HENRICO, Va - On the final day before polls open in Virginia, candidates in key races spent the day making a final pitch to voters and appearing with high profile political figures. The balance of power in Congress is up for grabs Tuesday, and political watchers are keeping a close eye on who wins a handful of races in Virginia, including the 7th congressional district.
At a campaign stop in Northern Virginia, former President Barack Obama appeared with Senator Tim Kaine (D) to spur support among young Democrats in Northern Virginia. Republican Corey Stewart continued his "jobs not mobs" tour in Woodbridge Monday night.
At J.R. Tucker High School Monday night, Kaine appeared with Abigail Spanberger, who is challenging Congressman Dave Brat (R) in Virginia's 7th district. Polls show the race is a "toss up" heading into election day.
Both Brat and Spanberger spent the day touring the district, thanking campaign volunteers, and urging their base voters to head to the polls on a potentially cold, rainy election day.
The 7th district race has captured the attention of national political pundits and is viewed as a potential early barometer for control of the House of Representatives. Voters in the 7th district began attention to the race long before national outlets focused their spotlight on the district that includes large portions of Henrico and Chesterfield.
Joy Moretti said she met Spanberger at an event about one year ago, and immediately began volunteering her off time for the campaign.
"She has such a wide, varied ability that I think she’s the superior candidate for our district," Moretti said. "That’s why I’ve knocked doors for over a year."
Moretti, a physician and resident of Goochland County, is glad to see Spanberger signs throughout the district in places usually reserved for Republican campaign ads.
"In the home stretch, its just a lot of enthusiasm, getting people out to vote, and making sure everybody gets to the polls," she said.
At a home on Parham Road, Charles Olin decided to place signs in support of Congressman Brat in his front yard after reports of vandalism in parts of the 7th district.
"I didn’t make that decision until I started to see his signs being vandalized," Olin said.
Olin owns a motorcycle parts shop in Henrico, and said he opened the business shortly after Brat took office. Olin thanks economic policies touted by Brat and Republicans for allowing him to take the risk and open a small business.
"He’s pretty much kept his promises. He went to Congress with a layman’s background and he’s done a good job," Olin said. He added that he think Republican voters are more energized for election day than many think.
“It’s been sad in the past when I went over to my local polling place and saw no cars in the parking lot. I don’t think that’s going to be the case tomorrow. I think the parking lot is going to be full," Olin said.
At Joey's Hot Dogs near Short Pump, candidates of all political backgrounds have stumped during past elections, and this one. Owner Joey Mirabile said his customers have been talking politics when they come into the shop for a while now.
"A lot of negative campaigning going on. I think we’re polarized from the top down," Mirabile said. "Instead of talking bad about one another, we need to try to get along and make something happen."
Mirabile is looking forward to Wednesday, when this election cycle is over with, and also a different brand of campaigning.
“The last politician I favored was probably John Kennedy, who said don’t look for the Republican solution, don’t look for the Democratic solution, but look inside yourself and be responsible and see what you can do to move this thing forward," Mirabile said.
Libertarian candidates Matt Waters and Joe Walton are both on the ballot in the Senate and 7th district, respectively. Political analysts said Walton could have an impact in the 7th district race by pulling some voters from Brat.
Polls close at 7pm on Tuesday.