There's an excellent Twitter thread on Virginia here. Some highlights:
Bad stuff that happened in Virginia the last time we had a GOP governor:— Diana Butler Bass (@dianabutlerbass) October 31, 2021
Remember the Virginia ultrasound bill forcing vaginal probes controversy?https://t.co/xVibmU9pap— Diana Butler Bass (@dianabutlerbass) October 31, 2021
UVA professors were investigated for teaching climate science: https://t.co/QWPftu0AC1— Diana Butler Bass (@dianabutlerbass) October 31, 2021
Gov Bob McDonnell reinstated Confederate History Month: https://t.co/5p0xORqNrd— Diana Butler Bass (@dianabutlerbass) October 31, 2021
The GOP worked to subvert every environmental policy in the books:https://t.co/WIdpUSG2x5— Diana Butler Bass (@dianabutlerbass) October 31, 2021
The 2013 candidate for Lt Gov ran a campaign based on Democrats being the Antichrist. https://t.co/WMqSPhPU8b— Diana Butler Bass (@dianabutlerbass) October 31, 2021
Terry McAuliffe's strategy in this race has been to tie his opponent, Glenn Youngkin, to Donald Trump. Polls suggest that it might not be working. But what if McAuliffe had spent as much time talking about Republican elected officials in the state as he did talking about Trump? What if he'd reminded them that the Republican Party doesn't have one dangerous extremist but many, and it wasn't that long ago that Republicans like Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli rejected moderation and chose extremism?
But this is my ongoing complaint about the Democrats: They're up against a party of extremists whom much of the country regards as moderate, while Democrats are a mostly moderate party that's regarded by far too many voters as extreme. Regarding the latter, Democrats like Joe Biden and Kyrsten Sinema, in different ways, send the message, "I'm moderate -- I'm not like those Democrats you don't like," which got them elected but reinforces the Democrats-as-extremists stereotype. And when Democrats focus on Trump as a uniquely evil figure, that reinforces the belief that most Republicans are fine, decent, responsible right-centrists.
Maybe you have to hedge your bets by saying that the local Republicans weren't always crazy but have been crazy for a while now -- but at least make note of the fact that Republicans do a lot of crazy, dangerous things, and Youngkin might do them too.