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Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin starts campaign by blasting Democratic front-runner while focusing on unity

Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin just won his party’s convention and he’s already blasting Democratic front runner Terry McAuliffe. He’s also speaking out about how he plans to win in a state that has not elected a Republican in more than a decade.

Youngkin says he plans to win in November by campaigning really hard. He also plans to attack McAuliffe, should he win, as “a supporter of leftist policies that Virginians don’t support.”

“What Terry McAuliffe is absolutely standing for is left policies. Those policies in fact want to take away right to work, they want to teach our children what to think, they want to make it impossible to be a police officer,” Youngkin said.

The newly minted Republican gubernatorial nominee is in attack mode against the former governor and Democratic front-runner.

“Where Terry McAuliffe is going to take our commonwealth is so unacceptable and does not represent Virginia values, not just Republican values,” Youngkin said.

McAuliffe’s response? “I inherited the largest deficit from the Republicans. I left the biggest surplus four years later. That’s Terry McAuliffe’s track record. Glenn Youngkin doesn’t have one,” he said.

Youngkin said he’s the candidate to bring Republicans, Democrats, and independents together. He says he’ll focus on economic growth and job creation as well as education.

This marks an appeal to moderate voters across the state, but University of Virginia Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato says the former president hinders the nominee.

“Trump’s enthusiastic endorsement of Youngkin, which will last in Democratic ads all the way to election eve, has made it much more difficult for Youngkin,” Sabato said.

One factor that could help Youngkin: his wealth. He’s reportedly worth more than $200 million.

“He has told senior Republicans he’s willing to spend up to $75 million and that’s before the contributions from everybody else,” Sabato said.

Republicans have not won statewide since 2009 but they say with Democrats again in control in Washington, history could repeat itself. Sabato says Republicans are counting on President Biden to be as unpopular as President Obama was that year, but that’s not the case right now. Regardless, Youngkin is focused on unity.

“I see people coming together. We have great momentum. There’s something really special going on. People across Virginia can feel it. My nomination reflects it,” he said.

On that note, Youngkin will have to work to unify the Republican Party before broadening his coalition. While most of his former competitors have signaled their support, State Senator Amanda Chase called the convention rigged noting how few people were able to participate in the nominating process.

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