“We know Terry,” Mrs. Biden said. “We know his value. We are his heart. He‘s worked with Republicans to make investments in education, improve transportation, and strengthen your workforce. He understands how to bring people together, because that’s what gets things done .”
Also speaking at the rally were Democratic Lt. Governor nominee Hala Ayala and Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger. Susan Swecker, Virginia Democratic Chairwoman, was also present.
Mrs. Biden is now visible on the political stage, a departure from Melania Trump who was a more prominent role as first lady.
Stacy Cordery is an Iowa State University history professor who studies first ladies and said that Mrs. Biden’s appearance on the campaign trail was a return to the traditional aspects of the office.
” The first lady’s job is, in general, to support the president,” Ms. Cordery stated. It falls under the .”
umbrella for the first lady to run campaigns on behalf of other party members.
Mrs. Biden spoke to the crowd and also plugged her husband. She shared conversations about people she knew who were concerned about their future but still believed in the president’s promises.
She highlighted Mr. Biden’s relationship to the current Virginia Governor. Ralph Northam.
” They told me they believed in Joe Biden and that he could turn the tide of this country,” Mrs. Biden stated. “He worked closely with Governor Northam to ensure Virginia got the help it required .”
There were some supporters who praised Mrs. Biden’s teaching career, which she has continued even as the first lady.
Mrs. Biden was the first first lady to have a full-time job teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria campus. She also continues the duties of her office.
Katherine Sibley, an American Studies professor at St. Joseph’s University, said Mrs. Biden’s built-in presence in the state enhances her legitimacy as part of Mr. McAuliffe‘s campaign.
“She is a popular figure there and her message, especially as an educator, I think will resonate very strongly,” Ms. Sibley said. “She’s been around Virginia for a long time teaching there, and been visible so I think definitely her position will be helpful to Terry McAuliffe.”
Stewart Gamage, 70, of Richmond, said Mrs. Biden’s dedication to teaching is one aspect of her she admired.
” I think it’s wonderful for women,” Ms. Gamage stated. “She is one of the first women to continue her work .”
,” Ms. Gamage said.
Bruce Gould, 68, of Richmond, mirrored Ms. Gamage’s sentiment, commending her for her teaching career that’s she kept even while Mr. Biden was serving as vice president.
” While she was second lady she taught at Northern Virginia Community College, and she is still there today,” Mr. Gould stated. “[She] is a dedicated individual.”
Virginia Republicans attacked Mrs. Biden’s appearance, citing concerns about Mr. Biden’s administration.
“While Jill Biden was in Henrico she ought to be talking with families that are suffering because of her husband’s out-of control spending and poor policies,” Tina Ramirez (a GOP candidate for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District which includes Henrico County) said.
A group of hecklers who claimed to be climate activists briefly disrupted this event but were quickly escorted by security.
Later, a campaign official confirmed that the group was originally from Minnesota.
The former governor proposed raising teacher salaries and expanding pre-K programs.
“I’m going to make sure that every single child in Virginia has a world-class education,” Mr. McAuliffe said.
Mr. McAuliffe also thanked Mrs. Biden for her appearance, noting her Virginia ties to teaching in the state and also making Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond her first official visit outside of Washington, D.C., in February.
Early voting in Virginia is under way and polls show that it is a dead heat.
The poll surveyed 1,040 likely voters and had an error margin of 4.1 percentage points, an amount greater than Mr. McAuliffe’s 3-point edge, making the poll a statistical tie.