Sears refuses to answer the vaccine question

An afternoon update on Virginia politics.

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Winsome Sears refuses to say if she received the COVID-19 vaccine

Winsome Sears, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor refused to say on Thursday if she has received the vaccination for COVID-19 or not. She also attacked the media for asking her about her vaccination status in a statement on Twitter. 

“I encourage everyone to get the vaccine but no one should be forced to disclose their vaccination status, especially not to liberal hack reporters at CNN. The media is trying to carry the water for the failing McAuliffe-Ayala ticket and it won’t work.” Sears tweeted Thursday. 

She also refused to answer the question during an interview with CNN earlier in the day. She called it a “slippery slope” when asked about her status. 

Sears reiterated her refusal to answer again on Twitter. “I won’t disclose my vaccination status and I won’t be bullied by the media,” Sears said. “They want to distract you from Hala Ayala’s support for policies that raise your electricity rates, increase your taxes, and force you to join a union just to get or keep a job. We won’t be distracted.”

Her Democratic opponent Hala Ayala responded in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “Real leadership is about leading by example. Real leadership is not being evasive and hiding from Virginians at a time when they need to hear from you most. Make no mistake: This election is a life or death matter. It’s the deciding factor between whether we move forward and build back better from this pandemic, or if we backslide and the lives and rights of Virginians suffer as a result.”

Election day is less than four weeks away and COVID-19 vaccinations remain a key talking point for the Democratic candidates as polling has shown the majority of Americans support their stance on some degree of vaccine requirements. Glenn Youngkin, the Republican gubernatorial nominee has opposed vaccine requirements but straddles the line by strongly encouraging people to get it. He also revealed that he received the shot and recorded a PSA encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine for a paid advertisement.

“It has been clear for months now that if anti-vaccine advocate Glenn Youngkin and his ticket had their way, our schools would be closing, children would be sick and quarantined, and our economy would be in the ditch,” said a spokesperson for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor. 

“Terry McAuliffe is going full Handmaid's Tale. He’s a wannabe dictator who wants to interrogate women about what they do with their own bodies and fire them from their jobs if they don’t let him dictate their personal health care decisions,” said Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson for Youngkin. “Glenn Youngkin continues to encourage every Virginian to choose to join him in getting the COVID vaccine because it’s the best way to save lives.”

This is not the first time that Sears has stepped into the spotlight at the possible detriment of her running mates on the ticket. In September, Sears said during an interview with Newsmax that she would support the Texas-style heartbeat abortion ban if it were presented in the Virginia Senate, the chamber that she is trying to preside over as lieutenant governor. 

Her support of that abortion ban contradicted Youngkin’s stance of banning abortions around 20 weeks when fetuses are believed to begin feeling pain. 

Shortly after that Newsmax interview, Sears fired her entire staff in one night. Since that time, she has been relatively scarce on the campaign trail. She has made a few appearances with the ticket recently, but the CNN article was her first big interview in weeks. 

Polling for November’s elections is showing tight races up and down the ballot. In addition to vaccine positions, candidates on both sides are battling on grounds like public school curriculum, abortions, public safety, election integrity, and more. 


A gun violence prevention group launched a $500K ad campaign in eight Virginia House races

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund announced Thursday that they are launching a $500,000 ad campaign in eight House of Delegates races to protect “Virginia’s gun sense trifecta.”

Everytown for Gun Safety is a Gun Violence Prevention organization that includes the volunteer network Moms Demand Action. They have previously stated they plan to spend more than $1.8 million in total on Virginia elections this year. 

The ads will target: Roxann Robinson in HD-27, Steve Pleickhardt in HD-50, Tim Cox in HD-51, Kim Taylor in HD-63, Christopher Holmes in HD-72, Mary Margaret Kastelberg in HD-73, Tim Anderson in HD-83, and Karen Greenhalgh in HD-85. The group has endorsed the Democratic candidates in each of those races.

 “The people of Virginia sent a gun sense majority to the statehouse because they wanted long overdue laws to keep their families safe from gun violence — and that’s exactly what they got,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown. 

The Democrats took the majority in the General Assembly in 2019 which led to them passing several pieces of legislation aimed at curbing gun violence in the commonwealth. Universal background checks, red-flag laws, a requirement to report lost or stolen guns, and reinstating the law allowing only one handgun purchase a month are some of the laws Democrats passed into law.

“Everytown is going all out this year to make sure voters know which lawmakers are going to build on this progress, and which ones want to roll it all back, putting the lives of Virginians at risk,” Feinblatt said.  

According to the announcement, hundreds of thousands of pieces of direct mail will be sent to voters. On the digital side, static ads, along with 30 and 15-second videos will run on Youtube pre-roll, Facebook, Instagram, and as banners. They will focus on persuasion and mobilization targets across the districts, including women and low-propensity voters, according to the announcement.

“When Republicans put forward a proven solution for gun violence that didn’t involve gun control, Project Ceasefire, House Democrats voted to kill it for two years in a row,” said Garren Shipley, a spokesperson for the Republican House caucus. “How many lives could have been saved had Democrats just listened to the evidence?”

All 100 House seats are up for reelection this year along with the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. 

  • Potential VA-07 Republican congressional candidate Del. John McGuire R-Goochland says he has given a total $31,000 spread among 20 Virginia Republicans and the Republican Commonwealth Leadership PAC for the upcoming November election. VPAP shows $8,000 of those donations happening prior to the previous reporting deadline. The remainder of the donations that McGuire says he gave will be visible with the next finance reports. “The 2021 election will be a defining moment for Virginia and the nation moving forward,” McGuire said in a statement. “That’s why I’ve made it one of my top priorities to support our candidates across our Commonwealth by providing vital funds to help them with their get out the vote efforts.”

    • Virginia Scope confirmed with multiple candidates listed that they received the money.

RSLC PAC Releases New Digital Ad

The Republican State Leadership Committee PAC (RSLC PAC) is launching a new digital ad in Virginia.

“Virginia House Democrats have already declared war on Virginia parents by voting to keep schools closed and to protect racially divisive curriculum, all while test scores in the commonwealth plummet,” said RSLC Communications Director Andrew Romeo. “And in refusing to denounce Terry McAuliffe’s reckless position that the government knows better than parents about what is best for their kids, Richmond liberals have proven once again that they are too weak to stand up for the future of Virginia’s students.” 


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Did you miss our newsletter from this morning? Planned Parenthood calls out Youngkin, Biden is a drag, and a potential televised AG debate

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