Twitter locked the account for GOP nominee for lieutenant governor Winsome Sears over the weekend. Staff said they were unable to log in for a 72-hour period starting Friday, and visitors to her page received a warning message before being given a link to visit the page.
“We didn’t tweet anything controversial, we haven’t said or done anything, except go to bat for the people of Virginia,” Sears spokesperson Michael Allers told The Virginia Star. “I tried to log in, I was blocked. Another person tried to log in, they were blocked. And we lost access to the account for 72 hours.”
“Caution: This account is temporarily restricted,” a warning on Sears’ page said on Monday morning. “You’re seeing this warning because there has been some unusual activity from this account. Do you still want to view it?”
A Twitter spokesperson told The Star that Sears’ account faced two different situations.
“The account you referenced was locked and asked to complete challenges to verify its identity. We routinely challenge accounts as part of our security and platform manipulation measures. During this process, accounts are locked and prompted to provide additional information (e.g., a phone number) or to solve a reCAPTCHA. More here,” a Twitter statement said.
The spokesperson also said the account was caught by a spam filter.
“This account was temporarily locked in error by an automated spam filter. This action has been reversed and the account is now fully operational,” an additional Twitter statement said.
Allers said that the days-long lock is a problem regardless of the reason. He also questioned why it is taking so long for Sears to become blue-check verified on the account.
“The campaign cycle is always moving, but you know while [Democratic candidate Delegate Hala Ayala (D-Prince William) was out there posting on social media, getting her message out to people on Twitter and social media, we were held back for three days. We still had access to Facebook, Instagram, and other networks, but the fact is Twitter is a huge audience,” Allers said. “It’s still handicapping a major candidate.”
Sears is scheduled to appear on Fox and Friends on Tuesday morning to discuss fighting big tech censorship and advocating for better education.
Gubernatorial Candidates Spar Over Debates
Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe have been going back and forth over scheduled debate appearances. Youngkin declined to attend the Virginia Bar Association debate scheduled for last Saturday, so the event was canceled. Instead, the candidates traded blows on Twitter. Youngkin criticized McAuliffe for not agreeing to a debate in August hosted by Hampton University, Liberty University, and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.
“If you really wanted to debate you’d have been up on stage with me at the VBA Debate TODAY. I agreed to five debates. You’ve already chickened out of one. Let’s go,” McAuliffe tweeted.
On Monday, Youngkin confirmed that he would participate in a debate hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, NBC4/Telemundo 44 and the Schar School of Public Policy and Government at George Mason University. He’s already confirmed participation in a debate at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy on September 16.
“Glenn Youngkin looks forward to debating career politician and Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe, and hearing him explain his poor performance as governor,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said. “McAuliffe has still not accepted the August debate, but we hope he will soon.”
Youngkin Launches More TV Ads
On Tuesday, the Youngkin campaign will start running two new television ads. Medium Buying reported on Twitter that both Youngkin and McAuliffe purchased several $20,000 30-second spots to run during primetime Olympics coverage on WRC.
One of the Youngkin ads says he’ll prioritize manufacturing jobs in Virginia. “It was my job back in college, working the graveyard shift loading trucks that taught me the power of work,” Youngkin states in the ad.
“Who is Glenn Youngkin? Glenn Youngkin once left dirty dishes in the sink,” a deep voice states in the second ad.
“Get ready, here come the negative attack ads,” Youngkin states, saying that McAuliffe “doesn’t want to talk about his own extreme views. What’s next? I hate dogs?”
The Washington Post reported that Youngkin has had the airwaves to himself. Last week, McAuliffe launched his first ad citing “thousands of new jobs” created during his first term. McAuliffe repeats one of his most common attacks on Youngkin: “He is a loyalist to Donald Trump.”
Fox News criticized McAuliffe’s claims in the ad of “record investment in education.”
“While McAuliffe did set the record for Virginia’s education investment in terms of raw dollars with his $6.5 billion 2016 and $6.8 billion 2017 budgets, money doesn’t keep its value from year to year due to inflation – something McAuliffe didn’t take into consideration,” Fox reported.
President Biden joined McAuliffe in northern Virginia Friday evening.
On Saturday, Youngkin, attorney general nominee Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach), and Sears helped hand out food at a World of Faith Christian Fellowship food truck in Dumfries. Youngkin also made a couple of stops in Falls Church, meeting with business community members and members of the Vietnamese community.
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