Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin slammed his Democratic rival Terry McAuliffe, saying the commonwealth “cannot afford the recycled, tired, old policies” of the former governor of Virginia, and there is a “stark contrast on the ballot.”
During an interview with Fox News Thursday, Youngkin, who secured the GOP nomination last month, said his campaign has “enormous momentum.”
“We are running hard,” Youngkin said. “Interestingly, McAuliffe and his liberal friends have been coming at me since the moment I won the nomination, because they don’t want to run against me.”
McAuliffe won the state’s Democratic primary on Tuesday night, besting four other candidates ahead of the general election in November.
McAuliffe, 64, topped a field that included state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, either of whom would have become Virginia’s first female governor and the country’s first Black female governor had they won the primary and the general election.
He also defeated Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who faced and denied allegations of sexual assault during his primary campaign, as well as Del. Lee Carter, a self-described socialist.
A former businessman and investor, McAuliffe served as governor from 2014 to 2018. He served as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008 and as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005.
But Youngkin slammed McAuliffe, saying he is “on the wrong side of every issue,” while adding that the state of Virginia is in “chaos” due to policies that began under his Democratic rival’s administration.
“This is going to be an absolute stark contrast between left, liberal policies and a candidate who knows how to get things done, like me,” Youngkin said, adding that he is “absolutely going to move this commonwealth forward and bring common sense back into government, while standing up for all Virginians instead of driving division, which is all Terry McAuliffe knows how to do.”
Speaking on a range of issues like schools, law enforcement and the economy, Youngkin said he has “so much confidence” he is going to win in Virginia.
Youngkin, specifically discussed critical race theory being taught in classrooms across the state.
“This is a comprehensive problem across Virginia, and McAuliffe’s silence on this topic is deafening,” Youngkin said. “Critical race theory, which tries to teach our kids to feel inferior to one another, is exactly the opposite of what we need to do to bring them together to achieve their wildest dreams.”
He added: “This is the distinct different between left policies that McAuliffe stands for versus what I fundamentally know is the undermining of opportunity.”
Youngkin said schools in Virginia should not teach critical race theory, but instead teach “fact-based civil curriculums that teach the good and the bad.”
Youngkin went on to discuss qualified immunity, saying it is something he will protect “every day, every hour” if elected governor.
“Qualified immunity does not absolve law enforcement from extreme had behavior, it protects them from frivolous civil lawsuits,” Youngkin said, warning that if the state loses qualified immunity “we are going to see mass retirements across law enforcement.
“Our already depleted law enforcement capability is going to become so insufficient that the crime spree we’re seeing is only going to devolve into more chaos,” Youngkin said, adding that “this is what McAuliffe wants to pursue.”
“This is a Virginia that these great citizens of Virginia know they do not want,” he said. “This is not a Republican issue. This is a Virginia issue.”
The Virginia gubernatorial race is seen as a potential bellwether of the nation’s political mood ahead of what is expected to be a hotly contested 2022 midterm election cycle. The outcome of the midterms will determine control of both chambers of Congress.
“There is a stark contrast on the ballot this fall,” Youngkin said. “There are Virginians clearly saying – Republicans, Independents and Democrats – that we will not go back to the tired old policies McAuliffe represents.”
He added: “They want to move forward with a state that will be the best for Virginians to live and raise their families.”