Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin told Fox News on Wednesday that he is feeling very confident in his campaign to prevent former Democratic Gov. Terence McAuliffe from returning to Richmond for a second nonconsecutive term, as polls in the increasingly-blue Old Dominion show the pair in a dead heat as early voting begins.
Current Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, cannot run for reelection under Virginia law.
On “Hannity,” host Sean Hannity pointed out that McAuliffe prematurely exited an interview with a local news reporter who had allotted 20 minutes for each candidate to answer questions. McAuliffe said the reporter, Nick Minock, should have asked better or more relevant questions.
Minock had asked about McAuliffe’s statement at a recent debate in Alexandria where he said “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
That statement, Youngkin told Hannity, is at the heart of the differences between himself and the Democrat.
“The reason why Terry McAuliffe didn’t want to talk to [Minock] anymore [was] because he was asking questions about schools and crime. Last night we had an event where 1,000 people showed up. They know the difference between what I will do for Virginia,” said Youngkin, referring to an event held in Burke – just outside Fairfax City.
A National Republican Senatorial Committee [NRSC] staffer who was at the event was one of many on social media who expressed surprise that a Republican like Youngkin drew such a crowd in otherwise heavily Democratic Fairfax County.
Helder Toste, a coalitions director for the NRSC, said the event showed McAuliffe to be in “big trouble”, citing that about 70% of voters in President George Washington’s home county cast a ballot for President Joe Biden only 11 months ago.
Youngkin told Hannity his campaign has been energized by the goal of “get[ting] our schools reestablished with standards of excellence where parents have the right to be engaged in their children’s education.”
“Terry McAuliffe wants government between parents and their children. He wants to raise taxes and defund police and close prisons. On the ballot right now in November is the future of Virginia and of America.”
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In his interview with WJLA’s Minock, McAuliffe defended his record, saying that as a parent of 5 in Fairfax, he puts public education in high regard.
“I got into this race because of education. We are 50th of 50 states in average teacher pay as it compares to the average pay. That’s disgraceful. I’m going to raise teacher pay above the national average for the first time ever,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe went on to characterize Youngkin as having a “Donald Trump-Betsy DeVos” view of education policy.
Trump endorsed Youngkin earlier this year, but the former president has not been a visible figure in Youngkin’s campaign.