Gubernatorial candidates Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe have launched competing ads. A McAuliffe ad links Youngkin’s calls for election integrity to Trump’s claims about the 2020 election, while the Youngkin ad fact-checks McAuliffe’s recitation of recent COVID-19 case numbers.
“On at least three separate days – September 28, September 29, and October 7 – McAuliffe claimed there had recently been 8,000 cases in Virginia, a gross inflation that amounts to nearly three to four times the actual number of cases,” a Youngkin press release explains.
The ad features clips of McAuliffe’s statements interspersed with fact-checks, and concludes with a clip of McAuliffe saying, “That’s disqualifying.”
McAuliffe’s ad cuts back and forth between clips of Trump and Youngkin. “The single biggest issue,” Trump states in the clips, “is talking about the election fraud.”
The ad inserts clips from Youngkin, stating, “This is the most important issue.” A second clip continues, “Our election integrity task force was launched week one.”
Both ads come after polls last week show Youngkin making gains, though still slightly trailing McAuliffe. One poll found an enthusiasm gap among Democrats, with statewide Democratic candidates losing support among independents. The last day of voting is less than a month away, and big names from both Republican and Democratic camps are coming to Virginia this week.
On Wednesday, former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon and former Trump senior adviser Jason Miller will be at Virginia Star Publisher John Fredericks’ “Action Action Action! Take Back Virginia Rally” in Glen Allen. Although Youngkin and GOP attorney general candidate Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) will not be at the event, GOP lieutenant governor candidate Winsome Sears will appear alongside speakers including Senator Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin), and Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise.)
Major Democratic figures are coming to Virginia too. On Friday, First Lady Jill Biden will campaign with McAuliffe in Henrico, according to Blue Virginia. On Sunday, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will hold a “Souls to the Polls” event in Norfolk, The Hill reports.
Both parties are already weaponizing the appearances in their own messaging.
A Democratic Party of Virginia release obtained by Blue Virginia states, “Glenn Youngkin’s Running Mate and Amanda Chase to Rally Together With Steve Bannon and QAnon Conspiracy Theorists This Week.”
In a statement to The Hill, Republican Governors Association spokesperson Maddie Anderson said that Abrams’ Norfolk stop highlights trouble for McAuliffe. “His latest act of desperation is to call in Stacey Abrams, who has yet to concede her 2018 loss. This begs the question: if McAuliffe loses to Glenn Youngkin, will he concede or will he follow in the footsteps of his next surrogate?
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Glenn Youngkin” by Glenn Youngkin. Photo “Terry McAuliffe” by US Department of Labor. CC BY 2.0. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Ron Cogswell. CC BY 2.0.