Ahead of his Monday night tele-rally, former President Donald Trump praised Virginia's Republican gubernatorial nominee and said they "believe in many of the same policies."
In an emailed statement, Trump claimed the "the Fake News media" and "perverts" are "trying to create an impression that Glenn Youngkin and I are at odds and don't like each other."
"Importantly, this is not true, we get along very well together and strongly believe in many of the same policies," Trump said. "Especially when it comes to the important subject of education."
Trump held a tele-rally in support of Youngkin on Monday night.
Throughout his campaign for Virginia governor, Youngkin has had an allergic response to being compared to Trump. Since winning the Republican primary election in May, Youngkin has tried to thread the needle between conservative and moderate voters in the state in a bid to both avoid being tied to Trump and still appeal to his supporters.
Over the weekend, Youngkin said he won't be attending Trump's tele-rally for him.
"I'm not going to be engaged in the tele-town hall," Youngkin told reporters on Saturday. "The teams are talking, I'm sure."
But while Youngkin may find it personally distasteful to associate with Trump, the two men still share much of the same politics — especially when it comes to education. In the last month, Youngkin has centered his campaign on the issue of "critical race theory," a catchall term conservatives are using to describe public school curriculums that address the United States' history of enslavement, segregation, discrimination, and other forms of institutionalized racism.
Still, Youngkin needs to win over as many moderate voters as he can get if he wants to be Virginia's chief executive. Virginia has elected a Democratic governor in four of the last five gubernatorial elections and in 2019 flipped the Legislature from red to blue.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee, has been trying to tie his opponent to Trump throughout the race. McAuliffe said voters shouldn't buy Youngkin's attempt to come off as moderate when he supports Trump.
"Today Trump said that he and Glenn 'get along very well together and believe in many of the same policies,'" McAuliffe tweeted Monday morning. "We have rejected the racism, the hate, the division, and the lies of Donald Trump twice. And tomorrow, we will do it again."
President Joe Biden, who campaigned with McAuliffe last month, has called Youngkin "an acolyte of Donald Trump," and said Youngkin is trying to appear more moderate than he is by wearing "a smile and a fleece vest."
Tuesday's election result will come down to voter turnout. Democrats have historically suffered at the polls in midterm election years due to low turnout. After Trump was elected president in 2016, however, Democrats showed newfound motivation to get out and vote in the 2018 midterm elections, a 2020 Pew study found.
In presidential election years, Virginia has morphed from a swing state to a reliably blue state, having voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in the last four elections. President Joe Biden carried the state by 10 points in 2020. A recent Fox News poll showed that 44 percent of likely Virginia voters view Trump favorably, while 53 percent view him unfavorably.
The election will likely be extremely close. Polling in recent days has shifted toward Youngkin, with the FiveThirtyEight average now showing Youngkin with a 0.6 percent lead — the first time Youngkin has led polling in the contest for the entirety of the race.
Virginia will elect a new governor and lieutenant governor on Tuesday, November 2.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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