"Weird and wrong" Youngkin says.

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“Weird and wrong” Youngkin says of using Jan. 6 flag at Bannon rally

During a rally in Henrico on Wednesday, Republicans pledged allegiance to an American flag that they were told was carried during the rally with Donald Trump outside of the Capitol building on Jan. 6. The Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin called it “weird and wrong.” 

The rally was hosted by Steve Bannon, a former top advisor to Trump while he was in the White House. Trump also phoned into the rally briefly. 

Video from the beginning of the event shows the attendees standing around preparing to do the pledge of allegiance. “She is carrying an American flag that was carried at the peaceful rally with Donald J. Trump on Jan. 6,” said Martha Boneta, an emcee of the Bannon event as the flag was being carried onto the stage.  

The backlash has been strong. Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07) was in the House chambers when insurrectionists reached the doors. “At a Youngkin rally in my district, they celebrated that this flag was carried during the insurrection,” Spanberger tweeted Thursday. “On 1/6, our democracy was attacked & police officers were beaten with flag poles. Insurrectionists defiled our flag that day. Is that something to celebrate Glenn Youngkin?”

Youngkin released a statement about the rally Thursday afternoon. “While I had no role in last night’s event, I have heard about it from many people in the media today. It is weird and wrong to pledge allegiance to a flag connected to January 6,” Youngkin said. “As I have said many times before, the violence that occurred on January 6 was sickening and wrong.”

During a press call Thursday morning, McAuliffe referred to the Bannon rally as one of the darkest moments of the Youngkin campaign. He then commented again on Twitter later in the day after Youngkin called the rally weird. “‘Weird’?? Glenn – people died during the January 6th riot Donald Trump and others celebrated in your honor last night,” McAuliffe tweeted.“If you can’t condemn last night’s rally and Trump’s deadly conspiracies, you don’t have the courage or character to serve as governor.” 

Boneta has since tried to clean up her comments and blame McAuliffe by contradicting the words she originally said on the stage at the event. “The American Flag at last night’s rally was in a bus tour and was never at a rally or never near the Capitol on Jan. 6,” she tweeted. “Anyone saying anything differently is LYING.” Video of Boneta from Wednesday shows her saying the flag was carried at the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

Youngkin tried to deflect back onto McAuliffe by addressing his endorsement from NARAL-Virginia, a group that has expressed a desire to defund police in Virginia. “Today, a radical group called NARAL that wants to defund our police is supporting Terry McAuliffe’s campaign,” Youngin said. “At least one Democrat in Virginia has already rejected NARAL’s endorsement. McAuliffe needs to come out today and say NARAL is wrong.” 

Youngkin also accused McAuliffe of focusing on the past with Trump, while he is looking to the future. “My campaign isn’t about the past, it is about the future and bringing everyone – Republicans, Independents, and Democrats – together around my vision for a Virginia that is safer, stronger, and less divisive, with the best schools and the best law enforcement and the best economy,” Youngkin said. 

A spokesperson for McAuliffe responded by accusing Youngkin of running this race to please Trump. “Since launching his campaign, Glenn Youngkin has made clear he is running for governor for one person and one person only: Donald J. Trump,” said McAuliffe spokesperson, Christina Freundlich. “Now, with less than three weeks to Election Day, he is closing his campaign the same way he started it — by celebrating Donald Trump’s most dangerous, divisive conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. The only thing ‘weird and wrong’ is Glenn Youngkin’s continued refusal to disavow Donald Trump’s deadly conspiracy theories.” 

Trump lost Virginia to Joe Biden by ten points last year. The polls are showing a tight race in this gubernatorial race just one year later, however. Youngkin has had to walk the tight rope of not turning off the Trump fans while also appealing to moderates and Independents that left the Republican Party during the last four years. McAuliffe has worked hard to keep Trump relevant in Virginia voters’ minds.

 “Virginia voters won’t be able to avoid hearing about yesterday’s rally, as it will be the focus of [Democratic] ads for the next week,” said Dr. Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington. “Today is a bad day for the [Youngkin] campaign, thanks to last night’s Republican rally.”

Election day is Nov. 2.


Campaign Geography

  • First Lady Dr. Jill Biden is campaigning with Terry McAuliffe tonight in Henrico County.

Gubernatorial links

RSLC to invest an additional $100K in lieutenant governor race

The Republican State Leadership Committee PAC (RSLC PAC) says they are investing an additional $100,000 in the Republican lieutenant governor nominee, Winsome Sears. This will bring the committee’s total spending in the lieutenant governor’s race to more than $250,000, they say.

“With gas prices at a seven-year high and the murder rate skyrocketing in the commonwealth, Virginia families cannot afford to take a chance on Hala Ayala and her record of backing down to preserve her political career at the expense of the people she is supposed to serve,” said RSLC President Dee Duncan. “Winsome Sears is the strong leader Richmond needs right now and the RSLC PAC is proud to support her mission to make Virginia safe and prosperous once again as lieutenant governor.”

The lieutenant governor in Virginia presides over the state Senate and casts tie-breaking votes when necessary. The chamber is currently divided with Democrats holding a 21-19 majority until at least 2023 when the chamber’s 40 seats are up for reelection again.

RSLC also released an ad promoting Sears on Thursday.

NARRATOR: These days, we need a strong leader who runs into the fight. That was Winsome Sears when she joined the Marines and built a business. Politician Hala Ayala? She’s made a career out of backing down. Her caucus pushed to defund the police, she broke her promise and took $100 grand, and refused to speak out when Biden left Americans behind. Give Richmond a backbone.Vote Winsome Sears


VoteVets endorsed McAuliffe


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McAuliffe launched a new ad highlighting Trump’s comments at the Bannon rally

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has launched a new ad the day after a rally hosted by Steven Bannon was briefly attended virtually by Donald Trump. The new ad uses a comment from Trump’s phone call praising Glenn Youngkin, the Republican gubernatorial nominee.

Donald Trump: Glenn Youngkin is a great gentleman.
Donald Trump: I hope Glenn gets in there and he’ll do all of the things that we want a governor to do.

The ad then shows footage from months ago when Youngkin said he was honored to be endorsed by Trump.


Planned Parenthood and elected officials held a press conference Thursday discussing November elections

Delegate Rodney Willett (HD-73), Delegate Jay Jones (HD-89), Debra Gardner, Candidate for Delegate (HD-27), Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, and Darcy Jones, a certified nurse-midwife, spoke at the Capitol Square Bell Tower in Richmond Thursday.

The speakers urged Virginians to elect pro-reproductive health candidates Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala, Mark Herring and PPAV-endorsed delegate candidates

Jamie Lockhart, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia: “This is a crisis moment nationally: the threat to the constitutional right to an abortion has never been greater. This is the culmination of anti-abortion politicians and activists,’ like the ones running for office in Virginia this year, decades-long plan to outlaw abortion...Virginia can’t afford to go back to a time when patients seeking abortion care were shamed and had to go through an obstacle course of medically unnecessary restrictions. Glenn Youngkin has made clear that he would take steps to end access to abortion in the commonwealth.” 

Delegate Jay Jones (HD-89): “My grandmother always told me, ‘Jay, be quiet, and listen.’ And I’ve tried to carry that with me during my time in the General Assembly, and I’ve really listened thoughtfully to my female colleagues on either side of the aisle, to talk about their stories. To talk about their struggles. To talk about the importance of women’s reproductive health care. That’s why I have stood with them time and time again, to make sure that we don’t go backwards, to make sure that we continue to advocate for those important provisions.” 

Debra Gardner, Candidate for Delegate (HD-27): “As a woman who came of age in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, I have seen the challenges that women face, having access and being able to make decisions regarding their reproductive health care, before Roe v. Wade. I joined that fight then, and I would never have imagined that fifty years later, we would still be fighting that fight all over again.


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