Thursday | October 28th, 2021

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It’s Thursday, October 28th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) Virginia Governor’s Race All Tied Up

The Topline: The Virginia Governor’s race between Republican Glenn Youngkin and Democrat Terry McAuliffe, once considered a surefire win for Democrats, is now in a dead heat. 

Quote Of The Day: “We don’t have time to be wasting on these phony, trumped-up culture wars, this fake outrage that right wing media pedals to juice their ratings.”

– President Barack Obama, campaigning for Terry McAuliffe (D).

Anna Moneymaker/Staff/Getty Images

Background

Virginia has been a fairly solid blue state for the past decade, and hasn’t had a Republican Governor since 2009 and hasn’t gone red in a presidential election since 2004.

In the 2020 presidential election, Virginia went for Biden by 10 points.

Because this is the first major election since President Joe Biden took office, many view it as a referendum on the job he’s doing. 

A victory for Republicans – or even a close loss – would give them confidence nationally heading into the 2022 midterms. 

The Numbers

The last several polls in Virginia show a statistical tie. 

Polls in September all had McAuliffe (D) up by 5 to 10 points, but there’s been a rush of Independent voters moving to Youngkin (R). 

The polls also show a significant number of suburban women leaning Republican. 

Education

Education has become the key issue in this race. 41% of voters now say this is what they care about most. 

At the beginning of the year, outside of the Republican base, not many voters prioritized education issues like COVID lockdowns, LGBTQ policies, and critical race theory in classrooms. 

As the year has progressed, there’s been a massive increase in the number of Independents and Democrats who say they’re upset over how public schools are operating, and it’s reflecting poorly on Democrat officials, who’ve largely stood by the schools. 

Daily Wire Point: The shift in Independents moving to Republicans also coincided with The Daily Wire’s report about Loudoun County public schools allegedly covering up sexual assault in the district. The scandal appears to have been another driving factor in motivating the Republican base and swaying those on the fence. 

Karl Tapales via Getty Images

2) FDA Panel Recommends Pfizer Vaccine For Kids 

The Topline: This week, an FDA advisory panel gave its support to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for use in children 5 to 11 years old.

The Recommendation

An advisory committee for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 17 to 0 — with one abstention — in favor of allowing the Pfizer vaccine to be used in kids 5 to 11 years old. 

The panel is in favor of giving children within the age group one-third of the amount of the vaccine dose given to those who are 12 years of age and older, in the form of two shots spaced by three weeks.   

The FDA typically follows the advice of the panel, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also planning to have its own panel of specialists meet next week to make their own suggestions.

COVID Risk To Children

CDC provisional data shows that up to October of this year, out of the age group of kids from 5 to 11 years old, 167 have died from Covid.

By comparison, the CDC reported 186 pediatric deaths from the flu during the 2017-2018 season. Those numbers include a broader age range, and 2018 was considered a fairly bad flu season.

Fallout

Earlier this month, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom (CA) said his state will be the first to force eligible students in private and public schools to be vaccinated to be able to go to school in person. 

Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she thinks kids should keep wearing face coverings in school even after they’ve received a COVID vaccination.  

Timeline: While there isn’t a firm date yet, Americans can expect the shots to be rolled out quickly if approved. Last week, the White House discussed its plan to get the shots across the country including giving doses to doctors’ offices, amounting to over 25,000 pediatric offices and other locations. 

Mario Tama/Staff/Getty Images

3) College Students Protest COVID Rules

The Topline: College students around the country are protesting their schools’ stringent COVID rules, which many feel infringe on their freedom, leading some schools to backtrack. 

School Rules

More than 1,000 colleges have implemented a vaccine mandate, but that’s not all.

Oakland University in Michigan proposed a rule involving a “bio button” that monitored a student’s heart rate, temperature, and respiration. If the student started showing symptoms of COVID, the button would notify the school. 

Last year, another school, Albion College in Michigan, said students would have to use a location-tracking app and would not be allowed to leave campus without approval. The app tracks a student’s location and also contains the student’s COVID test results. If the student tested positive, the app would alert people the student had recently been around them.

Student Pushback

Students at dozens of schools have organized protests or petitions objecting to vaccine mandates, mask mandates, or other COVID restrictions. 

In both the location tracking app case and the bio button case, students and parents launched petitions against the rules. Oakland backed down, saying the bio button would be optional. 

Amherst College in Massachusetts prompted opposition when it announced students must not only be vaccinated, but they have to wear a mask everywhere – even outside – except when they’re alone in their dorm room, and they can’t go to restaurants or bars in town.

College Vaccine Mandates

As of this week, more than 1,000 schools have implemented a vaccine mandate.

In some cases, students have filed federal lawsuits against their schools over the vaccine mandates, but the outlook isn’t promising. 

In August, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of Indiana University’s vaccine requirement, which is a decision that has already been cited in some other cases. 

Support: A majority of college students support basic vaccine and mask mandates according to a September Kaplan survey. 

Geoff Robins / AFP / Contributor / GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Alec Baldwin

On Wednesday, New Mexico authorities gave an update on the movie set tragedy in which actor Alec Baldwin shot and killed a cinematographer. The District Attorney said “no one has been ruled out” regarding charges. On Baldwin’s involvement, the sheriff said, “He’s obviously the person that fired the weapon, so we’re gonna continue interviewing and getting… the facts of his statements and the evidence, and the case and possible witnesses… so right now he is an active part of this investigation.”

Dave Chappelle

On Monday, comedian Dave Chappelle posted a new video to Instagram addressing his critics, saying, “You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. Well, it seems like I’m the only one that can’t go to the office anymore.”

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