Youngkin calls Biden legitimate President; endorsements in VA-07; new ad from McAuliffe; and more

The latest in Virginia politics

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Youngkin again says Biden was legitimately elected after recent deflection on Trump’s reinstatement

Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, is pushing back after recent comments were released of him deflecting on a question about whether or not the courts can reinstate Donald Trump as president. “I don’t know the particulars about how that can happen, because what’s happening in the court system is moving slowly and it’s unclear. And we all know the courts move slowly,” Youngkin said when asked if he believed that Trump’s reinstatement would help Virginia Republicans. 

Youngkin, the self-proclaimed political outsider that is looking to win the executive mansion for his party in November, says his opponent and the media are twisting his words. “Terry McAuliffe and his allies in the liberal media sure do love to twist my words beyond recognition. I’ve said that Joe Biden is legitimately our president, so there is no question here,” Youngkin said in a statement Tuesday morning.  

Youngkin has stated multiple times that Biden won the election and now he is saying that he wants to focus on the future instead of the past. “As I tried to say politely the other day, there is no legal proceeding that will change the fact that Joe Biden and his liberal allies are dragging our economy down with their bad policies until 2025, and instead of litigating the past we must be focused on winning in November to stop those policies here in Virginia.”

In an interview with Fox Business in May, just a few days after earning the nomination, Youngkin spoke to Biden’s victory. “I mean, the reality is, and I have said this before, Joe Biden was legitimately elected our president,” Youngkin said during the interview. “He took the oath and was sworn in. He’s sleeping in the White House. He’s, unfortunately, signing executive order after executive order.”

Even though there has yet to be any tangible proof, a faction of the Republican Party still believes that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. A protest movement called “Audit Virginia” is happening in Richmond this week to try and convince lawmakers to order a forensic audit of Virginia’s 2020 election results. 

Trump lost Virginia by 10 points and Republicans have not won a statewide election since 2009. This leaves Youngkin in the difficult position of walking the tightrope to not alienate any Republican voters while still convincing necessary Independent voters to choose him over his Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe.

This was apparent in Youngkin’s statement Monday about the vaccine — another sensitive subject that the far-right portion of the Republican Party opposes — even as the majority of Virginia, 70% of adults to be specific, have already received at least one dose.

“Data shows the COVID vaccine saves lives. That’s why I chose to get the vaccine,” Youngkin tweeted.

But in an attempt to walk that tightrope he also dropped a line for his base — who in part have been pushing back against any talks of making vaccines mandatory at any time. “Virginians have the right to decide for themselves, but if you are in a high-risk category, I especially encourage you to get vaccinated.”

Democrats on the other hand are working hard to try and show Virginia voters that they believe Youngkin is no moderate. “If Glenn Youngkin wants to stop litigating the past, then why is he going to an Election Integrity Rally on Saturday?” tweeted a McAuliffe spokesperson, Christina Freundlich Tuesday morning.

"Glenn Youngkin will restore Virginia’s photo ID law and make sure it is easy for every eligible person to vote and harder to cheat," said Matt Wolking, a spokesperson for Youngkin. "Terry McAuliffe opposes requiring a photo ID to vote, which undermines the integrity of our elections and makes it easier to cheat.”

Manuel Bonder, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Virginia also responded to Youngkin’s statement about Biden on Tuesday. “Glenn Youngkin is on tape suggesting the courts could reinstate Donald Trump as president. His words speak for themselves.”

In-person early voting begins Sept. 17 for the general election that takes place on Nov. 2.


Henrico’s Dunnavant endorses Taylor Keeney in VA-07 nomination race

Taylor Keeney continues to announce influential endorsements as she seeks the Republican nomination to run against Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Henrico) next year in Virginia’s seventh congressional district.

After receiving the support of a former governor last week, Keeney was endorsed Monday by Henrico’s state Senator Siobhan Dunnavant. Dunnavant is an influential member of the Republican party in Virginia, more specifically in Henrico, a key locality for the seventh district.

“Taylor Keeney is a proven conservative problem solver. When she sees a need, she dives right in, bringing people together to help those in need, Dunnavant said in her endorsement announcement Monday.

Keeney has already received the endorsement of her former boss, Governor Bob McDonnell. “Taylor has a servant’s heart and a unique understanding of the issues most important to people in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District,” McDonnell said in the announcement.

Republicans have made Spanberger’s seat a priority for the 2022 midterm elections. Spanberger won the seat in 2018 when she defeated former Congressman Dave Brat. Prior to Spanbergber’s victory, the seat was held but a Republican for more than 60 years.

The growing list of Republicans in the race already includes Tina Ramirez, who recently announced her candidacy; plus John Castorani and Guatam Barve who have both filed paperwork as well. Last year, Ramirez came in third for the VA-07 nomination that Del. Nick Freitas eventually earned, Castorani was a Republican candidate in Alabama’s first congressional district, and Barve appears to have been a city council candidate in Santa Clara, California.

Other potential candidates for the Republican nomination include state Del. John Mcguire (Goochland), state Senator Amanda Chase (Chesterfield), and state Senator Bryce Reeves (Spotsylvania).


McAuliffe releases new digital ad


Smyth County Sheriff Endorses Jason Miyares for attorney general

“Today, Attorney General Mark Herring announced a handful of law enforcement endorsements and he erroneously listed my name. I have not endorsed Mark Herring for Attorney General,” said Sheriff B.C. “Chip” Shuler, from Smyth County. “He should know because I left the Democrat Party in the same way they left law enforcement. I am now a proud member of the Republican Party because I see that they are the party that stands with and supports law enforcement. Let me be clear - in the race for Attorney General, not only will I be endorsing Republican Challenger Jason Miyares, but I will be casting my ballot for him in November." 


Virginia's Youngkin can't shake election conspiracy theories - MSNBC

By Steve Benen

It didn't take Glenn Youngkin long to realize what his party's voters wanted to hear. As a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, running in a relatively crowded primary, the former private equity executive -- who's never before sought or held elected office -- discovered that rank-and-file GOP voters were focused heavily on The Big Lie.

And so, as we've discussed, Youngkin stuck to the partisan script. For example, when he was asked about the far-right's bizarre conspiracy theories surrounding Dominion voting machines, the candidate described the ridiculous ideas as "the most important issue" of the campaign. Asked about the legitimacy of President Joe Biden's victory, Youngkin wouldn't give a straight answer.

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Virginia Democratic governor hopeful Terry McAuliffe took $100k campaign donation from billionaire hedge fund manager who backed Harvey Weinstein when sex allegations first emerged - Daily Mail


Former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe received a $100,000 campaign donation from a hedge fund billionaire who faced public condemnation when he consoled Harvey Weinstein as the movie producer was engulfed by allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual contact.

Paul Tudor Jones, 66, a former board member at Weinstein's production company, was forced to publicly distance himself from the disgraced Hollywood mogul after it emerged he wrote to tell the producer the accusations would soon be forgotten.

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When Herring was in midst of primary, Dominion Energy gave $200K to association helping his campaign - Richmond Times-Dispatch

by Patrick Wilson

Dominion Energy pumped $200,000 into the national association helping Attorney General Mark Herring’s re-election campaign while Herring was in the thick of a heated Democratic primary against Del. Jay Jones, his anti-Dominion challenger.

Dominion donated $125,000 to the Democratic Attorney Generals Association on May 19 and an additional $75,000 on June 1, according to a filing the association made over the weekend with the IRS.

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McAuliffe talks rural broadband expansion during Fluvanna campaign stop - Daily Progress

by Tyler Hammell

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe affirmed his support of Virginia electrical cooperatives and expanding rural broadband access during a Monday campaign stop in Fluvanna County.

McAuliffe, who received the Democratic nomination in June and was governor from 2014-2018, spoke with about a half-dozen co-op CEOs, and donned lineman gear to climb a training pole.

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'Enjoy your soulless life:' House candidate reacts to question about 'murderers' comment - Progress Index

by Bill Atkinson

The Democratic candidate for the 66th House of Delegates' seat fired back at someone who asked her a question Saturday about her comment that some police officers are "murderers" by telling that person they had a "soulless life."

The 30-second video of Katie Sponsler's comment was tweeted out Monday by the Virginia House GOP. It drew a swift response from state Republican chairman Rich Anderson that there also are murderers among what he called "Left extremists" who clashed with police during last year's protests over the police officer-involved deaths of George Floyd and others.

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