Ailan Evans, DCNF
Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin called out a Democrat-linked ad campaign targeting Republican voters that portrayed him as insufficiently pro-gun.
An investigation by the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday revealed two Democrat-linked consultant firms, Gambit Strategies and MBA Consulting Group, were behind a digital ad campaign portraying Youngkin, a Republican, as untrustworthy on gun rights, criticizing the candidate for failing to earn an endorsement from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Additional reporting by Axios revealed the ads were directed towards Republican-heavy zip codes in an apparent effort to suppress turnout ahead of Youngkin’s clash with Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe at the polls on Nov. 2.
“The McAuliffe-Michael Bloomberg political machine can try to manipulate and deceive voters, but Virginians aren’t falling for McAuliffe’s lies,” Youngkin campaign spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The ads took aim at Youngkin for his lack of an NRA endorsement, with one ad reading, “While the NRA backs Donald Trump, they REFUSED to endorse Glenn Youngkin.” Another describes Youngkin’s stance on the Second Amendment as a reason why he is “just another politician we can’t trust.”
The campaign was funded by Accountability Virginia PAC, a political action committee registered to MBA Consulting Group, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that helps elected Democratic candidates such as Sens. Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock, and Gary Peters. The campaign itself was run by Gambit Strategies, a digital ad firm started by two former strategists with a history of working for Democratic candidates.
The ads appeared to be an “attempt to undermine Youngkin’s support in western rural areas, where gun ownership is sacred,” Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told Axios.
Youngkin did not receive an NRA endorsement and did not complete the organization’s questionnaire that assesses a candidate’s position on Second Amendment issues. His campaign told the DCNF that Youngkin did not finish the questionnaire as he was not a politician and did not want to spend his time filling out surveys.
The NRA’s policy is to withhold endorsements from candidates that do not complete the organization’s questionnaire. An NRA spokesperson declined to comment on matters related to Youngkin.
“Constitutional conservatives and people who care about protecting our Second Amendment rights are voting for Glenn Youngkin today because they know he supports the right to keep and bear arms,” Porter said. “Letting a Nancy Pelosi-backed left-wing radical like Terry McAuliffe become governor again would be a serious mistake because he wants to repeal the Second Amendment and confiscate your guns.”
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