Virginia governor's race: McAuliffe, Youngkin to debate

The second debate is set for Sept. 28

Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are set to square off in Virginia's first gubernatorial debate of the general election season, in a race that is being closely watched as a possible indicator of voter sentiment heading into the 2022 national midterm elections.

The two candidates are set to meet Thursday night at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, a tiny town in conservative southwest Virginia. It's the first of two gubernatorial debates to be held before the Nov. 2 election. The second debate is planned for Sept. 28 at a community college in liberal-leaning northern Virginia.

In this Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, file photo, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe addresses the Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon in McLean, Virginia. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

In this Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, file photo, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe addresses the Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon in McLean, Virginia. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File) (AP Photo/Cliff Owen,)

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Thursday's hourlong debate will be moderated by Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief of USA Today. Page will be joined by panelists Bob Holsworth, a well-known Virginia political analyst, and Candace Burns, an anchor for CBS 6 News in Richmond.

McAuliffe served as Virginia's governor from 2014 to 2018. Youngkin, the former co-chief executive of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, is a political newcomer. In Virginia, governors are not allowed to serve consecutive terms.

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The first debate will be held the day before early in-person voting begins at local voter registration offices. Due to COVID-19 precautions, a limited number of tickets will be given out to members of the law school and local communities. The event will be broadcast on several networks and will be live-streamed on the law school's YouTube channel.