Youngkin, McAuliffe in debate over debates for Virginia gubernatorial race

Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin (right)
Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin (right)(Associated Press)
Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 9:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The race for governor is heating up in Virginia even though Election Day is still over four months away. That’s because the debate over debates is getting contentious between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin.

Both candidates discussed the possibility of debates and their messages on the campaign trail.

It hasn’t even been three weeks since voters across the commonwealth cast a ballot in the Democratic primary. But even before his victory in that race, McAuliffe had his sights set on his next opponent: Youngkin.

“People are gonna be energized, they know the stakes in this election are critical,” McAuliffe said in an interview on Friday. “And as I say we’re running against a private equity billionaire who is handpicked by Donald Trump”

Youngkin was selected via a convention.

McAuliffe won every city and county in the primary, but Charlottesville gave about one-third of its votes to Jennifer Carroll Foy, and one-fifth to Jennifer McClellan. Still, McAuliffe says the party is united.

“I think people realize how important this election is I mean the great progress we have made,” he said.

A recent poll from JMC Analytics and Polling shows Youngkin within the margin of error. He’s down just 46% to 42%, but the margin of error is 4.2%.

“I mean the only person excited about Terry McAuliffe is Terry McAuliffe,” Youngkin said in an interview on Wednesday.

Youngkin says the two will have “a number of debates,” although he has only agreed to one of the five McAuliffe has proposed.

“I think it’s actually quite humorous, that we have a failed incumbent who has in fact chasing me for debates,” Youngkin said.

We shared that with McAuliffe, who responded: “How sad this poor man is, I don’t know what to tell you. I think it’s important that the governor answer questions.”

While McAuliffe says democrats are ready to keep the governor’s mansion, Youngkin says the commonwealth wants something else.

“Terry wants to use recycled policies that didn’t work last time he was governor, so I so look forward to debating Terry and actually having him defend his record which is indefensible,” Youngkin said.

As far as policies discussed, Youngkin discussed policing. He says, “I’ll absolutely invest in our law enforcement, increase salaries invest in technology and capabilities invest in training, and we’re going to build the best law enforcement capability in the country, we’re going to protect qualified immunity.” He also says schools will not be teaching “critical race theory.”

McAuliffe says he wants to expand Medicaid and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. He also defended his term as Virginia’s governor, saying he was “a brick wall to protect women’s rights, gay rights and everything else,” and that he “restored more felon rights than any governor.”

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