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In campaign's closing days, do rallies move the needle?

Hampton Roads political experts say the point is to energize the base, and ensure Election Day turnout.

NORFOLK, Va. — In the final days of an election cycle, do political rallies like one Friday featuring Vice President Kamala Harris and singer Pharrell Williams appearing for Democratic candidate for Governor Terry McAuliffe make a difference?

Do they change anybody's mind, or is it preaching to the choir?

McAuliffe must see some value in bringing in big names to vouch for him in the closing days of his contest with republican candidate Glenn Youngkin.

McAuliffe has held several such high-profile events around the state this week, including ones with President Joseph R. Biden, and former President Barack Obama.

The question is, do these kinds of rallies really move the needle when it comes to winning over voters?

13 News Now put the question to Hampton Roads political science academic scholars. They said it's all about energizing the base.

"I don't think the goal is to convert people, but the goal is to generate interest and turnout," said Jesse Richman, Old Dominion University Political Science Professor.

Virginia Wesleyan University Political Science Professor Leslie Caughell sees value for McAuliffe in the Norfolk rally.

"I really think bringing Kamala Harris is about motivating the base of voters, and Democrats definitely perceive an enthusiasm gap," she said. "We're seeing that in the polling like everywhere. I suspect celebrities like Pharrell Williams are more about getting people who might not be committed to voting out to an event to see a celebrity they might like. And then, get them to engage and commit on some level to voting."

Norfolk State University Political Science Professor Soji Oakomolafe says the point is to boost turnout among his supporters on Election Day.

"At this point, what the McAuliffe campaign has to do is get as many Democrats as possible out to vote," he said. "Is it going to work? Your guess is as good as mine."

The Republican National Committee wasted no time weighing in on the Norfolk rally.

In a statement, the RNC said:  "At this point, Terry McAuliffe's routine of bringing out liberal celebrities and musicians is almost as stale as his recycled policies."

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