Ken Cuccinelli: Youngkin's strong showing against McAuliffe in Virginia gubernatorial race is no accident

Youngkin’s campaign has successfully kept the focus on things that matter to every Virginian: education, public safety and jobs

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I have won statewide in Virginia, and I have lost statewide in Virginia, and right now – less than one week out from Election Day – Virginia feels like victory for the GOP. There are good reasons why Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin is beating out the state’s former leader Terry McAuliffe for governor, and there’s reason to hope for a GOP sweep of all three statewide offices.

Youngkin’s campaign has successfully kept the focus on things that matter to every Virginian: education, public safety and jobs. And while the economy is always a top issue, the deep – and often shocking – divide between the candidates on education and public safety has driven enthusiasm among independents and Republicans in support of Youngkin.

VIRGINIA GOVERNOR'S RACE BETWEEN YOUNGKIN AND MCAULIFFE: WHAT TO KNOW

And for the first time, McAuliffe has a record of performance from his first term as governor. And it is not a record to boast about – rising murders and sexual assaults; stagnant economic leadership that lagged behind sister states; and badly declining educational performance under McAuliffe’s ‘unions-first’ leadership.

That’s a record McAuliffe has to run from not run on. 

The optimism Virginians have with Youngkin stands in contrast to McAuliffe’s poor record of performance as governor, when Virginia fell behind in job and wage growth. 

Instead, McAuliffe has desperately tried to make the race about Donald Trump and abortion, without making any headway with voters. Perhaps because it is obvious to all that Youngkin is his own man, and McAuliffe’s support for taxpayer funded abortion up to the moment of birth is so far outside of Virginia’s mainstream.

The most famous aspect of this race comes from the candidates’ last debate, where Terry forcefully declared that parents have no business telling school boards what to teach their kids.

Read that last sentence again… slowly.

Tristan Thorgersen puts pro-Youngkin signs up as people gather to protest different issues including the board’s handling of a sexual assault that happened in a school bathroom in May, vaccine mandates and critical race theory during a Loudoun County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, U.S., October 26, 2021. Picture taken October 26, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Tristan Thorgersen puts pro-Youngkin signs up as people gather to protest different issues including the board’s handling of a sexual assault that happened in a school bathroom in May, vaccine mandates and critical race theory during a Loudoun County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, U.S., October 26, 2021. Picture taken October 26, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis (REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Proving it was what he actually believed, McAuliffe doubled down on excluding parents from education. On the other hand, Youngkin boldly planted his flag on behalf of parents across Virginia, vehemently fighting for the right of every parent to control their children’s educational destiny instead of Terry’s Teachers’ Union special interest friends.

This stark difference between the candidates for governor was galvanized after Loudoun County, Virginia had already been at the center of the national debate over CRT, transgender policy, dumbing down the curriculum, and the role of parents in making those critical decisions. Virginians can see for themselves the real-life impact of McAuliffe’s "exclude parents" approach, versus Youngkin’s "include parents" approach. 

It’s not hypothetical anymore – it’s real – and a big part of why Youngkin is on track headed into the final week is that he is fighting for parents.

Youngkin is fighting alongside all those Momma Bears trying to protect their children, while McAuliffe is fighting with all those Momma Bears. Which side would you want to be on?

McAuliffe is busy prioritizing political agendas in the schools, while Youngkin has promised to raise the standards that McAuliffe lowered to help make Virginia’s children smarter and more competitive.

On public safety – a top tier issue after years of Democrat failure – McAuliffe promised in the primary to end the ‘qualified immunity’ that protects police from frivolous legal claims. But after watching mobs go unchallenged in Richmond in 2020, nearly the entire public safety community has come out for Youngkin.

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Youngkin has hammered away at the deadly results of McAuliffe’s previous stint as Governor, including his fecklessness while murder and rape skyrocketed; as well as the deadly consequences of McAuliffe’s parolees – many of whom have gone on to commit additional rapes and murders. Youngkin is winning with many in Virginia by credibly committing himself to make government’s first job – public safety – a priority in Virginia again.

Finally, Youngkin’s focus on getting Virginia workers more opportunities with bigger paychecks is critical to his success so far. Glenn’s hyper-successful business career has inspired confidence that this is a man who can deliver on the economy. 

The optimism Virginians have with Youngkin stands in contrast to McAuliffe’s poor record of performance as governor, when Virginia fell behind in job and wage growth. 

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Youngkin is winning with those who consider jobs and opportunity a top issue, and especially among those who remember how Virginia fell behind its sister states during McAuliffe’s first tour in Virginia’s governor’s Mansion.

The enthusiasm for Youngkin’s campaign is palpable – you can feel it in the air here in Virginia. Independents are breaking for Youngkin, and the more people know about the race and the candidates, the better Youngkin does. And of course, as we close in on Election Day, more people do learn more about the candidates, which means that next week is likely to be a cause for celebration by Republicans everywhere – but especially right here in the Old Dominion.

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