RICHMOND, Va. -- The slate is now set for November’s statewide elections when the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General positions will be up for grabs. Democrats and Republicans are already drawing distinct lines in the sand, trying to attract voters.
Following Tuesday night’s primary election, former Governor Terry McAuliffe, Delegate Hala Ayala and current Attorney General Mark Herring head the ticket for Virginia Democrats. Republicans nominated their candidates at a party convention in May: former investment company CEO Glenn Youngkin, former delegate Winsome Sears, and Delegate Jason Miyares.
The race for the Executive Mansion pits the former Governor verse Youngkin, who casts himself as a “political outsider.” Both candidates spoke with CBS 6 about where they see the campaigns heading in the months to come.
“My message and our ticket’s message is a broad message: we are going to lift everybody up. I”m not going to spend my time like Glenn Youngkin on socially divisive issues,” McAuliffe said. “I also have a huge, broad span of policy plans that I plan to do, and I’m running against someone who that has no plans. I mean Glenn Youngkin literally only has one plan and that’s on election integrity. Really? No healthcare plan, no jobs, no education? Nothing.”
“I can’t wait to help Virginians really understand the distinct difference between where I will lead Virginia, and where Terry McAuliffe in fact has lead Virginia, which is a state of chaos,” Youngkin said. “If Virginians want to go back and just do the exact same thing, with suboptimal results, from what his own party calls a ‘recycled’ set of policies and politician, that’s what Terry McAuliffe represents.”
Because he has not served in an elected capacity before, Democrats have been quick to point out Youngkin does not list any real policy positions on his public-facing website, and they argue he rarely talks details of his ideas. Youngkin disputes those claims, saying the reality does not fit Democrat’s narrative.
“I’ve absolutely talked about getting our economy open by carving back regulations, by absolutely lowering taxes for Virginia families, and making sure we train workers to do the jobs that need to be done,” he said. “We have to get our economy going, the job machine turned on. We’ve got to make our schools excellent again, and we have to invest in safe communities.”
During his primary victory speech and on the campaign trail, McAuliffe highlights the progress made by Virginia Democrats over the past two years, saying his work in the years prior set the table for it. Republicans paint his record much differently, as one of broken promises.
The former Governor provided some specific policy areas he would like to change if re-elected.
“We need collective bargaining. We need raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. I talk about paid sick days, 41% of Virginians in the private sector don’t have paid sick days. Paid family medical leave. So if I can get all of those done, which I will do, we’ve moved and helped workers here transform their lives,” McAuliffe said.
Both campaigns are flush with cash, so voters can expect their airwaves and social media feeds will be flooded with ads, many focusing on the culture wars of the moment. For example, controversy swirled in Loudon County recently when a teacher spoke at a school board meeting about his refusal to use the preferred pronoun for transgender students.
“They believe that you should in fact kowtow to their view only, and if not, we’re going to cancel you; we’re going to put you on administrative leave,” Youngkin said.
“I got CoStar, thousands of high paying jobs, brought them to Virginia. They’re not coming to state with a Governor who’s divisive socially, against women’s right to choose, and has a horrible record on LGBTQ,” McAuliffe said.
Virginia Republicans have not won a statewide election since 2009 and some feel this moment might represent their best shot in years. Democrats have said this election will determine whether or not the progress made over the past few years will remain or be rolled back.
The general election is on November 2.