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Tag: glenn youngkin

Right-Wing Poll Shows Democrat Winning Virginia Governor’s Race

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A right-wing group's latest Virginia poll found that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe is leading Republican Glenn Youngkin. After the pollster tried to sway voters with a series of fearmongering attacks on McAuliffe, voters still backed the Democrat.

The American Principles Project, a dark-money group led by organizers of the failed anti-marriage equality movement, released a survey on Friday of 600 Virginia voters it deemed likely to participate in this November's election. It found former Gov. McAuliffe leading former investment firm executive Youngkin 46.4 percent -- 41.3 percent.

"Many political observers are already carefully watching Virginia as a bellwether for next year's midterms, and judging from this poll, Republicans should be cautiously excited," the group's president, Terry Schilling, claimed in a press release. "Despite Democrats' recent dominance in the state, Glenn Youngkin looks to be very competitive, thanks to widespread disapproval with the radical left-wing agenda being pushed by President Biden on down."

No Republican has won statewide in Virginia since 2009.

Schilling urged Youngkin and Republicans to put anti-LGBTQ attacks, criticism of the state's public schools, and fearmongering about anti-racism education "front and center" in the campaign.

But the poll's findings undermine much of his argument.

Among those surveyed, Virginians widely approve of President Joe Biden's job performance, 53.9 percent -- 45.2 percent. That number is almost identical to Biden's 54 percent -- 44 percent victory in the state last November.

It also found voters prefer Democratic candidates for the state House of Delegates by a margin of 45.4 percent -- 41.1 percent. Democrats hold a 55-seat majority in that 100-member body.

Though none of the people surveyed said they work for "the Virginia school system," 50.39 percent said they approve of the state's K-12 public schools, while just 35.5 percent disapprove.

When pressed about school reopening during the pandemic, just 44.4 percent said they want schools "fully open without mask mandates for students" for the 2022 school year. The majority (54.9 percent) said either that schools should reopen fully with mask mandates or that schools should keep the option of virtual learning. Youngkin has been pushing for a total return to in-person learning, regardless of COVID-19 safety considerations, since March, well before even most adults in the state were fully vaccinated.

The pollster asked several questions, trying to play up Youngkin's support for public funding for private and parochial schools and his support for a ban on teaching about "Critical Race Theory." But a minority of voters said either issue would make them more likely to support the Republican.

After hearing the group's attacks on McAuliffe, voters were again asked who they'd back. McAuliffe still was ahead 45.8 percent -- 42.9 percent.

In a radio interview on Friday, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam — who is unable to seek reelection under Virginia's one-term-in-a-row limit — called attacks on anti-racism education a "dog whistle" being used "to scare people in an election year."

"Critical race theory," he told WAMU, is "a graduate level academic subject that is not a part of our K through 12 curriculum in Virginia. I'll repeat that. It is not a part of our K through 12 curriculum. And what I'm interested in and what our administration is interested in is teaching an accurate version of our history."

This is not the first time the American Principles Project has tried to inject far-right social issues into political campaigns.

Last year, it spent millions of dollars on ads attacking Democrats over their support for LGBTQ equality.

"Biden and his fellow Democrats have pledged to use the power of the federal government to destroy women's sports and push young children into highly experimental and dangerous sex-change procedures," Schilling claimed in September. "In the coming weeks, we will be making sure voters in Michigan and nationwide know the extreme agenda Joe Biden and Democrats want to impose on the country."

The group devoted half of its $4 million investment in anti-transgender attacks to trying to defeat Biden and Democratic Sen. Gary Peters in Michigan. Both won anyway.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

VIDEO: Virginia Republican Nominee Admits Hiding His Extreme Views To Win

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Virginia's Republican nominee for governor reportedly told supporters at a fundraising event in June that he couldn't reveal his true position on abortion rights until after he's elected.

His reasoning: He needs the independent vote to ensure his victory in November.

Glenn Youngkin, the venture capitalist running as a Republican in Virginia's gubernatorial race against former Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, made the comments to Lauren Windsor, who runs The Undercurrent, a self-described "grassroots political web-show" funded by the liberal advocacy group American Family Voices.

The American Independent obtained the video footage from Windsor, who also shared it with MSNBC.

In the video, Windsor begins speaking with Youngkin about her feigned support for things like "getting a fetal heartbeat bill here like they did in Texas, or defunding Planned Parenthood."

A man who identifies himself only as "Pete" also appears in the video, though his full identity is not immediately clear.

Youngkin responds by telling Windsor that she's "on the right path," adding that he initially wants to work on abortion issues he says a "majority of Virginians" support, including to "stop using taxpayer money for abortions" and banning "abortions all the way up until the last week before birth." (Taxpayer money is not used to fund abortions.)

When Windsor pushes him more, Youngkin says that he's unable to speak much on the issue for fear of losing the independent voters he says he needs to win Virginia's gubernatorial contest in November.

"I'm gonna be really honest with you, the short answer is, in this campaign, I can't," Youngkin says after "Pete" asks him whether he plans to "take it to the abortionists."

"When I'm governor, and I have a majority in the House, we can start going on offense," he continues. "But as a campaign topic, sadly, that in fact won't win my independent votes that I have to get. So you'll never hear me support Planned Parenthood, what you'll hear me talk about is actually taking back the radical abortion policies that Virginians don't want."

In a separate video from The Undercurrent, shared with the American Independent, Youngkin again talks about his need to appeal to independent voters in order to win the gubernatorial race.

"We're going after those middle 1 million voters who are, sadly, gonna decide this — have decided elections for the last 10 to 12 years in Virginia, and they've moved a bit away from us," Youngkin tells a room of supporters. "We're going to get them. We just got back a whole bunch of data today, and we're winning this group. This is the group that we have to go get."

He continues, "What's most interesting in the dataset that comes back is the decisions, the issues, and the emotions of this group are nearly 100 percent aligned with Republicans. That's because the issues that are gonna decide this race are, first and foremost, the economy and jobs — 25 percent of these targeted folks say that that's their most important issue. Second issue: public safety. Third issue: schools. These are the issues that swing voters, these are the issues that Republicans are most focused on."

Both videos appear to have been taken at a June 17 fundraising event with the Loudoun County Republican Women's Club.

In a statement to the American Independent, a Youngkin spokesperson denied that the Virginia Republican was hiding his positions.

"This deceptively recorded audio demonstrates that Glenn Youngkin says the same thing no matter who he is talking to, and that Terry McAuliffe's allegations about him are false," the spokesperson said, referring to an original transcript of the video, in which Windsor appears to identify herself to Youngkin only as a "Michelle," which Windsor later said was her middle name.

Abortion rights advocate and former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, who is currently serving as co-chair of the left-leaning opposition research group American Bridge 21st Century, meanwhile, accused Youngkin of "tricking Virginians into thinking he's reasonable — when it's clear that he stands with Donald Trump and the extremists of the Republican Party." (The American Independent is funded in part by American Bridge.)

"This should terrify women who care about making their own health care decisions and doing what is best for their families," Richards said.

Republicans, for their part, have not won a gubernatorial contest in Virginia since 2009, and have lost every presidential contest in the state since 2008.

In 2020, President Joe Biden beat then-President Donald Trump in Virginia by 10 points, nearly doubling Hillary Clinton's 5.4-point win over Trump in 2016.

Youngkin has tried to pivot to a more moderate message in order to change his party's fortunes. However, his ties to Trump — who is unpopular in Virginia — may complicate things.

Shortly after Youngkin won the GOP nomination, Trump gave Youngkin a glowing endorsement, saying "Glenn is pro-Business, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Veterans, pro-America, he knows how to make Virginia's economy rip-roaring, and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Still, Youngkin cannot afford to lose Republican base voters in the state by moving too far to the middle.

The push and pull between appealing to both moderates and the GOP base is is the exact conundrum 2017 GOP nominee Ed Gillespie — once hailed for his more moderate Republican profile — had in the state.

Rather than court independent voters, Gillespie chose to go after the Trump-supporting base, running racist ads that voiced support for Trump's anti-immigrant platform. Gillespie went on to lose to now-Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam by 9 points.

Republicans are heavily targeting Virginia's gubernatorial election, hoping a win here could start a narrative that Republicans are on track to win majorities in the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.

"This is going to be a test about whether or not a candidate can appeal to a Trump base in a nominating battle then pivot and win suburban voters. [Republicans] nominated someone who looks like he might have the capacity to do that," Virginia-based political analyst Bob Holsworth told the Los Angeles Times in May.

Youngkin is set to face off with McAuliffe, who is seeking a second, non-consecutive term, in November. In Virginia, governors can only serve four years in a row, and cannot run for another consecutive four years.

A poll from mid-June found McAuliffe with a 4-point lead over Youngkin.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race a Lean Democratic contest.

Massive Democratic Turnout In Virginia Primary Bodes Ill For GOP

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

In Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe won the nomination for his old job with at least 301,811 votes. A month ago, Republican Glenn Youngkin won his party's nomination with just 10,318.

McAuliffe got about 62 percent of the more than 485,000 votes cast in the primary. The turnout was not far below the record 2017 Democratic total of 542,858 votes fueled by an anti-Donald Trump wave in the state.

"With some more votes to count, VA Dem turnout last night is edging closer to 500k, which would only be down about 10 percent from the extraordinary turnout we saw in 2017 (and way up from 2005, 2009, 2013, etc.)," observed Lowell Feld, a Democratic strategist and founder of the Blue Virginia blog, on the blog's Twitter account. "That bodes VERY well for Dems this November!"

"You can put those 'questions about Dem enthusiasm' takes to bed," agreedAaron Fritschner, communications director for Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA).

The high Democratic turnout for McAuliffe and the Democrats is a stark contrast to last month's Republican nomination process. Rather than hold a primary, the state GOP opted to hold 40 unassembled caucuses across the state on May 8. Though more than 50,000 self-identified GOP voters registered to participate in that process, just 30,524 actually bothered to show up.

"The Republicans used a closed process relying on party insiders to choose their nominee at an in-person convention rather than having voting in a primary, and almost half of the people who registered as delegates for the convention didn't, uh, go," said Fritschner.

Youngkin, a wealthy businessman, was nominated with just 10,318 first-choice votes in the complicated voting process.

Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, tweeted Tuesday night that Democratic results were not what the Republicans had hoped for.

"GOP wanted (1) @TerryMcAuliffe embarrassed with under 50%. In fact he's topping 60%. (2) A low-turnout primary. No exact % yet but turnout is clearly NOT low," he observed.

Youngkin will face an uphill battle against McAuliffe in the Democratic-trending state. Donald Trump lost Virginia to Joe Biden by more than 10 points last November.

After Trump endorsed him last month, Youngkin said he was "honored" to have his backing.

Sabato has predicted that Trump's endorsement will be the kiss of death in the November general election.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Two Days After Primary, Virginia GOP Has No Idea Who It Nominated For Governor

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Two days after Virginia Republicans held their primary for the state's high-stakes governor's race this November, it's unclear which candidate will emerge as the nominee, as ballot counting only began on Monday morning.

The lack of results in Saturday's voting runs counter to Donald Trump's and his GOP allies' demand after the 2020 election that all counting must be done and a winner declared on Election Day or else the results are fraudulent.

"I think it's a terrible thing when people or states are allowed to tabulate ballots for a long period of time after the election is over," Trump said on Nov. 2, 2020, in response to a question about whether he'd declare victory on election night even without a representative count of ballots.

"Because it can only lead to one thing and that's very bad. You know what that thing is. I think it's a very dangerous, terrible thing. And I think it's terrible when we can't know the results of the election the night of the election in a modern-day age of computers," Trump said.

There are a few reasons why counting is going glacially slow in the GOP primary for the critical gubernatorial election in the state.

First, Republicans held what's called a "firehouse primary," a more exclusionary nominating process in which a state party runs the election instead of state election officials.

Unlike in a regular primary, in which voters cast ballots for candidates and the one with the most votes wins, in the Virginia firehouse primary, results are tabulated using a formula by which votes from different areas of the state are weighted based on past Republican performance.

The election, which featured seven candidates, is also being determined by ranked choice, through which voters rate their favorite candidates in order. According to the Republican Party of Virginia:

Voters rank the candidates according to their preferences. When ballots are counted, if no single candidate earns more than 50 percent of the total vote statewide (after giving weight to each delegation's relative voting strength), the candidate with the fewest first choice preferences is eliminated. For the next round, the ballots favoring the eliminated candidate are then redistributed to the next highest ranked candidate on each ballot. This process is repeated until a candidate in each contest earns a simple majority of the votes.

Counting was also delayed after taped seals were discovered to be broken on the doors to a hotel ballroom where ballots were being stored, leading to fears of tampering. The Washington Post reported that it appeared a housekeeper had brought in coffee and other refreshments and that nothing was amiss.

The state party is counting every ballot by hand rather than using voting machines after candidates in the race raised baseless fears that using voting machines would lead to a rigged election.

The demand that votes be counted by hand rather than with machines came after Trump and his Republican supporters falsely accused voting machine companies of rigging machines against him in 2020. The allegation is false, and two of the voting machine companies smeared by the lies — Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic USA — have filed multiple billion-dollar lawsuitsagainst Trump aides who spread the conspiracy theory.

Republicans are counting the roughly 30,000 ballots cast in the election by hand, multiple times over.

The slow counting is not the only problem the GOP primary has run into.

First, some high-profile Republicans claimed they were disenfranchised by the process.

Right-wing radio show host Hugh Hewitt said he was not allowed to vote in the race even though he registered to do so.

"Bummer. Not on any list for the GOP Convention for which I registered to be a delegate months ago so I didn't get to vote. Same for FMH. And no provisional ballots! VA GOP does it again," Hewitt tweeted on Saturday, the day of the primary.

The voting was done at 39 drive-thru voting sites throughout the state, the same voting method Republicans in Texas are seeking to end.

And in the end just 30,000 Republicans cast ballots, about eight percent of the 366,000 Republicans who voted in the 2017 gubernatorial primary in the state. The 30,000 turnout was even less than the 53,000 who had preregistered for the primary, according to the Associated Press.

It's still unclear who among the four front-runners — state Sen. Amanda Chase, state Del. Kirk Cox, and businessmen Glenn Youngkin and Pete Snyder — will emerge as the nominee.

However, Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato, who serves as director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told the New York Times that the leading contenders are all similar to Trump, fitting into the categories of "Trumpy, Trumpier, Trumpiest."

Chase was one of the loudest voices pushing Trump in December 2020 to invoke martial law to block a peaceful transition of power to President Joe Biden.

Democrats, for their part, will hold a primary to choose their nominee on June 8.

Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race likely Democratic.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.