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Other states are having an impact on Virginia elections


The Virginia election may be looking to other states for inspiration.

Don't California my Virginia. That's part of the standard stump speech for many Republicans this year, a reference to air quality standards leading to a mandate forcing all new car sales in Virginia to be electric by 2035. Now, Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares is adding a new dimension: pork. This week, he joined a group of 16 conservative AGs asking Congress to prevent California's strict pork regulations from dominating the marketplace and forcing other states to follow suit.

Legal expert Rich Kelsey says the AGs are responding to a recent Supreme Court case.

"It's a great political issue because people have very strong feelings about how states go about their business," Kelsey says. "And not surprisingly if you're in some parts of Virginia or some parts of Texas and you mention California, you'll get some mighty strong viewpoints. But at the end of the day, it is their state. And they are entitled to set pork standards."

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says electric cars and pork policy are both a form of tribal politics.

"The campaign trail so far looks like an out-of-state bogeyman for both sides," Farnsworth says. "The Republicans are saying don't California Virginia, and the Democrats increasingly seem to be saying don't Florida Virginia."

California and Florida don't have elections this year, though, so voters in the Old Dominion will have to determine which state is a better role model for Virginia.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.