts ignore Virginia gubernatorial race on eve of election

Media top headlines November 2

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On the eve of the country’s most highly anticipated election since the 2020 race for president, mainstream networks ABC, CBS and NBC avoided mentioning Virginia’s gubernatorial showdown in their Monday nightly newscasts. 

According to Grabien transcripts, and first reported by NewsBusters, each of the networks ignored covering the tight race between former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin, opting instead to focus on topics that didn’t spotlight electoral challenges for Democrats.

 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks at a Get Out The Vote rally on Oct. 30 in Hampton, Virginia. The Virginia gubernatorial election, pitting McAuliffe against Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, is November 2 
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

ABC spent the largest portion of its coverage on climate change, focusing at one point on Queen Elizabeth’s call to action to address the issue. CBS spent a large chunk of time covering former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s new book, while NBC spent nearly two minutes talking about a food truck in Austin, Texas.

The race is expected to be a bellwether on the fate of Democrats in next year’s midterms and a potential referendum on President Joe Biden’s job performance.

LEESBURG, VIRGINIA – NOVEMBER 01: Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks at a campaign rally at the Loudon County Fairground on November 01, 2021 in Leesburg, Virginia. The Virginia gubernatorial election, pitting Youngkin against Democratic candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, is tomorrow. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

A number of hot button issues have elevated the race into the national spotlight, including debates over coronavirus-related mandates, transgender issues and the teaching of critical race theory in schools. 

McAuliffe, most notably, faced intense criticism after he claimed in a September debate with Youngkin that parents shouldn’t be able to tell schools what they could and couldn’t teach, while Youngkin has advocated for parents to be included in dialogue surrounding their children’s education.

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican nominee, Glenn Youngkin, participate in their debate at Northern Virginia Community College, in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Historically, the party that controls the White House tends to have a harder time winning Virginia’s race for governor, but the last time a Republican won the governorship was Bob McDonnell in 2009. The state has trended increasingly Democratic in presidential elections since last voting Republican in 2004, and Democrats took control of the state’s House of Delegates and Senate in 2019 for the first time in more than two decades.

Polls close across the state at 7:00 p.m. EST.

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