GOP gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin stopped in Henrico on the first day of his Win with Glenn Bus Tour on Saturday evening. Attorney general candidate Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) touted the need for reform in Virginia’s parole board, while Youngkin focused on his goal to lower the cost of living with a list of top economic priorities. But education took the front seat in both candidates’ speeches.
Miyares said that the United States of America is at an inflection point.
“Folks, you cannot survive as a nation if you’re raising an entire generation to learn to hate their country. And that is exactly what Critical Race Theory is, and that’s why Glenn Youngkin is going to stop it, and if I have to take it to court to stop it, I will,” Miyares said, earning enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.
“It’s our moment for parents, for grandparents, for aunts, for uncles to change the future of our children’s lives. It’s our moment to come together,” Youngkin said.
“Friends, America needs us right now. I get more texts and phone calls and emails from parents all over this great nation saying, ‘Glenn, stand up for our children too. Stand up for our children too. Our children can’t wait.’ They can’t wait any longer because of what’s been happening in our schools, and we’ve all watched it happen,” he said.
“We’ve watched our schools stay closed. We’ve watched our curriculum become something we can’t recognize. We’ve watch materials in the classroom be completely unacceptable. We’ve watched decisions be made by government that made us think that our leaders didn’t want us involved in our children’s life, and then my opponent came out and confirmed the truth in his heart when he said there’s no place for parents in their kids’ education,” Youngkin said, triggering boos from the crowd.
According to organizers, about 2,000 people were present at the rally held in the Democratic-leaning Richmond suburb; many of them signed the side of the Youngkin bus. GOP Lieutenant governor candidate Winsome Sears was not present.
After the rally, 2019 GOP candidate for House District 72 GayDonna Vandergriff told The Virginia Star that there was a different atmosphere in Henrico than when she was running to represent the region.
“It’s definitely a different feeling than there was two years ago. Great candidates. The Republican platform. Those are three great state officers we’ve got,” she said. “I’ve knocked some doors this year too, and it’s something to be proud of when you knock the door and you say these are our candidates.”
She said, “What I hear from people, when I have knocked on doors, is just they don’t like the direction that the country is going, and that the Commonwealth is going. So that’s different than it was. And I think also that this education topic is really prevalent, and it’s on the forefront. I used to be a PTA president too. And it’s just really important to parents, especially in suburban areas like Henrico.”
Henrico resident Arne Owens said, “We have in Glenn Youngkin, in my opinion, a real leader. He’s got a good connection with people, he’s got the ability to communicate with people and inspire people, and he’s got a set of policy proposals that’s really going to help Virginia.”
“I like what he’s saying regarding education in our schools. I also really like what he’s saying that’s supportive of law enforcement,” Owens said.
“I think Youngkin is willing to build this state up instead of tearing it down like the Democrats have. And we know McAuliffe, he’s already torn it down before,” attendee Billy Clarke said after the rally. “I think after tonight, [Youngkin] spelled out what he was all about, and I like the idea of prayer and looking to our Lord Jesus Christ as number one, so that’s very important to me.”
The event was held the same day former President Barack Obama joined Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in downtown Richmond. While McAuliffe’s rallies have been headlined by a number of top Democrats and other celebrities, messaging-cautious Youngkin has had few Republican celebrities join him in Virginia. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is a notable exception.
CNalysis Director Chaz Nuttycombe said on Friday, “How he’s put it, that he wants to make it a purely Virginia race or whatever, well, I think that’s kind of silly. Maybe he’s just worried about bringing too many conservative figureheads and turning off suburban support. I think that’s what he means by it, if I had to guess.”
A Friday press release announcing the tour said, “The Win with Glenn Bus Tour will visit 42 localities in 38 counties, and kicks off on Saturday, October 23, 2021, in Richmond, to highlight the contrast between the grassroots enthusiasm for Glenn Youngkin’s candidacy and Terry McAuliffe’s desperate campaign that needs fellow career politicians Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Kamala Harris, and Barack Obama to draw mediocre crowds that attended to see the surrogates, not Terry.”
In the release, Youngkin said, “What started as a campaign turned into a movement, and that means more fired up crowds for the Win with Glenn Bus Tour across the Commonwealth while 40-year politician Terry McAuliffe relies on big name surrogates to draw paltry, apathetic crowds.”