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Virginia governor candidates face off in final debate

12 October 2017

The former president's tone and approach will be closely watched.

File-This Sept. 19, 2017, file photo shows Virginian gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam mingling at the debate in McLean, Va.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will campaign on Saturday with Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia.

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But the Northam event, a rally set for October 19 in Richmond, marks Obama's first appearance at a public, political campaign event.

Obama has always been expected to campaign for Northam this fall, although he has mostly tried to stay above the political fray since leaving office. Northam attended a fundraising event last week in NY with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and late last week President Donald Trump tweeted his first direct endorsement of Gillespie.

Finding common ground on a few issues, Gillespie and Northam both said they want a pay raise for Virginia teachers. The RealClearPolitics polling average puts Northam about 7 points ahead of the former Republican National Committee chair. Gillespie has largely kept Trump at an arm's distance throughout much of the campaign and has declined to say whether he would invite Trump to campaign with him.

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President Donald Trump endorsed the Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, in a tweet Thursday, saying that Northam "is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities".

There's also a race for governor of New Jersey this November that Democrats are expected to win (a special election for an open Senate seat in Alabama won't be held until December).

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Virginia governor candidates face off in final debate