OnPolitics: Virginia's dead heat governor's race

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Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (L) and Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin participate in a debate at Northern Virginia Community College, in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.  The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on Nov. 2.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (L) and Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin participate in a debate at Northern Virginia Community College, in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on Nov. 2.

Welcome back to another edition of OnPolitics. We're still focused on Virginia and its closely watched gubernatorial race.

Virginia's bellwether race for governor remains close in the final stretch of a campaign that is testing President Joe Biden’s sagging approval numbers going into the 2022 midterms.

Why Democrats may be worried: Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are tied at roughly 45% each, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll released Tuesday. But roughly 5% of likely voters say they are still undecided a week before the Nov. 2 vote.

The race is much closer than Democrats had hoped after winning two straight Virginia governor's races, including a victory by McAuliffe in 2013, and Biden carrying the state by 10 percentage points over Donald Trump last year.

Another issue Democrats are worried about: Infrastructure.

Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to make a Sunday deadline to complete two big parts of President Joe Biden's economic agenda.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., earlier this month set a new deadline of Oct. 31 for the House to pass a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and achieve consensus on a bigger budget bill that includes a number of liberal policies, such as subsidizing child care and fighting climate change.

It's Mabinty, with the news of the day.

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One thing uniting liberals and conservatives? Instagram

Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, including climate change, government spending and how to fix health care. Even their concerns about social media diverge, with Republicans accusing Big Tech of censoring conservative voices and Democrats criticizing disinformation about election fraud and the Jan. 6 insurrection on Twitter, Facebook and other prominent platforms.

But Instagram’s potential harm to children has united a liberal Democrat from the Northeast (Sen. Richard Blumenthal) and a hard-right conservative Republican from the South (Sen. Marsha Blackburn).

Why this matters: As the top Democrat and the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, the two have joined forces to go after one of the most ubiquitous forces on the planet. Any legislation that carries both their support will be seriously considered given their committee leadership and divergent political backgrounds.

And Blumenthal and Blackburn are holding their fourth bipartisan hearing on social media, titled “Protecting Kids Online: Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube," on Tuesday, where officials from all three companies are expected to testify.

Real quick: Stories you'll want to read

  • First ladies club: First lady Jill Biden's prayer partner Robin Jackson, the first lady of Brookland Baptist Church, opens up about their supportive friendship.

  • A rainbow wave: LGBTQ candidates are seeking office in record numbers this election year, advancing a sea change in the nation's political landscape, according to a report to be released Tuesday.

  • We’re still not done talking about the 2020 presidential race: A Republican secretary of state who challenged former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud in 2020 is the front-runner for a job heading the Biden administration’s effort to protect future elections.

A costly drug bust

Law enforcement officials announced a far-reaching drug enforcement operation Tuesday involving the online peddling of fake pills often laced with lethal drugs that resulted in the arrests of at least 150 suspects worldwide, including 65 in the U.S.

Wait, there's more: The 10-month investigation also netted nearly $32 million in cash, 45 firearms and an estimated 4 million deadly doses of fentanyl among the 500 pounds of illicit drugs seized.

Focusing on the widening illicit drug market on the dark web, the operation known as "Dark HunTor" involved coordinated enforcement actions in Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Read more on the investigation from USA TODAY justice correspondent Kevin Johnson.

Congrats to the all Dune lovers out there. The movie is getting a sequel. — Mabinty

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: New poll shows Terry McAuliffe, Glenn Youngkin in a dead heat

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