All three candidates for Virginia governor make appearance at final debate

Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin (right) at the Virginia's second gubernatorial debate
Terry McAuliffe (left) and Glenn Youngkin (right) at the Virginia's second gubernatorial debate(WVIR)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 10:47 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin went head-to-head for the second and final debate before November’s gubernatorial election, a surprise showing from a third-party candidate derailed scheduled plans.

The debate between the two frontrunners started, as the previous one did, with a disagreement about vaccination mandates.

Both of the polar-opposite candidates have been vaccinated, but how to get the shots into the arms of the last ~40% of Virginians is another point of contention.

“I’m running against a candidate who actually has been spreading anti-vax rhetoric around the commonwealth of Virginia,” McAuliffe said.

Youngkin said: “I don’t think we should mandate it. And I think we find ourselves at a moment where my opponent has said -- he has looked at the television screen and he has said -- if you don’t get the vaccine, I’m going to make your life difficult.”

Youngkin was then asked a question by moderator Chuck Todd that was not asked at the first debate: “Do you believe getting vaccinated for measles, mumps, or rubella is a personal choice for Virginians?”

“The data associated with those vaccines is something we should absolutely understand -- the difference with this vaccine,” Youngkin responded.

Then came a break in the scheduled action, when Princess Blanding, a Liberation Party candidate who qualified to appear on the ballot, began shouting from the audience. The debate immediately dipped to a commercial break.

Blanding, who was not invited to take part in the debate, spoke to reporters outside the debate hall.

“They are trying to silence me so that no one knows that I am a candidate on the ballot,” she said, “and they feel like they have to choose between the lesser of two evils.”

Back on stage, there were more well-known disagreements over the environment, economy, and abortion -- plus, plenty of mentions of former President Donald Trump in this statewide race, now under a national microscope.

“He’s a total wannabe Donald Trump,” McAuliffe said. “You know, he plays this game... and then tries to come here to Northern Virginia and pretend, ‘Oh I’m some moderate.’ He’s not. He’s extreme.”

“You’re running against Glenn Youngkin. I know you wish you weren’t,” Youngkin responded a few minutes later. “So, let’s have Terry McAuliffe versus Glenn Youngkin and let’s let Virginia voters decide who they want their next governor to be.”

When asked later, Youngkin said he would support Trump if he’s the Republican nominee in 2024, but said he doesn’t know who will be running.

Meanwhile, McAuliffe pledged to serve his entire term as governor if elected, even though he floated a presidential bid in 2020.

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.

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