Politico railed at Democratic Virginia gubernatorial contender Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday for fabricating a joint campaign rally featuring his GOP opponent Glenn Youngkin and former President Donald Trump.
The former Democratic Virginia governor who was the focus of Politico Playbook coverage on Monday falsely claimed during one of his own campaign events that his Republican opponent was also holding an event with Trump as polls show the race statistically tied and even leaning towards Youngkin.
“Terry McAuliffe wanted Glenn Youngkin and Donald Trump to campaign together so badly that when it didn’t happen, McAuliffe simply invented a Youngkin-Trump event that didn’t exist,” Politico Playbook wrote. “That was a lie. Trump wasn’t in Virginia and he never campaigned with Youngkin.”
The outlet went on to note further that while Trump did play a role in Youngkin’s campaign on Monday, it was in the form of a brief “tele-rally” for the GOP candidate, though Youngkin did not take part in it. Trump endorsed Youngkin earlier this year and the Republican has said Trump’s presidency had a lot of influence on his decision to run for Virginia governor.
In addition, Playbook reported that crowds at Youngkin’s events as the election drew near “dwarf” those of his Democratic challenger, going on to describe McAuliffe’s crowds as “modest and listless” while Youngkin’s were “large and rollicking.”
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“You got a hint of why McAuliffe was desperate to manufacture the fake Trump event,” Playbook noted.
The outlet went on to say that McAuliffe suggested that the former president remaining aloof from Youngkin’s campaign was “a bit of a letdown,” adding that the Democrat’s closing arguments with election day around the corner were “entirely negative” as McAuliffe continued trying to link his GOP challenger to Trump.
McAuliffe told reporters Monday, viewing it purely from a “political perspective,” it would have been “great” for him if the former president was more involved in the Virginia contest, but also said, “for the sake of the country, it’s time to move on.”
Meanwhile, Youngkin’s closing arguments were “complicated” because he focused much more on policies, Playbook noted.
“Youngkin didn’t talk about Trump. (He didn’t have to.),” said the outlet.
“McAuliffe has been dinged in the media for focusing relentlessly on Trump in the closing weeks of his campaign, and at times flip-flopping as to whether or not the race was about the former Republican president,” Fox News added.
Late last week, Fox News reported that Youngkin has pulled ahead of McAuliffe in polling by a figure that was outside the survey’s margin of error — 53-45 percent.
“That’s a big shift from two weeks ago, when McAuliffe was ahead by five, 51-46 percent,” the network noted, adding that “what changed” was a huge shift in GOP enthusiasm.
The results were concerning to Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducted the survey with GOP pollster Daron Shaw.
“With the race essentially tied among the full registered voter universe, McAuliffe could still pull this off,” Anderson said. “But it would take something big to ignite enthusiasm for McAuliffe’s candidacy and a massively effective get out the vote effort.”
Shaw said the issue that turned it for Youngkin was McAuliffe’s stance that parents should not have any input at all into their children’s education.
“Education is a top issue, which is usually good news for the Democrats since they are typically seen as more capable in that domain,” he said. “But Youngkin has turned the issue on its head so it’s about curriculum and parent involvement rather than spending. The result is the GOP is currently preferred on perhaps the critical issue for this election.”
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